These last days have been the perfect mix between visits to the flower market, afternoons sipping coffee and eating cake and long walks enjoying the faded, warm Autumn sun. Autumn is my favourite time of the year and, therefore, I tend to eat my favourite food.
One of these recipes that I always prepare when I have people over, when I have to bring something to a party or when we want something really comforting to eat, let’s say after a long walk on a Sunday, is this caramelised leek tart. Actually I don’t know why it hasn’t made an appearance in this blog until today, but better late than never. Everyone loves it and they always ask me for the recipe, so here it is.I make the pastry myself, but you can buy it at the supermarket. Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s ok to cheat. But in case you want to prepare the pastry, you’ll need:
225 g plain flour
140 g butter
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp cold water
Rub together the flour, butter and salt until it looks like bread crumbs. Add the egg and the cold water to bind it together. Wrap in cling film and allow it to rest for an hour in the fridge. This resting time is really important! Otherwise the dough will be unworkable later.To make the filling you’ll need:
50 g butter
2 or 3 leeks, washed and chopped. We love leeks in this house, so we always use 3.
1 clove garlic, crushed
150 g good quality semi-hard, full-flavoured cheese, diced
5 slices bacon, diced or chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 beaten egg (to finish the pastry)Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Line your tin with the pastry. Then line the tin with a sheet of baking parchement and baking beans (or two hadfuls of raw rice if you don’t have baking beans) and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the paper and baking beans (or rice), brush with a beaten egg and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and cook the leeks with the garlic until they soften and start to caramelise (5 to 10 minutes).
Place the leeks, cheese, bacon and thyme evenly into the cooked pastry and season with black pepper. We don’t add salt because the cheese and bacon add enough saltiness.Now is time to prepare the savoury custard. You’ll need:
350 ml cream
3 whole eggs
2 extra yolks
Whisk together all the ingredients. That’s all.
Carefully pour the custard into the tart (fill it right up to the edge of the tin), place it in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.We usually serve it with some sauté French beans with lots of garlic (learn how to cook French beans to perfection here), but you can serve it with a simple side salad and it would be delicious as well. If you have any leftovers, you can take them with you to the office on Monday (we usually prepare this recipe on Sundays since it takes a while) and it would make all your coworkers jelous! When you heat it up the smell is intoxicating in the best way possible. This tart is better the following day, I’d say. In any case, it sure is a crowd pleaser!