As anyone who reads this blog will surely know I am a huge fan of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and one of the first recipes that I earmarked in his River Cottage Everyday book is Gill’s poached leek and Dorset Blue Vinny tart which, despite it’s use of blue cheese, sounded right up my street. Whilst it may look like and sound like a quiche it really isn’t – it is lighter, creamier and softer, which I guess is down to fewer eggs. I substituted the blue cheese for my favourite cheese of all, the humble cheddar, and it was delicious. I recommend using a really strong vintage cheddar as this is quite a creamy tart so it really needs that strong sharp flavour. The tart can be eaten warm or at room temperature and is so light and full of flavour and I will definitely be making this again, and again, and again. It makes a perfect summer lunch or dinner served with a green salad tossed with bacon lardons.
For the pastry:
- 250g plain flour
- 125g unsalted butter – well chilled
- pinch of salt
- 1 medium egg yolk
- 25-50ml milk
- 2 large or 3 mediums leeks, washed and sliced into 1cm rounds
- 100ml of water
- A knob of butter
- 125g strong vintage cheddar, grated
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 medium egg yolks
- 350ml double cream
- generous pinch of salt and black pepper
Put the leeks in to a saucepan with the water, butter and salt and pepper. Over medium heat bring to a low simmer and then turn the heat low, cover and poach gently for around 10 minutes until just tender, stirring a couple of times. Drain the leeks over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquor, then spread the leeks over the base of the tart and then cover with the grated cheese.
Turn the oven up to 180C (gas 4).
Add the eggs, egg yolks and cream to the leek liquor and beat until smooth. Season to taste and pour over the leeks and cheese and then carefully put the tart back in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes until it is just set and there is a very slight wobble when you shake the tin gently. Remove from the oven and serve warm or allow to cool to room temperature.