BUY NOW – The Messy Baker! 


BUY NOW – The Messy Baker! 
Are you ready for some fun in your kitchen? Please welcome – The Messy Baker! A wonderful debut cookbook by my friend Charmian Christie. I cannot tell how much much I waited for this book! I was one of her recipe testers and her delicious recipes made me quite the hit with my kids! I am not much of a baker but I did attempt some of the dishes in this book and guess what? I did not fail!
I love how the book is divided into sections like gritty, drippy, smudgy.. totally my kind of cooking!!
There are over 75 sweet and savory recipes.. each one of them worth a try and a permanent spot in your cooking repertoire. Charmian’s voice is warm and friendly and for someone like me, who is not a confident baker, she provides great tips on what to do when disaster strikes!
I am featuring two terrific recipes from this book. First one was an apricot crisp and up now: a lovely tart!

Mushroom, Leek, and Gruyere T art

From The Messy Baker by Charmian Christie. Recipe used here with permission.

If vegetables were looking to elect a spokesperson, I’d nominate mushrooms. A bit of heat brings out the best in them. And when things get downright hot, they maintain their composure, refusing to dissolve into an incoherent mash. They work graciously with almost any herb, are effusively complementary to dairy, and are as comfortable with fancy-dress pastry as they are with a Casual Friday slice of toast. With a support staff of herbs, cheese, and garlic, this recipe lets the earthiness of mushrooms shine.


Makes 4 to 6 servings | Commitment Level: Ready in an Hour or Less

1 sheet commercial puff pastry or

homemade Cheater’s Puff Pastry, defrosted

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white parts only, sliced lengthwise and slivered into half-moons

16 ounces cremini or portobello

mushrooms, cut into 1″ pieces

Ground black pepper (optional)

3 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. On a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a rimmed baking sheet, roll the puff pastry sheet out to a 10″ square. Using a sharp knife, gently score the pastry an inch inside the outer edge, being careful not to cut all the way through. Place the parchment with the scored pastry onto a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. When it bubbles, grate the garlic on a microplane into the pan. Add the thyme leaves. Cook gently for 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft but not weeping juices. Place the mushroom filling into a strainer and let drain for a few minutes.

4. Spoon the mushroom filling onto the pastry, being careful to keep inside the score marks. Add a grind of fresh black pepper, if using. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the pastry is golden brown. Serve while hot. This tart is best eaten as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Leftovers can bewrapped and refrigerated, but the pastry will suffer. To reheat, pop under thebroiler for a few minutes. Do not reheat in the microwave.

The gorgeous photograph of the tart was taken by the very talented Andrea Meyers.

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  1. I adore Charmian – I met her only briefly at the last IACP conference but took to her right away. She is warm, kind and funny! I am so anxious to own and bake from this wonderful book! The mushroom, leek and gruyere tart looks fabulous!

  2. That tart was delicious! Michael and I couldn’t stop at just one slice, it was so good.

  3. I love these puff pastry tarts: relatively simple yet so tasty. It might inspire one to move onto homemade puff pastry. Not as difficult as people say and heavenly.

    1. I hope you will try the recipe!

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