Ideally you shouldn’t be reading this post for yet another month. You see… my excessively organised mind had quite liked the idea of my 100th Post (yes, that’s THIS one! 🙂 ) being posted on Gather and Graze’s 2nd Blogiversary (the 12th April). But here we are… well ahead of schedule… so I guess we’ll just have to celebrate twice!
In my opinion, leeks hold such a beautiful flavour. They lift many a dish and provide complexity that can’t always be found by using onions or garlic (other members of the Allium family). Unfortunately though, it’s not often that you find leeks as the hero of the dish, so here I’m hoping to remedy this! This Leek and Fresh Herb Tart/Quiche is a particular favourite of mine and also of my eldest son… I was surprised to find that I hadn’t posted this recipe already, as it’s a dish that we’ve been enjoying for much longer than these past 2 years of blogging. I hope very much that you’ll enjoy it too.
Leek & Fresh Herb Tart / Quiche | Gather and Graze
For the Shortcrust Pastry
- 170g (1⅛ Cup) Plain Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 100g (⅓ Cup + 1 Tablespoon) Chilled Unsalted Butter (cut into small dice)
- 1 Free-Range Egg Yolk
- 2 Tablespoon Ice-Cold Water
For the Filling
- 30g (2 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
- 2 Medium Leeks (cleaned, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly – white and pale green only)
- 1 Large Free-Range Egg
- 1 Large Free-Range Egg Yolk
- 125ml (½ Cup) Cream
- 60ml (¼ Cup) Crème Fraiche
- 4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Herbs (I used both Chives and Flat-Leaf Parsley)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Tablespoons Parmesan or Gruyere Cheese (finely grated)
To make the pastry… place the flour and salt into a food processor and a pulse a couple of times to make sure there are no lumps. Add the chilled butter and continue pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Mix together the egg yolk and water, then add it to the food processor. Blend just until the mixture comes together into a ball. Remove the pastry from the machine, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before using.
Roll the pastry out and press it into an 18cm (loose-bottomed) Deep Flan Tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and place the tin back into the fridge for about 45 minutes to rest.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and blind bake the tart shell. I baked mine for 15 minutes, lined and topped with pastry weights and then for a further 5 minutes without. As soon as the tart shell has cooked and you’ve removed it from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 170°C.
While the tart shell is in the oven, begin making the filling…
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the sliced leeks, along with a good pinch of salt. Stir to coat with the butter, then place a lid on top and allow to sweat and soften for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the leeks don’t brown or catch on the base. Remove from the heat when softened and set aside for the moment.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk, then continue whisking as you add in the cream and creme fraiche. Season well with salt and black pepper.
Scoop the leeks into the tart shell and scatter evenly with the chopped herbs. Gently pour the cream mixture over the top, being careful not to over-fill… leave a gap of about 2cm. Sprinkle the top with finely grated cheese.
Place into the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes until golden on top. If you prefer the pastry to be extra crispy, remove the outer edge of the flan tin and return the tart (still on the base) back to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool a little before manoeuvring onto a serving plate.
Serve warm with a fresh green salad and a crisp glass of white wine.