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Leek Tart with Bacon & Gruyère

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Serves six as a main course, twelve as an appetizer.

  • To learn more, read:
    Versatile Leeks
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 89

Paired with a green salad and a glass of crisp white wine, this tart is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. I also like to cut it into thin wedges and serve it as an appetizer along with aperitifs. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature.

For the tart shell:
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1⁄4 tsp. table salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5-1⁄2 oz. (11 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
  • 5 to 6 Tbs. ice-cold water
For the filling:
  • 3 thick slices bacon, cut into small dice
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 3 large leeks (white and light green parts only), cleaned and sliced crosswise 1⁄4 inch thick to yield about 4 cups
  • 1 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • 1⁄3 cup whole milk
  • 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1⁄8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2⁄3 cup grated Gruyère (or Emmentaler)
Make the tart shell:

In a food processor, pulse the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper to blend thoroughly. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are about the size of rice grains (about eight 1-second pulses). Add the ice water 1 Tbs. at a time through the feed tube while pulsing in short bursts until the dough starts coming together. It may still look crumbly, but if you press it with your fingers, it should become compact. (Don’t add more water than absolutely necessary to get the dough to cling together.) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and, using your hands, gather and press the dough into a rough ball, blotting up the stray crumbs.

Transfer the dough to a piece of waxed paper, shape it gently into a disk, and wrap it tightly to keep it from drying out. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead.) Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Unwrap the dough, set it on a lightly floured surface, and if necessary, let sit until pliable. Roll the dough out to a 14-inch circle about 1⁄8 inch thick.

Transfer the dough to an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press it carefully into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Let the edges of the dough hang over the rim of the pan and then roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to cut away the excess dough. Prick the surface of the dough all over with a fork, line it with parchment, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Put the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges of the tart shell are dry and flaky (but not browned), about 10 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment; the center should still be moist and raw. Prick the bottom again and return the shell to the oven. Bake until the bottom surface is completely dry, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Lower the oven temperature to 375°F.

Make the filling:

In a 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it’s crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a dish and set aside. Discard all but about 2 tsp. of the bacon fat. Set the skillet over medium-low heat, add the butter, let it melt, and then add the leeks. Stir to coat them with the fat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir the flour into the leeks and cook uncovered, stirring, for about 2 minutes to cook off the raw-flour flavor. Set aside and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the cream, milk, salt, nutmeg, and several grinds of pepper and whisk until blended. Add the bacon and leeks to the mixture and stir to combine.

To assemble the tart, scatter 1⁄3 cup cheese over the cooled tart shell and pour in the egg mixture. Spread the leeks evenly. Scatter the remaining 1⁄3 cup cheese evenly over the top. Bake until the custard is set and the top is light golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Leftovers

Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered. Reheat for 10 to 15 minutes at 350°F.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 12 servings; Calories (kcal): 270; Fat (g): fat g 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 11; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 20; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 200; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 85; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Astoundingly good! Of course, it helps to have really good bacon, and really good cheese. This time I made it with King Arthur Gluten Free Pie Crust, and still - amazing. Plus the leftovers the next day didn't have a soggy crust. An advantage of gluten free. Adding thyme to the crust isn't a must, but adds depth. I served a green salad with apples, pecans, feta and balsamic vinaigrette and a nice wine. Great meal. This would be wonderful cut small for appetizers, too. Pretty rich! Oh, it really is necessary to let it rest for 30 minutes before serving. It firms up, and the taste is better when it isn't burning hot.

I used purchased pie crusts and made mini tartletts for a luncheon. This recipe is delicious. The gruyere cheese is a must, I would not subsitute here !

This Leek Tart was absolutely delicious. I'm not great at pie crusts, so I used a purchased pie crust and just used it in a tart pan. 5 stars, plus.

My mother cooks all the time but I'm not quite up to her standards when it comes to improvising, so I followed this recipe and it took me three hours(from start till eating time)but it was soooo good! I really reccomend giving this one a try o and Thick slice bacon is a must!

What a hit this was! The crust was great, not difficult to work with, and not too hard once cooked, like some crusts can be. The thyme and pepper gave it a hint of a savory flavor. I had to use 6 small leeks, so, I, too was glad a yield for the leeks was given. The wine suggestion was great, too; I served it with a non-oaked chardonnay which was perfect.

This is really delicious!

My daughter and I made this together and had so much fun. It was our first experience cooking with leeks. We used Emmentaler cheese and found it very nice texture and flavor. This became an instant family favorite.

I served it as suggested with a green salad as a first course and got raves about it. Although it takes a bit of time to put all the pieces together you don't have to do all of it just before the meal. I made the crust, then had the filling ready to pour in about 2 hours before the dinner. It was maybe a little warmer than room temperature when we sat down to eat. I'm not good with crusts but this one worked out just fine. I especially liked the thyme in the crust. It took less than 2 leeks to yield 4 cups so I was really glad the recipe gave a yield measurement. I'd make it again to serve with a salad as a first or for a Brunch.

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