Chanterelles (Cantarellus Cibarius) have always been my favourite mushrooms and since I paired them with goat cheese for the first time in my life, I have never got tired of this perfect combination. The fresh marjoram is here, as the French say “la cerise sur le gâteau” (the cherry on the cake), in other words the last, perfecting, touch.
If you prepare a big tart or individual tartlets, both can be prepared either with ripening goat cheese or with fresh goat cheese. After many experiments I now opt for half of each and find this the ideal combination. Since fresh marjoram can be difficult to get, I grow it on my balcony or buy it and freeze it so that I am never short of it: the tartlets are not the same without this herb. If you cannot find it, don’t use the dried marjoram, which is too bitter. You can use oregano or thyme (both fresh) instead, but I am afraid it will completely change the taste. Personally I prefer to skip the herb rather than use something different. The tartlets are wonderful served at a party or simply enjoyed as an aperitif with a glass of white wine. Prepare lots of them, as they disappear in no time at all…
For those who don’t know what the chanterelle looks like, an old photo of mine:
mini-tart dishes or 1 dish with mini-tart cavities
Preparation time: around 1 hour 30 min
Ingredients (12 tartlets):
1 ready-made puff /shortcrust pastry package (mine was a 230g package) or your own home made pastry
250g goat cheese (I put half fresh goat cheese and half ripening, mouldy fat goat cheese)
400 g chanterelles
1 big onion
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
200 ml liquid cream (or half cream and half milk)
a bunch of fresh marjoram
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
When it reaches the above temperature, cut out the slightly bigger circles than the tart dishes (or tart cavities) you have.
Grease mini-tart dishes (or a big mould with mini-tart cavities) and line them with the pastry, pressing with your fingers. Make small holes in them pricking with a fork.
Cover the flat surface with pieces of baking sheet and put some dried beans on it*. This way the pastry will not rise too much.
Precook the tart shells until they are no longer raw, but still white or slightly golden.
Take them out, put the beans back into their jar and let the tart shells cool.
In the meantime wash the chanterelles, cut up the bigger ones into smaller pieces.
Chop the onion and fry in oil. When it becomes translucent, add the chanterelles and the butter.
Cook them at low heat covered for around 20 minutes, add salt and marjoram leaves and finish cooking uncovered until almost all the liquid is evaporated.
Combine with the cream, the eggs and freshly ground pepper.
Crumble the goat cheese on the precooked tart shells.
Cover with the chanterelles mixture and bake at 180°C until dark gold.
*I have a big jar of dried beans bought especially for pastry precooking. You can use the same jar of beans for years.