This show-stopping tart, with its rich and complex flavours, is what I’ll be tucking into on Christmas day and this weekend when we have friends around to research some Christmas wines. I can’t wait! The nutty pastry complements the smoky celeriac, moist earthy mushrooms, sweet chestnuts, juicy shallots and piquant pesto. If you are a truffle fan, add some oil – or the real things – to the tart filling and also the pesto. Thyme is also another optional ingredient, scatter it into the pastry and /or the roasting celeriac and mushrooms.
You can make the three components of the tart a day or two before you wish to serve and just assemble and warm for 20 minutes or so when needed.
This recipe makes enough to fill a 21 cm tart dish – any spare filling is delicious with pasta or rice.
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 tbsps oil (for roasting and frying)
4-6 cloves garlic
4 large (flat) mushrooms – I use Portabello
1 small celeriac – around 500-600g
200g pre-cooked chestnuts
Dash of lemon juice (optional)
Truffle oil (optional but recommended)
125g buckwheat flour
1 tbsp oil
85 ml water
Pinch of salt
25g flat leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp of truffle oil (optional but recommended)
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven on 200(fan)/220 (conventional)
- Put all of the pesto ingredients into the food processor and blast until all the parsley has been smashed up and you have a runny-ish paste. You may need to add a bit more liquid – oil, water or lemon juice. Leave to one side/cover and keep in the fridge.
- Next for the pastry: Grind up the hazelnuts into a rough powder in the food processor first; this should take a few minutes. Then add the flour and salt and pulse briefly to combine to dry ingredients, including the thyme leaves if using, before adding the oil and pulsing again. Slowly pour in the water and pulse until you have a ball of sticky dough. Using your hands, pull it together into a disc and wrap in clingfilm, storing in the fridge until needed.
- When you are ready to part-bake the tart case, sprinkle a large surface liberally with flour and gently roll out the dough to fit your well greased pie dish. Shimmy it in, using surplus pastry to patch up any rips. Use a fork or sharp knife to prick the base of the tart and bake for 10 minutes.
- Peel the celeriac and chop it into bite-sized chunks, say 1 cm x 1 cm, whilst warming up a drizzle of oil in a large roasting tin. Roast the celeriac for 40 minutes until golden, along with 2-4 cloves of garlic (unpeeled). Add the mushrooms after about 15 minutes, so allowing them to roast for about 25 minutes until soft. Scatter in any surplus thyme leaves and season well.
- Meanwhile, fry the shallots in a drizzle of oil until golden; finely slice the remainder of the garlic and add, along with a splash of wine/vermouth if using. Once the celeriac and mushrooms are done, squeeze the roasted garlic out of its crispy peel and discard. With the chestnuts, halve any large nuts before mixing them in with the fried shallots, roasted celeriac and mushrooms. Check for seasoning; you may want to add a squeeze of lemon juice for a bit of a bite.
- When you are getting ready to serve the tart, spread the base with the parsley pesto first. Dollop in the celeriac-mushroom-chestnut mix and pour a drizzle of truffle oil over if using.
- Bake on 160 (fan)/180 (conventional) for about 20 minutes, really just to warm everything up and get all the flavours dancing together.