A friend of mine posted on Facebook that her husband (who happens to be a professional cook) was making her favorite tart, a Flamiche aux Poireaux from Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking.
Since I trust her taste and happened to have the book and the leeks, why not give it a try?*
I took my time and made it in stages. Serves about 4 happily.
For the Pâte Brisée:
- 1-1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons ice water
Place 1 cup of the flour, the butter and salt into the work bowl of a food processor. Process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.
Add the ice water and pulse about 6-8 times, until the pastry just begins to come together. Do not let it form a ball.
Transfer to a piece of waxed paper and flatten the dough into a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle it with a little flour, incorporating it 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the Leek Tart:
- 1 batch Pâte Brisée
- 3 pounds of leeks
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup crème frâiche or heavy cream
- 4 slices, about 3 ounces, Parma ham, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup, about 3 ounces, Gruyere cheese, grated
Prepare the tart shell. Roll out the dough to line a 10 1/2″ tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Prepare the filling. Trim the leeks at the roots. Cut off and discard, or save for another use, the tough dark green portion. Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning and rinse well in cold water. Coarsely chop the leeks.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat. Add the leeks, salt and pepper, and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes. If the leeks have given up a lot of liquid, drain them into a colander.
Combine the eggs and crème fraîche in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Mix in the leeks. Reserve ¼ cup of the ham and the cheese to sprinkle on top. Add the rest into the leek mixture and mix well.
Pour the leek mixture into the pastry shell. Sprinkle with the reserved ham and the cheese. Season generously with black pepper.
Bake until nicely browned, about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!
Delicious! Glad I held on to my copy of Bistro Cooking! The crust was flaky on the sides and the filling was wonderful. I used crème fraîche, as my container of heavy cream was a little past its prime.
I used Plugra unsalted butter for my tart crust and it came together beautifully. I was a little surprised that the recipe didn’t call for the shell to be blind baked, and might try doing that for a few minutes the next time, just to give the bottom of the tart a better chance to stay crisp.
I almost substituted some smoked lobster I’d picked up in Maine for the ham but used some Italian Copa that we had in the house. Crabmeat would probably also be lovely with the leeks.
*Okay, possibly one (or ten) too many episodes of the Great British Baking Show, convinced me that Pâte Brisée, was well within my capabilities, even though it’s been ages since I made anything resembling a pie crust. Osmosis?