Have ready 4 warm serving plates. When the tarts are done, put one on each plate and decorate with the asparagus tips. Using a spoon, gently drizzle th sauce over the tarts and garnish with the fresh chives.
These tarts can be an attractive feature of a main dish when served with chicken breasts or cooked shellfish, such as clams or mussels.
A historical titbit
The duxelles of mushrooms was created by François Pierre de la Varenne (1618-1678), author of the celebrated book Cuisinier Francois and personal chef to the Marquis d’Uxelles, to whom he dedicated his culinary creation.
Taken from Eat Well and Stay Slim by Michel Guérard (Frances Lincoln, £25)
- 100g puff pastry, home-made or ready-made, and thawed if frozen
- 500g white button mushrooms, wiped
- 750ml semi-skimmed milk
- 200g duxelles of mushroom
- salt and pepper of your choice
- To garnish
- 12 asparagus tips
- 1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
- 2 tbsp snipped chives
Divide the puff pastry in 4 quarters and roll into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a circle 14cm in diameter and 1mm thick. Put the circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put into the refrigerator.
Put the white button mushrooms in a large saucepan and cover with the milk. Season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer over a medium heat. Let it simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the muchrooms are cooked. Drain the mushrooms, setting aside the milk. When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, cut them into 3-4mm slices and set them aside.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the duxelles of mushrooms onto the chilled puff pastry, leaving a 1/2 cm border. Carefully lay the slices of mushrooms on top of the duxelles in rows, slightly overlapping each row. Bake the tarts in the oven for 12 minutes or until the pastry is golden and slightly puffed.
While the tarts are baking, simmer the asparagus tips in lightly salted water for 3-4 minutes or until bright green and just tender or until al dente. Drain the asparagus gently so as not to break them, and refresh in cold water; drain again and set aside.
Pour 300ml of the reserved milk into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow the milk to simmer until it is reduced by half. Whisk in the Greek yoghurt and adjust the seasoning. Cover the sauce and keep it warm, preferably in a bain-marie, until ready to serve.