Leek and Gruyere Tart

22 Jan

My first attempt at making a tart: not so hot. I think I’m just not a big fan of things that taste too much like egg. However, I was trying to use some leftover leeks and found a recipe in my Easy Pies book  that I could easily modify. The original, called Caramelized Onion Tart, sounded quite delicious, and my version tasted ok, just not really what I felt like. At least I didn’t feel sick like I always do with the museum’s cafeteria quiches.

The Stuff: leeks (I used 4), about 75g gruyere, 1 egg, some milk, puff pastry, parmesan

The Seasoning: salt and pepper

The Method: Caramelize the leeks in butter. Line a small pie tin with puff pastry and blind bake at 190C until mostly cooked.

Meanwhile, beat the egg and mix it with a small amount of milk, the gruyere, and seasoning. When they’re ready, add in the leeks and pour the mixture into the crust. Top with parmesan and bake for 15 minutes; let sit for 10.

Clearly, I can make some improvements on this. I liked the taste of the leeks, but I would definitely use fresh-grated gruyere from Neal’s Yard instead of store brand pre-grated. Cheese is just better fresh, yes? (I will probably write more about cheese later. It deserves its own post.) I don’t know the chemistry of eggs and whether I could replace a whole egg with two egg whites, but I’d definitely try it: in addition to being lower in cholesterol, they don’t seem to have that characteristically eggy taste (sulphurous, I read). However, I’ll have to check if they will work in a tart.

Second, a tart should have a certain look. It should be evenly spread and fit nicely into the crust. As you can see in the picture, I messed up big-time. My friend Ramya’s mother Lee’s father, in an oft-repeated phrase, said that the foods that look the worst taste the best. The leftovers of Lee’s Pie, which look like a disaster, taste absolutely fabulous. That is not true in this case, where I think the look is integral to the sensation of eating (if not the actual taste). Part of the reason for my oversize crust is my use of puff pastry in places where it doesn’t belong, and another part is my laziness in actually shaping the pastry to the size of the pan. These are things to work on.

Anyway. Next one should be better.


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