When the first tulip shoots appear and the wild leeks leaf out like wildfire in my garden, I always feel like celebrating with a vibrant seasonal dinner.
If you can't find wild leeks, the white and light green parts of conventional ones, thinly sliced, can also be used.
Double-smoked bacon adds a special twist to this recipe, but good-quality ordinary bacon works just as well.
Serve the tart as a first course with a scattering of arugula.
Servings: Serves 4 with leftovers.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter cut in cubes
¼ cup cold water
1½ teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (5 ounces) double-smoked bacon, chopped
3 cups coarsely chopped wild leeks
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup whipping cream
¼ cup milk
1 large egg
1¼ cups grated white cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place flour and salt in a food processor. Scatter over butter and process with on-off motion until mixture resembles fresh bread crumbs. Remove from processor and place in a bowl. Combine water and vinegar and add just enough liquid to bring dough together. Knead gently until dough forms a ball. Wrap pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch tart pan. Cut off any overhang. Place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes or until very firm.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place tart pan on a baking sheet. Line pastry with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is set. Remove weights, prick base of tart with a fork and bake 5 minutes longer or until pastry is dry to the touch. Set aside to cool. Turn oven temperature down to 350 F.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat to make the filling. Add bacon and sauté for 2 minutes or until fat is rendered. Pour off fat. Add leeks and continue to sauté until leeks are softened (about 3 to 4 minutes). Pour in white wine, bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes or until fully evaporated. Set aside to cool.
Combine cream, milk and egg in a large bowl and beat until uniform. Stir in cheese and leek mixture and season well with salt and pepper. Fill tart shell. Bake tart in the lower third of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until filling is slightly puffed and golden.