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If you’re like me, you rediscover the fragrance of thyme around Thanksgiving and then spend the next few months looking for ways to incorporate the herb into every meal. This thyme-enhanced recipe—which my husband and I discovered on one of our first Christmases together and have been making ever since—has all the earmarks of a favorite: cheese stuck to the page, flour dust from my hands, a few telling drips of browned butter. You can always spot the best loved dishes by the state of the recipe card.
With its peppery crust, earthy mushrooms, nutty cheese, and evocative thyme, this savory tart is the best of all worlds: simple, yet seemingly complicated; good on a crowded table or on its own; delicious warm or at room temperature.
You can make it the night before and then, to have it for breakfast, all that’s left to do is add some eggs. I’ve cooked them directly on top, but you could also make scrambled eggs to plate alongside this dish—a good idea for a bigger crowd.
A note on ingredients: The fillings are flexible. Make it work with what you have. Pull some greens from your dinner side-dishes if you prefer. Double up your pie dough recipe and set some aside. Or even pick up a pre-made crust from Nugget Markets. Do whatever you need to do to save yourself those extra moments for spending with friends and family.
Ashley Muir Bruhn writes Hither & Thither, a leading lifestyle and travel blog with thoughtful discussions on modern parenting, family-friendly travel, home design, food, and more. She lives in Davis, California, with her husband and two children.
Recipe adapted from The Sunset Cookbook
Combine ingredients in a medium bowl or food processor. Press or pulse until mix resembles coarse cornmeal, and then drizzle in ice water (approximately 3 tablespoons) just until dough comes together.Turn dough onto plastic wrap and press into 1-inch-thick disk.
Cover; chill for 30 minutes, or up to two days.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Lightly flour work surface and roll dough into a 12-inch circle.
Place rolled-out dough into a 9-inch tart pan and trim edges flush.
Puncture base with a fork to allow steam to escape.
Cover dough with aluminum foil and weigh it down with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake crust for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes or until crust is just golden.
Let the crust cool to room temperature.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and salt, stirring until leeks are soft. Remove the leeks from the pan and set aside.Bring heat to high and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Add mushrooms, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have given off their liquid (5–10 minutes).Stir in thyme and pepper and remove mushrooms from the pan. Add the cream to the still-hot pan to remove any browned bits, and remove from heat.Spread half the grated cheese over tart crust, then add leeks. Pour cream from pan over the leeks, then add the mushrooms.Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake tart. If baking without eggs on top, keep it in the oven until the cheese is melted and golden (about 25 minutes). If adding eggs directly, remove the tart from the oven, after about 17 minutes, and crack the eggs directly on top. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still soft—approximately 7 to 10 more minutes.Let sit a few minutes before cutting. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve warm or at room temperature.