Leek & feta tarts

leek&fetatartsSeason:  Winter/Spring

Type:  Big dishes

Difficulty:  Intermediate

Makes:  6 individual tarts

Fresh from the garden:  leeks, chives, eggs

Recipe source: Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids

Equipment

  • rolling pins
  • 6 x 12 cm loose-bottom flan tins
  • aluminium foil
  • pastry weights (or dried ingredient such as rice or chickpeas)
  • chopping boards & non-slip mats
  • medium knife
  • 1 large bowl
  • salad spinner
  • metric measuring spoons &cups
  • large non-stick frying pan
  • wooden spoon
  • small plastic container
  • ladle
  • scales
  • grater
  • whisk
  • baking tray
  • serving plates
  • wire rack
Ingredients

  • 1 quantity Basic Shortcrust Pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups crème fraîche or fat-reduced cream
  • 10 chives
  • 1 nutmeg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 80 g feta

What to do

  • Set out your equipment and ingredients.

Prepare the pastry

  • Make the pastry as directed and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Flour the workbench.  Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and divide into 6 equal pieces.  Roll one piece to a circle that is 14 cm wide.  Line one of the flan tins with the pastry pressing well into the corners.  Repeat this process until you have 6 flan tins of pastry.  Line each tine with a double sheet of aluminium foil and tip in a quantity of pastry weights or dried chickpeas.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or even overnight.

Blind bake the tart shells

  • About 15 minutes before the pastry is ready, preheat the oven to 200oC. Put the pastry shells in the oven, with the foil and weights still in them and bake for 20 minutes.  This is called baking blind.

Prepare the leeks

  • While the pastry is chilling and then baking, prepare the filling.  Slice the leek lengthways, then across into 5 mm slices.  Fill the large bowl with cold water and place the leek in the bowl.  Swish the leek with your fingers to make sure all the sand and dirt has been removed.  Lift the leek and place in the salad spinner.  Spin to dry.
  • Melt the butter in the frying pan and tip in the leek.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice with the wooden spoon.

Separate the eggs

  • Meanwhile, wash and dry the bowl used to rinse the leek and set out the plastic container.  Separate 2 of the eggs by cracking them, one at a time, then tipping each egg into your cupped hand, which should be held over the plastic container.  Slightly open your fingers and let the white slip into the container.
  • Place the yolk in the mixing bowl. (You won’t need the eggwhites for this recipe, so freeze them for another time).  Place the 2 whole eggs in the bowl with the egg yolks.

Add the cream, leek and seasonings

  • Add the crème fraîche or fat-reduced cream and whisk the ingredients together.
  • Chop the chives and add to the egg/cream mixture.  Put 6 “grates” of nutmeg into the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the lid from the leek, increase the heat and stir to evaporate any liquid in the pan.  Tip the leek into the egg/cream mixture and stir to mix evenly.

Prepare & bake the tarts

  • Remove the flan tins from the oven and allow to cool for a minute before removing the foil and pastry weights.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 170 oC.  Transfer the baked pastry shells in their tins to the baking trays.  Using the ladle, divide the leek and cream mixture between the tarts.  Crumble some feta over each tart.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes until the filling is set.  Remove the tarts from the oven.  Allow to cook for a moment, then push up the loose bottom of each tin and ease out the tart onto the wire rack.

Serve the tarts

  • Grate a little nutmeg over the tarts and serve.
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