Posted by: lisetta | February 23, 2009

Torta salata with porcini

Another dinner party favorite from days gone by: mushroom tart. We decided to make this as an antipasto instead of bruschette. Smelling it baking brought back lots of happy memories. We made a version of the tart with a wine crust, but my favorite version for mushroom uses a lemon zested pate brisee. 


Wine crust:

1 stick plus several tablespoons of cold butter, cut into pieces. 

2 cups flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup white wine

In a food processor, pulse the butter, flour and salt until crumbly, resembling coursemeal. Add the wine and run the processor until it forms a ball. No food processor? Shame on you. Put the butter, flour and salt in a large bowl and use a pastry blender to break up the butter. No pastry blender? Sigh. Use two knives, or better yet, your own hands: working very quickly to crumble the butter into the flour. Add the white wine and form a ball.

Whatever method you use, the trick is not to work the dough too long. Press the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge for an hour or so. You can make the dough ahead, or freeze it for a month or two. 

My description not vivid enough? Watch this video with Cat Cora, a professional:

When the dough is firm, roll it into the desired shape and place it in a buttered tart pan. Cover in tin foil and place some dried beans on it before precooking for 10 minutes or so at 375. 

The filling we used was mushroom, but you can use any vegetable you like. Eggplant works really well. 🙂


Saute assorted mushrooms, lightly salted, in garlic and oil. Let cool. (Note: if you use dried porcini mushrooms, reconstitute them in warm water and you’ll get a strong earthy flavor.)

Beat 3-4 eggs in a large bowl. Add in desired amount of cream – until the mixture is a lighter yellow. More cream = milder egg flavor. Less = eggy, quiche-like flavor.

Add the mushrooms and a generous amount of grated parmigiano.

Pour the mixture into the tart shell and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the top begins to brown. 

This torta salata is fairly simply to make, and always leaves a lasting impression. My friend Veronica – fellow granddaughter of Italian immigrants, but from Buenos Aires – first taught me how to make these while we were in grad school. I still consider torte salate to be the perfect party food. Let me know if you make them, or have any ideas for fillings. Have fun!



  1. Looks and sounds fantastic.

  2. It really is. I can make one for your next soiree!

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