Monday, 9 March 2015

Mushroom Carbonara + Lemon Tart

Here I am again!

As promised, I have to brag about share my lemon tart recipe. It is my second attempt to re-create the fabulous lemon tart that we had at Villa Valentina in Mexico. For the first try, I just followed a highly rated recipe from, which I found way too sweet, and lacking texture. So, for attempt #2, I just winged it,! Let's just say that there is no need for a third attempt.

But today, we are going all traditional and not eating our dessert first. I just made a simple mushroom carbonara (a pasta dish traditionally made with bacon) - and that's our main course today. It comes together in just 15 minutes and makes an easy and comforting weeknight dinner. Here is my take on my childhood's carbonara, which I tweaked to include cremini mushrooms, green onion, spinach and pine nuts. Enjoy!

Mushroom Carbonara for Two:

- 200g of your favorite noodles (penne, spaghetti, shells etc)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- sea salt / black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh spinach

In a large pot, cook the noodles al-dente.
While the noodles are cooking, sauté the garlic and mushrooms in olive oil (use a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients in the end) until soft - it should take about the same amount of time as it takes to cook the noodles, about 10 minutes. Season with salt + pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, egg yolk, parmesan and mustard.
Drain the noodles and add them to the garlic/mushrooms.
Add the cream mixture + pine nuts and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, until the noodles are coated and everything is piping hot.
Add the green onion + spinach and stir.
Remove from heat as soon as the spinach starts wilting and serve immediately.


Lemon Tart: Makes one 9 inch pie - I halved the recipe to make 2 individual tarts.

For the crust: 

- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp good quality mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
- 6 Tbsp cold water

In a food processor, combine the flour and sugar. Add the mayo, vanilla and butter, and pulse a few times until the butter is reduced to coarse crumbs. Add the water 2 Tbsp at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to come together.
Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Lightly grease a 9 inch tart pan. Roll the dough out to fit the pan. Place into pan, trimming any excess. Prick all over and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Bake the cold pie crust for 12-15 minutes. If you have pie weights, great - that will prevent the crust from bubbling. What I do is place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the crust and fill it with coins. Dried beans work too.
Let cool completely before filling.

For the filling: 

- 4 eggs
- 4 lemons, juice + zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients together, except for the flour. Sift the flour in last and mix until well combined.
Pour the filling in the crust and bake until set, about 30-35 minutes.


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