This leek and cheese puff pastry tart is the perfect antidote to the oncoming autumn (and winter) chills. Sweet leek is tempered by savoury mushroom, with a creamy, yet sharp, unctuous cheese base bringing it all together. I’ve added a zesty chorizo pangrattato and boy, does it make this tart sing. It’s perfectly fine without, but I do implore you to make it if you have the time/ingredients – it’s also a good way to use up stale sourdough.
It’s a comforting tart that can work easily well as a midweek easy dinner or, when portioned into small tartlets and dressed up with a sharp watercress salad could work as something a little more special.
Whilst I don’t subscribe to making my own puff pastry (all-butter shop bought is far better than any I can knock out and takes a lot less time), you really do need to sweat the leek for at least thirty minutes to make it as sweet as can be, otherwise the recipe doesn’t work.
To make this veggie, swap out the chicken stock for veg stock and fry the breadcrumbs in 1tblsp of olive oil with 1/4 tsp of smoked chorizo and a pinch of salt. This tart can also be reheated the next day in a 160 oven for ten minutes – keep leftovers in an airtight container, not in the fridge, or the pastry will soften too much.
If you like cheesy, autumnal bakes check out my blue cheese and pumpkin pasties here – perfect for using up all that carved pumpkin this Halloween.
Leek and cheese puff pastry tart with chorizo pangrattato
Serves 4 – takes one hour
400g chestnut mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced thinly
500g leeks, cut into 0.5cm thick rounds, white and light green parts only
30g salted butter
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tblsp plain flour
100ml hot chicken stock
100g Lincolnshire Poacher, grated fine (or vintage cheddar, make sure it’s a strong one though)
Good grinding of black pepper
1 pack ready rolled, all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
100g cooking chorizo, removed from it’s skin and diced
2 slices of stale-ish sourdough (does need to be ‘proper’ bread), crusts removed and made into breadcrumbs
Zest of one small lemon
1. Pop the oven onto 160 (fan) and then place a medium frying pan over a high heat. Once it’s sat there for a minute
add the mushrooms dry. Cook until browning. It’s worth cooking in two batches otherwise this doesn’t really work as the water won’t be able to escape properly and the mushrooms will stay soggy. You need to get the mushrooms browned (see picture), so you add lots of lovely flavour like you would when you brown a steak. Once done, take off the heat and keep until needed.
2. Whist you’re cooking the mushrooms put the butter in a large frying pan on a medium-low heat and add the leeks. Once the butter has melted stir into the leeks and drop the heat immediately to as low as you can. Keep stirring regularly so that the leeks soften, but don’t catch at all. You want them to become super soft, translucent and sweet – it will take at least half an hour, be patient, it’s worth it!
3. Take the pastry out the fridge as it will usually need ten minutes out before it goes into the oven (check the packet). Place it on a large baking tin and score a line around the edge of the pastry leaving a 1cm edge all the way round (check the image out below).
4. Once the leeks are done, add the mushrooms and stir in the dried thyme. Turn the heat up to medium, add the flour and stir until all is coated and a bit gluey – keep stirring so the leeks don’t brown. Add the stock slowly, continuing to stir until you have a thick paste. Add the cheese and a good grinding of pepper, then stir in. It should be quite gloopy at this point (but will taste delish).
5. Pop the cheesy leek mixture into the centre of the pastry, not going over the scored edge – make sure it’s an even thickness all the way round. Egg wash the border and place into the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is cooked and browned.
6. Whilst the tart is cooking, place the now cold mushroom frying pan over a medium heat and immediately add the cooking chorizo, taken out of it’s skin. As the pan warms up the fat will come out of the chorizo. While the chorizo is cooking, use your wooden spoon to mush the sausage filling into very small bits. When the chorizo is beginning to become crispy at the edges, add the breadcrumbs and fry until crisp and all the paprika spiked oil has been absorbed. Take off the heat before the crumbs start browning, otherwise they might burn. Add the lemon zest and stir in. Place to one side off the heat.
7. Serve the tart with a lemon spiked watercress salad and the pangratatto on top.