Combine leeks, Gruyere or goat cheese, eggs and cream, you’re on your way to a leek tart. I ate this very piece after taking its picture the other day and thought that if I ran a friendly little neighborhood café this would be on the menu. People might come by on a Sunday morning, a Saturday, a Tuesday night for a slice or two. So good, it would be worth the walk or the wait – there might even be a line.
In addition to the tart filling, there’s a recipe below for the pastry, or use store-bought. For me, making pie or tart dough is like making coffee in the morning, it’s a ritual that means more than the actual coffee or pie. It’s hands-on food making that’s a respite from the virtual scene and worth the ten, fifteen extra minutes required to make it happen. Just sayin’.
There’s one caveat. My 9-inch tart shell (which shrunk during pre-baking in spite of steps taken to avoid that) wasn’t big enough for the amount of filling I’d prepared. Me being me tried to force the issue, made a mess, figured it out, new game plan and it all turned out deliciously. A person could make this in a pie pan instead of a tart pan – more room for the filling; or, make a little less filling; use a larger tart pan; or maybe you’ll sail through it all just fine as is. But watch when you pour filling into tart shell and don’t overfill.
Leek Tart Recipe
You could add a few more eggs, bake it in a pie pan and call it quiche.
If, if, pie/tart dough is already made (and it can be made a couple of days or hours in advance), putting together the tart is pretty fast, so it’s a good Sunday morning brunch or fast dinner idea. Salad or fruit, bread, a cookie, dinner done.
Ingredients for Filling: 3 or 4 medium leeks, cleaned and chopped vertically or in circles or both/ 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced/ 1 T butter/ 1 extra large or 2 medium eggs/ ½ C whole milk, ½ C cream ( just whole milk or 2% is fine too)/ ¾ C grated Gruyere or ½ C goat cheese/ ½ – 1 t salt, pepper to taste.
Directions: Saute chopped leeks and garlic in butter, medium low heat, until very soft – 10 – 15 minutes/ Add 1 t fresh thyme if you have it/ Mix milk and egg together with salt & pepper/ When tart shell is done and slightly cooled, sprinkle one half of the cheese on the bottom/ Spread cooked leeks over cheese, pour egg milk mixture over the leeks/ Sprinkle top with remaining cheese/ Bake in a 375 degree oven until egg is barely set and tart is lightly golden – 15 – 20 minutes, longer for a larger pan with more filling/ Remove from oven, lift out of tart pan base, place on a rack to cool a bit/ Serve while warm/ Swoon.
Use any pie or tart dough recipe you like. This is a good one, just enough for one tart.
Pie or Tart Dough Recipe
Ingredients: 1 ¼ C flour/ ½ t salt, ¼ t sugar, 1 stick plus 1 T butter, 4 T ice water.
Directions: Place dry ingredients and chopped cold butter in food processor/ Process for 10 – 20 seconds until ingredients form a coarse meal/ Add 4 T ice water, process again briefly until dough barely begins to come together/ Pat dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least one hour/ Remove from fridge and let sit at room temp for a few minutes/ Roll out to fit the pan plus extra for over the edge of the pan/ Prick dough with a fork, finish edges as you like, cover with foil that is pushed down into pan’s center/ Fill with beans – this is supposed to minimize shrinkage and make a crisp receptacle for the filling, which it mostly does.
Bake tart shell at 375 for 30 minutes, then remove the beans and foil/ Continue to bake another 15 – 25 minutes or until tart shell is lightly browned/ Remove from oven, let cool a bit and proceed with filling and further baking.