Lit­tle leek tarts

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

These lit­tle tarts can be served as a first course or with roast meat. Un­pack­aged leeks seem to be go­ing out of favour; peo­ple turn to the trimmed, plas­ticwrapped kind. I think this is a mis­take. Earthy, green-topped leeks usu­ally taste bet­ter be­cause they have come straight from the field with­out wash­ing and de­lay.

Prep 10 min Cook 50 min Serves 6-8

2 heaped tbsp butter 1 kg leeks, dark-green part re­moved, halved, washed and chopped Salt and black pep­per 2-3 tbsp sin­gle cream 1 pack ready-made puff pas­try Wens­ley­dale or ched­dar cheese, finely grated

1 beaten egg (op­tional)

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan over a low heat and tip in the leeks. Cover tightly and stew slowly so that the leeks grad­u­ally melt to soft­ness. Check af­ter 1015 min­utes and re­move the lid if the leeks have given off a lot of liq­uid.

Leave to cook for a fur­ther 10-15 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. The leeks must not stick or colour; they should end up moist, but not wet. By stir­ring, you can con­cen­trate all the flavour so that noth­ing has to be drained away.

Sea­son the leeks and liq­uidise them with just enough cream to make a puree. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

Roll out the pas­try to about 3mm thick – enough to be able to cut 24 cir­cles large enough to fit into tart tins. Di­vide the puree be­tween them. Sprin­kle a tea­spoon of grated cheese over each. You can, if you like, roll out the pas­try trim­mings and cut out lids for some or all of the tarts, or leave them un­cov­ered.

If you do cover them, brush them with the beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 min­utes, un­til the tarts are lightly browned and puffed up. Serve at once.

All recipes taken from Jane Grig­son’s English Food (Penguin)

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