French Leek Tart (Flamiche au Poireaux)

Leek tart on a piece of baking parchment with a slice taken out of it.

If you’re looking for the perfect lunchtime treat to enjoy with a light green salad (tossed with my truffle vinaigrette?), or if you want to add a few air fryer French fries (if you’ve not gone for the dressing, perhaps some air fryer truffle fries instead?) to make dinner look no further than my French Leek Tart. Made with slowly softened leeks, plenty of creme fraiche and just a hint of nutmeg it’s simple, elegant, and exactly what I want to eat right now whilst the weather remains a little bit too grey to properly celebrate spring.

Just like my French Onion Quiche this French Leek Tart it is one of the few meat free meals I can get J to not just eat – but enjoy eating- for dinner without him asking where the meat is, and you can easily make both the filling and the pastry case ahead for assembly and baking later, so it is also great for entertaining.

Whilst the pastry method is all mine made with a good mix for butter (for richness) and lard (for flakiness, but just use more butter to make this properly vegetarian) I’ve adapted the filling from the Leek Tart from Picardy in Rick Stein’s brilliant book Rick Stein’s Secret France (ad) – to fit my smaller sized tin (20 cm) that is well suited if there is just two of you at home. I started making it during the second lockdown and whilst it did take a few goes to get the proportions right (the first time I made it I had enough filling to make two tarts, which I happily did!) no one complained that it kept appearing on the dinner menu!

French leek tart on a piece of baking parchment with two slices taken out of it.
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French leek tart on a piece of baking parchment with two slices taken out of it.

French Leek Tart

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Resting Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 46 1x
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

This easy yet elegant French Leek Tart is made with a lovely flaky shortcrust pastry, slow cooked leeks, creme fraiche and just a hint of nutmeg for a simple lunch or dinner delicious served with a dressed green salad and perhaps a handful of French fries.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  • 200g (7 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 60g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 40g (1 1/2 oz) lard (see note)
  • sea salt

For the French Leek Tart

  • 40g (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks
  • sea salt
  • 150g (5 1/4 oz) creme fraiche
  • 1 large egg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • generous pinch ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. First, make the pastry. Blitz together the flour, unsalted butter (cubed), lard (again, cubed) with a pinch of salt in a food processor until you’ve formed crumbs. Gradually blitz in up to 2 tbsp of ice water until the dough starts to form together and stick slightly.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and using a light touch bring together into a smooth ball. If you’ve added a bit too much water making it a bit sticky don’t worry, just add a little more flour.
  3. Generously grease a relatively deep (a regular, not one of the skinny ones) loose bottomed, fluted tart tin of approximately 20 cm with an additional bit of butter or lard.
  4. Flour the work surface and roll out the pastry so that it is just bigger than the tin. Carefully slide the rolling pin under the pastry and use it to lift it over the tin without cracking. Gently let the edges down into the pin, using your fingers to press it into the edges.
  5. Using a sharp knife on an angle, slice away the excess pastry leaving just a slight lip. Use your fingers to smarten this up, before chilling the pastry case while you make the filling.
  6. In a large frying pan, heat the butter over a medium heat until frothy. Add the leeks – trimmed, split length-wise and cut into 1cm (just under 1/2 inch) pieces along with a generous pinch of sea salt. Gently sweat the leeks for roughly 30 minutes until very soft stirring often – you don’t want them to colour, and this should only start to happen in the last few minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees (340 fahrenheit) and leave a heavy bottomed baking tray in the oven to heat up.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the creme fraiche, followed by the egg, lightly beaten. Season generously with black pepper and ground nutmeg, as well as a little more salt.
  9. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pastry case and smooth the top. Place on top of the heated tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the top is golden. You’ll want to leave the tart in the oven for the additional 10 minutes to help the pastry case cook through if possible, but don’t risk burning either the top or the pastry.
  10. Leave for sit for 10 minutes before attempting to remove it from the tin. Serve warm.

Notes

Both the pastry case and the filling can be made in advance and assembled just before baking.

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