A Leek and Mustard Tart
Even though it is late August, I still occasionally feel the urge to turn on the oven and make my life just a little more sticky and uncomfortable. Tarts are one of my favorite baking mediums, particularly the savory variety. Once a tart is baked, it is great to have around, paired with a simple green salad as a classy lunch, served in a thin wedge with a glass of crisp white wine as an appetizer, or eaten cold out of hand as an on-the-go breakfast.
This recipe originally came from one of Deborah Madison’s early cookbooks. As a vegetarian during much of my youth, I was used to more hippie-type cooking (think Moosewood), and so when I read The Greens Cookbook in 1987, I was blown away. Hers were the first elevated and truly gourmet meatless recipes that I had ever seen. If you are a vegetable lover and haven’t read any of her work, please check her out. Her stuff is seriously inspirational. I have made this tart a million times and gradually adapted it as my own over the years.
I know that not everyone is comfortable with pastry, and tart pans can seem intimidating if you’ve never used one before. This pastry comes together quickly and is pretty forgiving. You don’t even need to roll it out or use those annoying little pie weights (which I will admit I’ve never owned in my life)! Sadly, the length of the recipe also makes it look difficult, but that is only because I am making it super specific for beginners. If you are an old hand at pastry, just make it however you like best.
The filling is quick and straightforward and the results will make you feel like you are sitting in a countryside bistro in the south of France. In fact, go get the bottle of rosé first, and chill it while you are making the tart. When it has cooled down enough to cut, grab your loveliest wine glass, a small plate, a blanket and find yourself the grassiest and most bucolic place to enjoy your beautiful creation.
Leek and Mustard Tart
(Adapted from Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown’s The Greens Cookbook)
10 oz Gluten Free or all purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
7 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (approximately 1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup of cold water with a few ice cubes
4 cups of thinly sliced leeks, white parts only, washed thoroughly to remove any dirt
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of EVOO
1/2 teaspoon of salt
A few grinds of pepper
1/2 cup of white wine
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream (see next ingredient note)
1/2 cup of creme fraiche or sour cream (you can also omit the previous heavy cream in the list and go for a full cup of creme fraiche or sour cream)
1/2 cup grated cheese (emmanthaler or gruyere please, but you can do goat, cheddar, or whatever you like, really)
2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of minced chives, or parsley
1 teaspoon of minced tarragon
Equipment: 9 inch tart pan or pie plate
Make the crust first.
Heat the oven to 375°. With food processor, pulse flour and salt with butter until the mixture is like very coarse cornmeal with some small pea-sized chunks. Pour in a few spoonfuls of the ice water and pulse again. Keep carefully adding small amounts of water until the dough just comes together. (If using a fork or pastry blender, work fast and blend the fat into the flour until it is the same consistancy as stated above. Stir the water in with a fork until the dough comes together). Quickly press the crust into the pan, keeping the dough to an even 1/8 inch thickness. Stick the whole thing into the freezer quickly and leave for about 15 minutes or so. Get a piece of tin foil the size of the pan and push it into the dough, leaving a little overhang. With a fork, pierce the bottom of the tart dough, about 5 times. Stick in the oven for around 20 minutes, until when you peek under the foil, the dough is dry looking and very light brown. Take out of the oven and cool for a few while you make the filling. Keep the oven on if you are going to bake the tart now!
Heat a large non-stick frying pan at a medium heat and add the butter and oil, when melted, add the leeks, salt and pepper. Stir for 10 minutes or so and then add the wine. Keep stirring for another 5-10 minutes, until the wine is evaporated and then add the vinegar and cook for a minute or two more. Find a medium sized bowl and break two eggs in and beat them for a couple of minutes with a fork or whisk. Add the cream combo, grated cheese, mustards and leek mixture and stir to combine. Pour into your crust and sprinkle the top with the herb(s). I usually stick any pie or tart onto a sheet pan that has been lined with foil, to avoid disasterous oven scenarios, so go ahead if you like. Stick in the oven and bake for around 20-30 minutes, until it is light brown on the top and stops jiggling when you give the pan a shake. Cool on a rack for as long as you can stand it and then get yourself to that bucolic location and pour the wine!