One thing I've loved since being back in Northern Ireland is the delicious local dairy products - milk, butter, and the best cream ever. I've never shied away from using them in the past and now I'm back I'll probably use even more!
This "pie" is very quiche-like but I call it a pie so the "men" in the house will eat it. I've been informed in the past - men don't eat quiche! Their loss and even more for me. I'm using Draynes Double Cream, Donnybrewer Butter, Roy Lyttle farmed leeks and Cavanagh eggs - all Northern Ireland Produce. However the cheese is French... NI doesn't produce Gruyère yet!
Usually I'd make my own pastry but I was stuck for time this week after attending my bread making class at the Pop-Up Cookery School with the fantastic Mark Douglas (aka the Krazi Baker), so I bought a block of ready made shortcrust pastry. Obviously homemade pastry is much nicer and makes it much more individual - however I did actually roll it myself!
If you make it please let me know how it works out for you... Shakira.
leek & gruyère pie
1 packet Ready Made Shortcrust Pastry (or your own homemade rich shortcrust pastry)
2 leeks, sliced thinly and rinsed
1 Egg, beaten* optional
100g Gruyère Cheese, grated
350ml Double Cream
Salt & White Pepper
20cm loose-based flan or quiche tin
Baking beans or rice
Makes 6 decent slices
Put a 20cm loose-based flan tin or fluted quiche tin onto a baking tray, then roll out your pastry to a 3mm thickness and line the tin with it. Use a ball of excess pastry to push the pastry into the sides and base of the tin. Make sure your pastry comes up over the sides of the tin and is folded over the edge. Using a rolling pin, roll over the top of the tin removing the excess pastry. Put a layer of cling film over the pastry so that it touches all of the pastry. Chill until firm to the touch.
Turn on the oven to 200°C/390°F.
Melt the butter over a low heat and add the leeks. Cover with a damp cartouche (dampened circle of parchment paper), put the pan lid on and sweat the leeks until they are soft. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and rest until needed.
Blind bake the pastry for 10 - 15 mins. (Blind bake; remove the pastry from the fridge, line with baking parchment ensuring it comes over the edges. Fill the parchment paper with the baking beans or rice then put the pastry in the oven.)
Take the pastry out, remove the parchment paper and beans and bake again for 5 minutes.
[*Optional - At this point I like to seal the pastry to ensure none of the filling leaks through the pastry. To do this, paint the beaten egg lightly over the pastry bottom and sides using a pastry brush and bake again for 2 minutes. If you feel confident enough that you have a sound pastry case you can skip this step.]
Turn the oven temperature down to 150°C/300°C.
Mix the eggs and the cream in a small bowl with a fork, then pass the mixture through a sieve into a larger bowl. Add the leeks and most of the cheese to the mixture and stir together. Taste and season with salt and WHITE pepper.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon the leeks and cheese onto the pastry until the case is half filled. The pour the egg and cream mixture over the filling. Try to fill the case as much as possible. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes in the bottom third of the oven until the filling is a pale yellow, with a slight wobble in the middle. Check after 30 minutes as you don’t want to pastry to burn.
Let it cool for a while on the baking sheet and then remove the sides of the tin.
Best served slightly warm.