I love a good tart.
Tarts are for hot days on the terrace, warm Summer nights… sitting around a table nibbling on crisp, flaky pastry adorned with fresh tomatoes and basil, and washing it all down with a cold glass of Rose.
In the colder months, it can be a warming slice of delicious saltiness – crisp and topped with the vegetables that I always seem to have in my fridge at this time of year: leeks, onions, mushrooms, spinach. Sprinkle in some hearty bacon pieces, grated Gruyere cheese, cream/yoghurt, garlic and herbs, and you have a seriously good tart on your table.
The tart of the moment in our house is this Winter version.
The market stalls are laden with leeks, onions, spinach and mushrooms and it’s a dish that makes for a delightful lunch or light dinner, served alongside a tossed green salad. It’s also a wonderful left-over served cold or slightly warmed in the oven.
Note: If you are like me and enjoy the flavours of a dish even more on day 2, I like to prepare the filling of this Winter tart the night before. Not only are the flavours of the leek, garlic, onion and bacon all beautifully melded together, it also makes it a super quick meal to prepare the next day if you have the bulk of the filling already sorted.
p.s. a small note on the word ‘tart’ as opposed to ‘quiche’. I personally just prefer the word – tart – or savoury tart to quiche, but I’ve often wondered if I was correct to use this term. I have since been told that I can use it… while a quiche is usually only savoury, a tart can be both, either a sweet version, or the savoury version with the egg ‘custard’ filling. And either of these become a pie when you add a pastry lid. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong!
p.p.s. our local market is full of apples right now, and for a quick, easy apple tart, simply scatter almond flour over pastry to thinly cover and place sliced apples, place about 6-8 knobs of butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar over the top, and bake until golden.
Winter Leek and Mushroom Tart
1 x packet flaky pastry, 230g
(I have a confession to make. I have never made my own flaky pastry 🙄. When I make these tarts here in France, I always buy my pastry (‘pâte feuilletée’ in a packet of 230g) as it is very good. One day I’ll take the leap)
3 x eggs
200ml fresh cream or plain yoghurt
100ml full-cream or skim milk (I always have a little milk on hand to add to the egg and cream/yoghurt mixture if you don’t think it will be enough to cover the cooked vegetables spread over the tart base)
1-2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere cheese (as you wish)
200g bacon pieces
1 x onion, chopped or sliced finely
3 x leeks washed and sliced thinly
12 (approx!) x mushrooms, sliced or quartered
option – a cup of blanched spinach if desired
salt and pepper (note the mixture might already be salty from the bacon)
fresh or dried thyme to sprinkle on top
Fry onion and leek in large pan over low/medium heat until golden (approx. 25-30 mins.
Pre-heat oven to 190-200 degrees Celsius (375 F/ gas mark 6) when onion/ leek is almost golden.
Add crushed garlic, mushrooms and bacon and fry till takes colour, stirring well.
Remove pan from heat.
Line a 28-30cm diameter tart tin* with baking paper, place pastry and scallop the edges.
Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over tart pastry.
Spoon the cooked vegetables over pastry, making sure evenly covered.
If adding blanched spinach or silverbeet, layer over top.
Whisk eggs with cream/ yoghurt – and add salt and pepper as desired.
Pour egg mixture over pastry/ vegetables, tilting and turning the tin to ensure that it spreads evenly over mix.
Sprinkle over the thyme, and a little extra grated cheese if desired.
Place in middle of oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until golden (check after first 25 minutes to see how it looks).
Et voila, Bon appetit!
Pssst. Speaking of wine🍷. We’re a house that is happy to drink Ben’s Rose all year round – and always like serving a chilled pale pink glass with this dish. But if you’re not, you could always serve this with a crisp white wine (Ben’s is pretty damn good!) or a chilled, slightly sweet fortified French wine like a Rivesaltes (this one is also pretty damn good!).
*N.B. I don’t use porcelain or glass because the pastry doesn’t cook so well, sometimes turning soggy