This magnificent weather means that the leeks we grew from seed last year and which have spent the cold months over-wintering and keeping the ground occupied in the veg patch, began to bolt. Bonus Boy and I whipped a dozen out of the ground like gardening super heroes and Lovely Boy ran to fetch his swiss army knife for some action leek trimming.

Whenever I have a load of leeks I make this rich leek tart. It is delicious hot, cold and anywhere in between.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 pack fresh short crust pastry

500g trimmed leeks, sliced

50g butter

1tbsp olive oil

75ml single cream

75ml semi-skimmed milk

3 eggs

75g grated cheddar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Method

1. Lightly grease a 23cm flan dish (a bit bigger is fine but you’ll have filling left over if you go any smaller). Roll out the pastry to fit, don’t trim the edges yet. Fork the case all over. Chill for 20 mins.

2. Preheat oven to 180c.

3. While the oven is heating and the pastry case is chilling. Make the filling. Melt the butter and olive oil gently over a low heat. Add the chopped leeks and cover. Cook gently for 20 mins – half an hour until leeks are soft and buttery. Try not to brown too much. Avoid taking the lid off and allow the leeks to steam and  sizzle at the same time.

4.Whisk the eggs in a bowl then whisk in the cream, milk, Dijon and salt and pepper. Add 3/4 of the grated cheese.

5. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans (I use dried chick peas which I keep for this purpose) and pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking parchment and beans and cook for a further 5 mins to cook the base.

6. Cover the pastry case with the leeks. Pour in the egg/cream/cheese mixture. Top with the remaining cheese. Trim the edges. (I forgot this bit and trimmed before I blind baked the case this time and, as you can see from the photo below, it shrank!)

7. Cook for 20 mins at 180c then turn the oven up to 200c and cook for a further 10 -20 mins until beautifully golden brown on top and smelling gorgeous!

Serve with new potatoes and french beans or salad.

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