Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

A leek and goat cheese tart slice

From the flaky, melt-in-your mouth pastry to the creamy, savory filling of tangy goat cheese with sautéed leeks and fresh thyme, you’d swear this tart could have come straight from a bistro in Paris if you hadn’t just made it yourself!

This week’s dish: Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

Why we like it:

If you’re used to buying your pre-made pie shells, making your own from scratch might seem like a daunting task, but it’s really very simple, and you’ll love the taste of homemade!  This shortcrust pastry recipe works well for pies, tarts, quiches, and more, so once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be able to make it again and again!

For the crust:

½ cup butter (8 tbsp), cut into cubes

1 ¾ cup flour

pinch salt

½ cup ice water (use more or less as needed)

For the filling:

2 tbsp butter

2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 lb.  goat’s cheese

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

freshly ground pepper

 

To make the shortcrust pastry, first pop your mixing bowl into the fridge so it will be chilled when you are ready to mix your dough.  Make sure your ice water is ready as well.  Next, measure out your flour and chop your butter into small cubes.

Cubes of chilled butter

Add the flour, cubed butter, and a pinch of salt to your food processor.

Tart crust ingredients in the food processor

Pulse until crumbly, about 30 seconds, depending on the power level.  If you don’t have a food processor you can use a pastry cutter to mix the flour and butter.

Crumbly crust mixture

Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl and make a small well in the middle with your fingers.

Making a well in the crust crumbs

Slowly pour in the ice water, a small amount at a time, and twist your hand like a whisk, turning the pastry around to incorporate the water.  Add enough water so the dough holds together but doesn’t feel sticky.

Adding water to the flour

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and lightly knead into a ball, being careful not to overwork the pastry.  Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for about an hour.

Kneading the dough into a ball

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and take your dough from the fridge.  Lightly flour your surface and roll the dough until it’s about 1/8-inch thick.

Rolling out the crust dough with a pin

Transfer the dough to your 9-inch pie plate and trim the excess from the sides with a knife.

Trimming down the pie crust

Depending on the shape of your dish, you can crimp or embellish the edges in a variety of ways, but using a fork is the quickest and simplest way to make it look consistent.

Using a fork to decorate the pie crust

Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork, and then line with foil.  To weigh it down you can simply use dried beans or rice if you don’t have pie weights.

Using beans to weigh down the crust

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the bottom of the tart is completely cooked.  Let the tart cool.

Baked pie crust

While the tart is cooling you can start on your filling.  Cut away the tops and bottoms of your leeks so you’re left with the white and light green bits.  Halve each leek and then thinly slice crosswise.  Rinse in cold water.

Chopping the leeks

To get the leaves from your sprigs of time, first remove the small outer stems (which can be chopped up), leaving the central stem, which is a bit woody in texture.  Lightly pinch your fingers around the top of the stem and slide them down, pulling the leaves away from the stem.  Measure out 1 tbsp of leaves.

Sprigs of thyme measured out

In a medium-sized skillet, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat and add the leeks.  Cook them for about 5 minutes, until they are soft.  Partway through cooking, add the fresh thyme and stir well.  Remove from the heat.

Cooking the leeks in butter

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and add your cream, pepper, and a pinch or two of salt.  The goat cheese is quite salty, so the more you use, the less additional salt you need to add to the egg and cream mixture.

Whisking together cream and eggs

Cut your goat cheese into small chunks. Chunks of goat cheese

Spread the leeks around the bottom of the tart shell and sprinkle the chunks of goat cheese on top.

Arranging the cheese and leeks

Pour the cream mixture over the leeks and cheese and and garnish with some extra thyme leaves.

Pouring the cream mixture into the pie shell

Make sure the oven is preheated at 375 degrees, and bake the tart for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are starting to turn golden brown.  Because the tart shell has already been baked, you don’t want the edges to burn, so remove from the oven and line the edges with foil or cut a circle in a large sheet of foil and place on top.  Continue baking for another 25-35 minutes until the filling is set.  Cooking times can vary quite a bit, so keep your eye on the pie.  Once fully cooked, let the tart cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes.

Baked tart cooling in foil

Serve warm if you like a soft and smooth consistency, but the tart is just as delicious chilled; the filling firms up and the tangy flavor of goat cheese tastes a little stronger.

A slice of the leek and goat cheese tart

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