Decided to make a bit of supper for later today. I’d made a beautiful roast some time ago and as such (had reserved the fat for a myriad of dishes.) Perhaps I might possibly make, the best roast potatoes in the world!
Then epiphany! there are far more uses for rendered shortening/fat, one being short crust pastry, old school style. Like the best Christmas mince pies where the pastry is so flaky and so crumbly, there are a billion guesses as to how it’s actually been made, (Suet.) Or better yet, the Dan Tart (flaky egg tarts) from any good Chinatown outing, where the secret ingredient is of course, (Lard.)
I’ll just note that these sorts of recipes come from a time, when (households) in general made use of every part of the animal and where it was considered the norm to set aside the refuse which (often gets flushed down the sink, into the garden etc.) I’ve definitely outlined alternatives in the recipe section, traditional butter as we know it, or even a vegan option with Nuttlex for those who still want to get their mushroom tart fix,
Shorts crust pastry, with flaky biscuit-like crumb,
Time: approx 1:15hr (including resting time for pastry)
Makes 6 medium rounds
110g shortening, duck fat or other, (as it gives a short/flaky crumb.)
Alternatively Butter or Nuttlex (for Vegans) is also suitable.
250g or 1 cup of plain flour (extra required for dusting)
Pinch of salt,
Ice cold water as required.
6 field Mushrooms
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Truffle salt (optional)
Plus a little extra Butter to dot tart,
Rocket or green leaves to serve
Place flour, fat and salt together in a large bowl. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles small flakes or pieces. Alternatively, place into a processor and pulse.
Add 1Tbsp of cold water as needed, until it comes together in a ball.
Work as quickly and lightly as possible so as (not to) form too much gluten, which can make the pastry tough.
you may notice the pastry is extra crumbly if you decided to use shortening, this is what will contribute to the extra light crumb later on!
Wrap in cling film for 1/2 hr on lower shelf of the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 200C/392F. The fat (will melt) and as the steam escapes, it causes the beautiful flakiness in the crumb.
Line a baking tray with some baking paper. Remove pastry disc from fridge and roll out to approx 1/2 cm thickness.
Using a pastry cutter, (or tea cup upside down) stamp out 6 rounds and lay on baking tray.
Place mushrooms over tart base, dot with slivers of Butter and season to taste with the salt & pepper, (truffle salt) if using.
Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden & cooked through.
Remove tart and set on rack to cool. Serve with salad greens or rocket nestled amongst the tarts and an extra crack of pepper. I like a few shreds of cheddar or (Parmesan?) over the top, feel free to omit if you wish!