2 tablespoons olive oil
300g mixed wild mushrooms
100g Picos Blue cheese, crumbled
40g watercress leaves
300ml double cream
4 large eggs
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry:
50g walnut pieces
225g plain flour
130g chilled butter, cut into pieces (or half butter, half lard for non-vegetarians)
Chef Pizarro: “The hills and mountains of Spain are alive in Autumn with wild mushrooms. Wild mushroom safaris are particularly popular in the north-east. Chanterelles, pied bleu, pied de mouton, trompettes de la mort, oysters, porcini, saffron milk cap…. I wish I was there right now. Wild mushrooms go really well with walnuts and blue cheese. I love the tangy Valdeón cheese here, also known as Picos Blue. But a Roquefort or Gorgonzola piccante would also do fine.”
Preheat the oven to 200oC/gas mark 6. For the pastry, spread the walnuts on a baking tray and roast for 7-8 minutes. Remove and leave to cool. Tip them into a food processor and add 50g of the flour. Grind together briefly until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the remaining flour and ½ teaspoon salt, add the butter (or butter/lard) and process briefly once more until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons cold water until the mixture comes together into a ball, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Roll out thinly on a little more flour and use to line a lightly greased loose-bottomed flan tin that is 4cm deep and measures 23cm across the base. Chill for 20 minutes.
Put a baking tray onto the middle shelf of the oven and leave it to get hot. Line the pastry case with foil (and a thin layer of baking beans). Slide it onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and
return to the oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 180oC/gas mark 5.
For the filling, clean the wild mushrooms thoroughly, by brushing away any dirt with a dry pastry brush and wiping them with a damp cloth if necessary. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add half the mushrooms and some seasoning and fry briskly for 1 minute until they have softened slightly and any excess moisture has evaporated. Tip onto a plate and repeat with the remainder.
Scatter the mushrooms, watercress leaves and blue cheese alternately over the base of the pastry case. Beat the cream and eggs together with some seasoning, pour the mixture into the tart and bake, again on the baking sheet, for 30-35 minutes until set and lightly golden. Serve warm, cut into wedges.