One of my favourite things as a child were little leek tarts that you could buy frozen at the grocery store. They were small individual round tarts that my mom made along with cheese tarts and sometimes mushroom tarts. I don’t know where my love for leek comes from – I think the only time we ate leek at our home was in these tarts.
I believe the tarts I grew up with were a little more cream based with a larger percentage of leeks. This version is a combination of my love of cheese tarts and leek tarts – nothing is more comforting on a cool evening. Serve it with a green salad and you have a substantial meal. The tart warms up nicely in the oven as well if you have leftovers or want to bring it to a potluck.
To this day I will make the frozen tarts when I visit Switzerland – some things are best the way you remember having them as a child. What food do you associate with your childhood?
- 150g of all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 75g cold butter
- 3-4 tablespoons of cold water
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 stalks of leek, washed and cut into slices
- 1-2 tablespoons of flour
- 200 ml of milk (almost a full cup)
- 200 g of grated cheese (Gruyère and/or Emmenthal) (almost 2 cups)
- 3 eggs
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg
- Combine flour and salt. Cut cold butter into flakes and add carefully to flour mixture. Combine carefully until you achieve pea size crumbles. Add cold water and combine dough quickly. I use my mixer to make my crust so I avoid touching the cold butter. I seem to achieve better results by not handling the mixture with my hands. Let stand covered about 30 minutes in the fridge.
- While dough is cooling, heat butter in a pan and add leek. Cook a couple of minutes until soft. Drain as much grease off as you can.
- Mix flour and milk. Add grated cheese and cooked leek. Mix in eggs and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Combine well.
- Once dough is cooled, roll out dough on a floured surface, to 1/4 inch thickness. Pour filling on tart crust and bake immediately.
- Bake at 250C (480F) in the bottom half of oven for 20 minutes
Start with one tablespoon of flour in your cheese and milk mixture. If you feel it's too liquid feel free to add a second spoon to thicken things up a bit.
If you are worried that your pastry won't cook through at the bottom, feel free to pre-bake it a few minutes ahead of filling. If you do that make sure to cover your tart with a bit of foil for the first 15 minutes of baking and then remove foil in the last 5 minutes to brown the cheese.