Makes twenty-four 2 ½ to 3-inch individual tarts.
I first had these delectable little savory tarts in the beautiful tearoom and garden in the West Country village of Lacock, Wiltshire. It was at Lacock Abby Manor House that Sir Fox Talbot invented the proces of Positive-negative photography in 1846. Scenes from Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders, Emma, and the Harry Potter films were shot at Lacock Abby.
These delectable little tarts may be eaten hot of cold. I prefer them cold and a day old. I think both the flavor and texture improves a bit. Try them with a wee dollop of sour cream on top.
1 recipe Perfect Pastry – (or your favorite pastry)
2 to 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
½ pound small mushrooms, sliced
2 cups half-and-half or cream
2 eggs, well beaten
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon mustard powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup finely grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese – (do not compress to measure)
Make the pastry and chill. Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet and gently sauté the shallot and mushrooms over medium heat until the mushrooms are heated through and translucent but not yet beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Whisk the cream, eggs, parsley, mustard powder, nutmeg and pepper together and set aside.
Spray the cups of two 12-cup muffin pans with nonstick spray. Roll out the pastry to be no more than ¼ inch thick. Cut into twenty-four circles, each a little larger than the circumference of your muffin cups. Gently pres the pastry circles into the muffin pans. Toss the mushrooms and Cheddar together. Place a spoonful of this mixture into each pastry-lined muffin cup. Then ladle in just enough of the egg mixture to fil the cups. Place i the oven and bake for thirty-five to forty minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and a slim bamboo skewer inserted into the center of a tart comes out clean. (The filling will puff during the baking but will fall back as the tarts cool.)