One of my favourite words in the whole wide world is ‘eggy’. I use it to describe a wide variety of things, usually flavours and textures that I find slightly unappealing. No trace of egg whatsoever in the food I’m referring to? I don’t care, to me it is eggy. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love a good egg. Love ‘em! Poached, fried, baked, boiled, partnered with mayo and shoved between two slices of fresh bread. Delicious! The egg is so versatile and is quite simply, magnificent. An eggy texture however, not so good. Have you ever attempted to bake a cheesecake and it comes out all horrible, wobbly, and a bit curdled? (I speak from painful experience). Well that’s eggy.
That is exactly the kind of texture that put me off quiches and tarts for so many years. After trying a number of poor quality versions I assumed they were all a bit ‘eggy’ in nature. I mean eggy in my sense, not due to the fact that they actually contain a number of eggs…this is beginning to get confusing. I’ll get to the point, which is this; this Flamiche (a tart made with leeks and cream) makes a deliciously light and satisfying dinner while still having a creamy richness about it. When sliced the cheesy filling oozes slowly and majestically out onto the plate, and any dinner that oozes cream and cheese is OK in my book.
You can of course buy frozen pastry but if you have the time then making it from scratch really is so easy. I’ve used this recipe a number of times and it has always turned out lovely and buttery with a very nice texture (with no soggy bottoms!) I am yet to successfully line a tart tin without holes appearing but these can easily be patched up and no one’s any the wiser once the filling goes in.
Flamiche – adapted from Paul Hollywood’s recipe in ‘How To Bake’.
1 Quantity of shortcrust pastry
Butter for greasing
Flour for dusting
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk – eggwash.
250g Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting.
Pinch of Salt.
125g chilled, unsalted butter, cubed.
2 medium egg yolks.
Roughly 50ml of cold water.
- Put the flour and salt into a bowl and mix together. Then add the butter cubes. Rub the ingredients together lightly with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadbrumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and begin to mix together with your hands. Slowly add the water and mix until a paste is formed that leaves the sides of the bowl clean.
- Tip the pastry out into a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. If the pastry is overly wet and constantly sticking to the surface you can add small amounts of flour until it becomes less sticky. Be careful though not to handle the pastry too much as this will affect the texture. Flatten the pastry with your fingers to a disc and wrap with cling film. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using. Can be refrigerated overnight.
25g Unsalted butter
400g leeks, washed and sliced
4 medium egg yolks
300ml double cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
150g of brie (or camembert)
Cherry tomatoes (as many as you like!)
- Heat the oven to 200C. Cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. Lightly butter a 25cm tart tin.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a large circle. Line the prepared tin with the pastry, patching up any holes with the excess hanging over the edge. Trim the remaining overhand with a sharp knife.
- Prick the base all over with a fork. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the baking paper and the beans. Brush the pastry case with the eggwash and return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 180c.
- The filling; melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and some salt and pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes until the leeks are tender.
- Put the egg yolks, cream, nutmeg, and some salt and pepper into a bowl. Beat well. Slice the brie lengthways into long thin strips.
- Put the cooled pastry case on a baking sheet and spoon the leeks over the base. Pour the egg mixture over the leeks and mix them around gently with a fork. Add the tomatoes to the mix. Lay the strips of brie on top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until just golden and set in the centre.