Stage 1 – Utrecht/Utrecht: These delicious savoury tartlets feature the wonderful Dutch Gouda cheese, which is greatly underestimated. Served with a crisp green salad, the tarts are perfect for a simple, light lunch or supper with friends. For picnics, transport them in the tart tins to protect the pastry.
- 300 g savoury shortcrust pasty
- 40 g unsalted butter
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 90 g (1 cup) thinly sliced button mushrooms
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 50 g diced ham
- 40 g grated Gouda cheese
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg
- 8 paper-thin slices Gouda cheese
- pinch of paprika, for dusting
- watercress salad, to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Lightly grease four non-stick 10 cm tart tins with removeable bases.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until about 3-4 mm thick. Using a small plate as a guide, cut out rounds of pastry large enough to cover the base and sides of the tins. Line the prepared tins with pastry, then line the cases with paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Place on a baking tray and cook for 8 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and lightly browned. Remove the beans and paper and cook for another 2 minutes or until the bases are dry. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150ºC.
Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the mushrooms and toss for 5-6 minutes or until tender, then transfer to a plate.
Melt the remaining butter in the same pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisking continuously, gradually add the milk and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the cooked mushrooms, ham, grated Gouda, lemon juice and the pepper and nutmeg.
Divide the mixture among the pastry shells, then top with the sliced Gouda. Dust with a little paprika and bake for 15-20 minutes minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Food preparation by Alice Storey. Creative concept by Lou Fay.