Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mustard and Leek Pie

Ok, ok! Here's that recipe that I promised. This is one of my favorite recipes from the marvelous vegetarian cookbook from the celebrated restaurant, The Greens, in San Francisco. It was the dish I had in mind when I snapped up some gorgeous leeks at the Jean-Talon Market this weekend. And...ta-dah!

Leek and Mustard Pie
(Source: The Greens Cookbook, Madison and Brown)

1 recipe tart dough (to follow), in a 9-in tart pan, partially prebaked
4-5 cups leeks (about one pound, trimmed), cut into 1/4-inch rings
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine (or water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup cream or creme fraiche (I used half cream and half sour cream)
2-3 tablespoons good quality smooth or coarse mustard (I used 2T because I have some very strong, imported whole-grained mustard that I get in Montreal)
3 oz. grated cheese or 4 oz. goat cheese (I prefer Swiss, Gruyere or Emmenthal)
2 tablespoons chives, sliced into narrow rounds

Prepare the tart dough and partially prebake it (see below).

Wash the leeks well and set them aside. Melt the butter in a wide skillet, add the leeks along with the water that still clings to them, and cook two to three minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the wine or water and the salt, cover, reduce the heat, and cook slowly until the leeks are tender, about ten to fifteen minutes. Check the pan after seven minutes, and add more wine or water, if necessary (I would use water here, as a half cup of reduced wine is already pretty strong-tasting). When done, season with freshly ground black pepper.

Beat the eggs and stir in the cream or creme fraiche, mustard, leeks and grated cheese. If you are using goat cheese, work half of it into the custard and crumble the other half over the top just before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the custard into the prebaked shell, smooth down the top, and scatter the chives over the entire surface. Bake the pie until the top is firm and golden brown. Let it sit for five minutes before cutting and serving.

Tart Dough

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (bleached works fine, too)
3/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 1/2-3 tablespoons ice water

The recipe from The Greens Cookbook has you working the fat into the dry ingredients by hand, which is fun to be sure, but this is so easily made in a food processor. Whiz together the dry stuff. Add the butter pieces and pulse maybe ten times. Add the shortening and pulse perhaps five more times, until (everyone together now) it looks like coarse meal, oatmeal, petit pois, or whatever your favorite descriptor is). Add the ice water little by little, using only enough until the dough holds together when pressed. Form a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

This is just a wonderful crust recipe for sweet or savory pies. And it is very forgiving...even if it gets a little too warm and it tears or some pieces break off or whatever the crisis, you can just press it back together with your fingers and it still bakes up beautifully.

To partially pre-bake the crust, freeze it (in the tart pan) until very firm, and bake it at 425 degrees for about ten minutes until it looks set and just starts to color. If the bottom crust starts to puff up, just dock it with the tines of a fork or the tip of a paring knife.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking me back to the first time I made this tart. As I recall my friend Maggie had called to invite me to the Sonoma County Fair to see Taj Mahal. She was going to make up some food for after the concert and I decided to contribute a Leek and Mustard tart to the affair (and I do mean affair-we'll get to that later, though I believe I cooked the leeks in rendered bacon fat just because). Little did I know that Maggie and Taj had been occasional lovers in Alaska when Maggie was homesteading there in the late '70s/early '80s (one can only be "occasional" lovers with musicians, as I was soon to find out, but I digress) and Maggie was plotting a rendezvous. Sure enough, her womanly wiles worked and the next thing I know, the concert was over and I'm back at Maggie's, sitting in the drawing room and listening to Taj Mahal tell me stories of life on the road and his plans to visit Bonnie Raitt in Anderson Valley while visiting Sonoma County. All this to say to your readers that THIS LEEK AND MUSTARD TART MAY VERY WELL BRING LEGENDARY PEOPLE INTO YOUR LIFE. IF YOU MAKE IT, THEY WILL COME. XO

Ilene said...

Love your comment because my daughter actually calls this "Mommy's Legendary Leek Pie"!!

Anonymous said...

Greens cookbook is my culinary bible. Everyone for whom I have ever cooked this tart has been absolutely blown away by it! Greens is the best vegetarian restaurant that I have ever been to - I had to travel 6000 miles to eat there and it was worth every carbon atom expended - lovely lovely lovely food