07. March 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Vegetables · Tags: ,

leek tart frontIf you ever wonder what to bring to your friends’ house party I have a perfect solution for you. Unlike other food that gets bad when cold, this one is great served either warm or cold. This is also perfect as a starter before a sit down dinner with friends or as a side for pan seared chicken in tarragon vermouth sauce, the recipe for which I will post later.
What I like about this recipe is that you can substitute the filling ingredients with whatever you have in the fridge.  Just keep to the egg and milk ratio and it will work with spinach, kale, mushrooms, grated zucchini and/or sweet corn. It starts with your imagination…

Serving: 8
Preparation of tart – 5 minutes, resting time 30 minutes
Preparation of filling – 15 minutes
Baking:  tart dough – 30 minutes; filled tart: 20-25 minutes
Calories for 1 serving: 330

Ingredients for Savory Tart
1 ¼ cups of unbleached all purpose flour (plus a few tablespoons more for dusting the work surface)
1 teaspoon of table salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), cut into teaspoon size cubes, cold
3 tablespoons of cold water

Ingredients for filling
3 leeks, sliced (white parts only)
4 slices of bacon, sliced
1 cup of green peas, frozen
2 large eggs
½ cup of whole milk
4 oz/110g of gruyere cheese, grated
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of canola oil

Tart Dough
Using your food processor, mix the flour with the salt and sugar by pulsing a few times. Then add the chilled, diced butter and pulse it at least 30 times. At this stage it’s a little similar to making typical pie dough but the difference is that you don’t want to keep those chunks of butter. So if you still see any, keep pulsing and then add 2 tablespoons of cold water and process it for few more seconds. Depending on the flour you use, you might need 1 more tablespoon of water if you see that dough is not really clumping together.  Test this by squishing a piece. It should form dough in your hands easily.
When the dough is ready, prepare your tart pan. I recommend using a 9inch removable bottom tart shell.  Spray it with non-stick cooking spray and then transfer the dough into the shell. Press in the dough with your hands. The oil will help you spread it around to even layer. Make sure you push up around the sides and rim. It won’t shrink while cooking if you press it in evenly.
Now the dough needs to rest and cool down. Remember if you use the removable bottom shell to not grab it by the bottom part. Transfer it to a plate and then to a freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F and adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
Once the dough rested in the freezer, transfer it from the plate to a baking sheet. Cover it well, including the edges with aluminum foil and put pie weights in the middle. Bake for 30 minutes.
Take it out and put on a cooling rack. Remember don’t grab the bottom part if you are using a removable bottom shell. Remove the pie weights and foil and let it cool down while you are preparing the filling. Don’t turn the oven off.

Heat up a frying pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook it for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bacon bits from the pan and pour off the fat, leaving around 1 tablespoon of it in the pan. If you don’t have enough fat, add a teaspoon of canola oil and heat it up. Transfer the sliced leek into this hot oil and cook it down for about 5 more minutes.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs with milk.  Then transfer the leeks, bacon and frozen green peas to the bowl and mix it all together. Add salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, nutmeg and thyme and gently mix all the ingredients. Add half of the grated cheese and mix it again.
filled tart2
Pour the filling into the prebaked tart shell and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.

Transfer the tart back onto the baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
When you press with your fingers onto the filling it should be firm. Let it rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before you serve it.

tart bottom

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