Can you think of anything that speaks to fall or is more deeply satisfying than rich meaty forest mushrooms. I love mushrooms, it doesn’t matter which variety I love them all but this dark woodsy mushrooms have to be my favorite. They pack such a punch and just a few tossed into any dish bring it to new levels of homey, satisfying comfort food. When you add that to melted butter and sautéed onions and then put it in a rich buttery pastry shell and to make it even more decadent, top it with eggy, buttery, lushly smooth hollandaise sauce, well the world just doesn’t get much better. At least the culinary world, which is where I prefer to spend most of my time. I was on pins and needles waiting for these to come out of the oven and I have to admit that I have a few burned fingertips because I didn’t want to wait a few minutes for them to cool so I could safely get them out of the tart pans. I dove right in, burnt fingers and all. believe me, they are worth burning every single one of your fingers. I ate two of them right off that bat. These are perfect as a starter or first or savory course. I can definitely see these on my Thanksgiving holiday table right after the soup course. I also thought that some night for dinner I would just make one large tart and instead of pureeing all of the mushrooms with the cheese I would only do half and then mix in the sautéed mushrooms to the pureed mixture and then bake with maybe a layer of shredded Gruyère cheese or a Mornay sauce instead of the Hollandaise. At any rate they were delicious and totally got my mind roaming on the wonders of mushrooms. Do try these.
As for the dessert, as I get older I am finding that my tolerance for sweet things is getting less. I have said many times that my taste for rich chocolate desserts is definitely on the wane. Lately I have favored fruit desserts, especially lemon but the one thing I come back to over and over is vanilla. I find that instead of it becoming ordinary, that it just becomes more intriguing and mystifying and supremely satisfying. It has often been said that simply pleasures are the best. That is certainly the case with these custards. Once again, they are homey and comforting. reminding you instantly of mom and the living room fire and an old movie on a rainy Saturday. I had some chunky cranberry sauce made up and thought that its sparkling tartness might make a nice foil for the rich, eggy vanilla custard so I skipped the cherry compote and used it. It did not disappoint. Everyone in my house loves cranberries so it was a definite hit around here. The only thing I would change about these custards is to double or even triple the recipe because you will want more after just one spoonful. Enjoy everyone.