Introduction: Black Trumpet Tart From Shroom by Becky Selengut

Autumn rains are romantic for some people, depressing for others, and quicken the pulse of wild mushroom lovers, who anticipate the rain triggered-savory toadstools. Even if you aren't a hunter, they start to appear at farmer's markets and grocery stores in the winter. Mushrooms like chanterelles and porcini cannot be cultivated, so they are seasonal and at times rare. Very few people are neutral about fungi-some dislike the texture and can't stand them, but for others, eating wild mushrooms is a way of tasting the earth-the leaves and branches and unfurling ferns and quivering wood orchids. For mushroom lovers, black trumpets are often the earthiest, inkiest of them all. When raw, their consistency is like a thick paper, and their scent like pure forest. I personally love them.

Chef and author Becky Selengut dropped by the Instructables kitchen at Autodesk and made a few recipes from her most recent book, Shroom, including a tart made of black trumpet mushrooms with camembert, leeks, and port-soaked cherries. I'm really glad she was there, because this is a multifaceted recipe and left to my own devices, many things could have gone wrong. But I feel prepared now to try it on my own one day. Becky advised in her book, "This is an appetizer to serve when you really want to impress someone." In the kitchen, she said something more like "Make this when you want to get _____." Imagine-black trumpets, cheese, bacon, boozy fruit-altogether in a tart. It's ridiculously good.

Step 1: Make the Tart Dough-Or Buy Some

Photo by Martin Reed

From Shroom by Becky Selengut (Though I've paraphrased a little. Sections not paraphrased are in quotes)

1 cup unbleached flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons ice-cold water, keep some extra handy

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the flour, butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse about 30 times. The butter should be the size of small peas. Dump the contents into a wide bowl, add 3 tablespoons ice water to the bowl and with one hand, mix the dough. Squeeze the dough in your hands. It should start to form a ball without crumbling. If it does, add a little more ice water and mix with your hand. Lay out parchment paper. Turn the contents out onto the paper. Pull up the sides of the paper, using it to help form a disk out of the pastry. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

"Divide it in half. Rewrap and chill one half while you work with the other. Roll our each disk on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. (roughly 10 inches in diameter). Transfer the dough to a backing pan lined with parchment paper. Fold the sides of the dough in to form a rustic edge. Poke the bottom of the tart with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Chill both tarts for 10 minutes. Bake the tarts in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned. Lift each tart carefully and make sure the bottom is light brown in spots. It should lift up in one solid piece when done, with no bending or flopping. Let cool."

Step 2: Infuse Cherries With Port. or Buy Them.

From Shroom by Becky Selengut


1/2 cup ruby port

1/4 cup dried, unsweetened cherries

3 freish sage leaves, and a scant 1/4 more for frying

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 pound fresh black trumpet mushrooms or 1/2 ounce dried

"To infuse the cherries, heat the port in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the cherries, the 3 sage leaves, and salt. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the cherries soften in the liquid for 30 minutes. Drain the cherries and sage, reserving the liquid, and discard the safe. Reduce the liquid by half, and then pour it back over the cherries. Let sit at room temperature until you are ready to use."

(NOTE: I couldn't find unsweetened cherries, so I purchased dried figs soaked in port).

Step 3: Clean the Black Trumpets

Photos by Martin Reed

From Shroom by Becky Selengut

"If you see a closed end at the bottom of the stem, you'll want to cut or snip it off. This stem bit traps the grit and sand. Often, though, the mushroom will have been cut above this end, so look before you cut. Then split the trumpets lengthwise to expose any grit, dunk in a bowl of water, swish around, and gently squeeze the water out; repeat in a fresh bowl of clean water."

Step 4: Make the Filling

Photo by Martin Reed

Recipe from Shroom by Becky Selengut


1/4 pound bacon, small diced

1 leek, light green and white parts, dark green parts reserved for stock, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

Scant 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup water

7 to 8 ounces Camembert cut into chunks

1 large egg, beaten

Vegetable oil as needed

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed

1 cup pomegranate seeds when in season

"To make the filling, heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and then lower the heat slightly. Render the fat from the bacon, occasionally stirring it to prevent sticking. When it is nicely browned and crisp, transfer it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour the fat out, reserve, and add 1 tablespoon bacon fat back to the pa. Add the leek to the fat in the pan and add the sea salt (the bacon will be salty). Saute for 5 minutes, until the leek softens, then add the water ad simmer over low heat until all the water has evaporated and the leek is very tender, about 10 more minutes. Lower the heat and then add the cheese. Let the cheese melt into the leek. Transfer to a bowl, let cool for 5 minutes, and stir in the bacon. Taste and add more salt if you'd like. Mix in the egg until you have a nice spreadable consistency."

Step 5: Saute Black Trumpets and Sage Leaves (Not Together)

Photo by Martin Reed

From Shroom by Becky Selengut

"To saute the black trumpets, rinse out the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon bacon fat to the skillet (or use vegetable oil if you don't have enough bacon fat)." (NOTE: We used lard. Visit the Instructable on rendering your own lard.) Add the black trumpet mushrooms and the 1/8 teaspoon salt and saute for 6 to 7 minutes, until tender, cooked through, and a little browned around the edges. Set mushrooms aside and keep warm, covered with aluminum foil. Add 1/4 cup more bacon fat or vegetable oil (or a mixture of both) to the pan and, when hot, fry the sage leaves until the crisp up, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Pull one out and place on a paper fowl-lined plate to check for crispness. When they are all done and transferred to the plate, sprinkle very lightly with sea salt."

Step 6: Assemble

Photo by Martin Reed

From Shroom by Becky Selengut

"To assemble, preheat the oven to 375 F. Using a thin spatula, carefully spread the leek-bacon-cheese-egg mixture over the bottom of the tart shells, dividing the filling equally over the 2 tarts. Put the tarts in the oven to set the egg, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, and then slice each tart into 8 equal pieces. Garnish each tart with a scant amount of port-soaked cherries, black trumpet mushrooms, fried sage leaves, and pomegranate seeds.

Serve Immediately .