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I love making pies and tarts from scratch, but dread making the crust.  I know how to make it, but I get so frustrated if it doesn’t come out perfect: if it’s too dry, or difficult to roll, or if it tears just a little.  I have been known to throw a hissy fit and stamp my feet, and it’s not pretty, and I am ashamed.  But did I mention how much I love making tarts?  I am not ready to give up on them.  I went the store-bought route for a while (the frozen Trader Joe’s crusts were particularly successful), but now I just smile and ask my husband nicely to do it for me, because he makes the best crust ever.  My Nana would give him a gold medal for his work.  Light, flaky and flavorful, just the way a crust should be.

Last week, he was in a great mood because Skyrim is here, finally.  He was taking a break from the gaming action, so I smiled and asked nicely and he made me crust for my leek tart.  My friend M makes a killer leek pie, and I was thinking of that when I stumbled on another recipe for a rustic leek tart– at that point, I knew that the leeks I had purchased for soup needed to go in a different direction.  I had an idea of how I wanted the tart to be and decided to experiment with the filling.  The result was creamy and rich, with a hint of sweetness from the onion.  I served it with a simple salad of spinach, pears & thyme vinaigrette.  Next week, I might make something similar with a few pieces of leftover Thanksgiving turkey thrown in, maybe some peas, too.  It is a delicious meal that is fairly simple to put together and would have been equally good with a store-bought crust, though the terrific work of my terrific husband put it over the top.

Rustic Leek Tart

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2-3 T fresh thyme
  • 2 oz shredded P’tit Basque*
  • 1/4 c. cream
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 9″ pie crust
  • 1 T. cream or whole milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, heat oil on medium; add onions and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-6 minutes.  Add thyme to the pan and stir.  Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese and cream until combined; season with salt & pepper.

In an ovenproof pie dish (or on a baking sheet), roll out your crust to a 10″ round– don’t worry if the edges are uneven, it won’t matter.  Spoon the leek filling into the center of the crust and spread to within an inch or so of the edge; fold the edges in over the filling, overlapping where necessary so there are no open sides.  Brush the 1 T. milk or cream around the crust that sits on top of the filling to help with browning.  Cook for 30 mins at 400 degrees, then increase the temperature to 425 for another 10-15 minutes, until crust and filling are browned.  Cool slightly before serving.

*if you can’t find P’tit Basque, you can substitute another mild sheep’s milk cheese, perhaps Manchego.  I would also try this with gruyere or a mild cheddar.

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