This was originally a recipe from Mark Diacono from the Guardian, but we’ve made a few tweaks to it, as you tend to do.
The original was very tasty in and of itself but we felt that the tweaks would just lift it that little bit more, adding an onion to pan before the leeks and adding some lemon zest to the ‘custard’ at the mixing stage.
Also no matter how hungry you’re feeling let it rest for the five minutes it needs to properly set.
Serves four as main, eight as starter
For the pastry
- 250g plain flour, we are thinking of adding wholemeal spelt to the mix the next time for a nutty flavour
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150g cold butter, cubed
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 1 tsp picked lemon thyme leaves, savory works
For the filling
- 30g butter
- 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced into half moons
- 500g leeks, thinly sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 medium eggs
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 150g creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp picked lemon thyme leaves
- ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
- 20g Parmesan or Cheddar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Putting it all together
- For the pastry, put the flour, a pinch of salt, ground black pepper and the butter into a food processor and pulse until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and the thyme and pulse again until the mixture just comes together. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a round then wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, bring out five minutes before rolling to make it easier to work.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a low-medium heat and add the onion and cook for several minutes until translucent, then add the leeks and bay leaves. Cook for a further 15 minutes or so, until really soft and sweet, then leave to cool a little.
- Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Beat the two eggs in a bowl, then scoop out enough beaten egg to glaze the pastry later, and add the creme fraiche, lemon zest, cheese, thyme leaves and nutmeg to the bowl.
- Stir in the cooled onion and leeks and season to taste. Roll out the pastry into a circle on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm thick, leaving no gaps or holes. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking sheet and put the circle of pastry on to it. Spoon the creamy leeks on top, spreading them out evenly and leaving a 1–2cm border around the edge.
- Fold the edge of the pastry over to create a lip pinching to ensure no leaking from the filling, then nudge the bay leaves to the top of the filling. Glaze all the exposed pastry with the reserved egg.
- Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 35–40 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and pale golden and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five or so minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.
We initially had it with loads of buttery peas which was really nice but are going to make an orange, chicory, and olive salad to go with it for the next night. Will add how that goes over on Twitter.