Serve this leek tart as a main course or side dish. Leeks are sweet and mellow, and when simmered slowly will caramelize to a golden topping, yet onions can be substituted with equally good results. A splash of Marsala wine brings out even more depth of flavor, then top wth fresh garlic and rosemary. Make the crust while the leeks simmer, and then everything comes together quite quickly. No need to chill the dough, this recipe rolls out perfectly every time. Recipe adapted from my upcoming The New Heirloom Garden (RodaleBooks) in book stores everywhere on February 2, 2021.
For the Pastry Shell:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted chilled butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2-cup sour cream or yogurt
For the Filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/4″ slices – (whit parts only).
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2-teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8-cup Marsla sherry wine
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 large egg
2-cups ricotta cheese
Garnish: finely minced garlic and fresh Rosemary leaves
- Blend together the flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Work the flour and salt until blended, and with the machine on, add the butter on piece at a time. Add the sour cream or yogurt, and blend until the dough forms a ball, less than a minute.
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into an 11 to 12 inch wide circle about 1/ 8 inch thick. Fit into a 9 inch tart or pie pan, trimming the overhand to 1/2 inch over the sides. Fold the edges under and crimp the edge of the dough. Refrigerate while making the filling.
- Clean the leeks by slicing lengthwise and run under cool water to remove any grit. Pat dry, and slice the white portion into ½ inch sections, including about an inch of the green. The very top green is not as tender, reserve for soup stock.
- Melt the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent from burning, often until soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sugar, salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the leeks are golden brown and have a sticky texture, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the Marsala wine, thyme, and rosemary. Gently cook for another 5 minutes, turn off the heat.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375*. Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, beat together the egg with the ricotta. Transfer the mixture evenly into the pastry shell, spread evenly and distribute the caramelized leeks.
- Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 35 minutes to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh minced garlic and rosemary and let stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly before serving.