Flamiche Aux Poireaux
(French Leek Tart)

A leek pie originally from the Picardy region in France, some say it is the region's equivalent of the all-too-famous quiche (from Lorraine, France), while others say it is the French equivalent of pizza! The first written recipe for the dish was found in an 18th century soldier's notebook. The hearty pie was mainly stuffed with chopped leeks, milk, and butter, though some Picardy locals enjoyed mixing in nutmeg, cheese, or vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.

 

Although it is often overshadowed by its cousin, the Flamiche aux Poireaux is the pie for anybody craving a beautifully flaky, buttery crust, from the cuisine that does pasty like no other. Happy cooking!

You will Need

For the pastry:

  1. 1⅓  cups flour

  2. 8 tbsp unsalted butter – cubed and chilled

  3. ½ tsp salt

  4. 4-5 tbsp ice water

 

For the filling:

  1. 12 small leeks

  2. 4 tbsp unsalted butter

  3. 1 tsp salt

  4. freshly ground black pepper to taste

  5. 2 large eggs

  6. ¼ cup creme fraiche or heavy cream

  7. 4 slices unsmoked ham, such as prosciutto – coarsely chopped

  8. ¾ cup Gruyere-style cheese, such as Comte – grated

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You will Use

  1. A food processor

  2. A tart pan

  3. A saucepan

How to prepare

  1. In a food processor, process the flour, 8 tbsp of the butter, and ½ tsp of the salt until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add three tablespoons of water and process for three seconds. Pinch the dough, and if it does not hold together, add additional water and process for several more seconds. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should not form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, just until it forms a ball. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

  2. Roll out the dough to line a 10 1/2-inch tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Chill for another 30 minutes, or until firm.

  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  4. Trim the leeks at the root. Cut off and discard the fibrous, dark green portion. Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning and rinse in cold water until no grit appears. Coarsely chop the leeks.

  5. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, add the leeks, salt and pepper and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft, about 20 minutes. They should not brown.

  6. If the leeks have given up an excessive amount of liquid, drain them in a colander. Combine the eggs and creme fraiche in a medium-size bowl, mixing until thoroughly blended. Add the leeks and mix again. Reserve a quarter cup each of the cheese and the ham to sprinkle on top of the tart. Mix the rest into the leek mixture.

  7. Pour the leek mixture into the prepared tart tin. Sprinkle with the ham, then the cheese. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.

  8. Bake until nicely browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Recipe inspired by NY Times Cooking.