leek and parmesan tart


Lindsey Bareham

Leeks stewing in butter make one of the most appetising kitchen smells. When piled into a buttery pastry case with egg and parmesan, the baking aromas are unbearably delectable.

serves 6, prep 30 min, cook 40 min

200g plain flour
150g butter plus an extra knob
3-5 tbsp cold water
800g trimmed leeks
300ml crème fraîche or double cream
3 egg yolks
Approx 6 tbsp grated parmesan
Freshly grated nutmeg

Heat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Sift flour and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl or food processor. Chop 100g butter into the flour. Pulse or use fingers to quickly rub together. Briefly pulse or stir three tablespoons of cold water into the mixture, tentatively adding more until it clings together. Knead into a ball, cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 min. Smear a 25cm flan tin (with a loose base) with butter. Dust with flour. Flour a work surface and roll the pastry to fit the tin, leaving a 1cm overhang. Cover with baking parchment and baking beans. Bake for 10 min.

Remove paper and return to oven for a further 10 min. Leave to cool. Reduce the oven to 180C/gas 4. Meanwhile, thickly slice the leeks, rinse and drain. Melt 50g butter in a spacious, lidded sauté pan, stir in the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring a few times, for about 15 min or until soft. Cool. Mix crème fraîche and egg yolks. Spread half the parmesan over the base, fill with leeks, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and pour over the cream. Dredge with parmesan, bake for 25-40 min until set. Trim the pastry overhang. Stand on a tin to remove the collar.