Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leek and Swiss Chard Tart (or is it quiche?)

I was telling a friend the other day that I made a quiche for dinner. She said, "Oh, I don't like the amount of cheese and cream they usually put in those." I smiled. "Mine has no cheese and no cream, and A. didn't even notice." Okay, so there is a bit of good butter and quite a few eggs, but it's very hearty and satisfying and packed to the brim with veggies, so that in one slice, you get everything you could possibly want for dinner. And even better, this tart is TASTIER on the second day (if it lasts that long, which it probably won't).

Now, I will ask you for a favor. Do not -- please, do not -- buy a frozen crust at the store. Seriously, with a tiny bit of foresight, you can make your own in no time and it's LEAPS AND BOUNDS better. I mean, I can't even describe it. The tender, flaky, buttery crust is like an essential part of the whole zen experience of eating this tart, and after you've had a bite, you'll never look at Pillsbury ever again. Sorry, Pillsbury, you are very cute, and your crescent rolls had me at hello, but we have to go our separate ways now. It's not you, it's me.

Leek and Swiss Chard Tart

For the crust:
(recipe from the Tartine cookbook)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 T very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup iced water
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
5 eggs
1 cup milk (I even used low-fat *shock* *horror*)
2 large leeks or 3 small ones (white and light green parts only)
1/2 bunch of Swiss Chard, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

The night before - make the crust. When making a flaky crust, remember that cold is your best friend. Chill everything whenever possible. In a small cup, mix salt and water, put in the refrigerator until ready to use. Put the flour in a large bowl and scatter pieces of butter on top of it. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour quickly until the biggest pieces are no larger than a pea. Put the whole thing in the freezer for 5 min. Slowly, add the salt water mixture, mixing with a fork just until the dough comes together. Turn it out onto a flowered work surface and pinch the dough together. You should still see pieces of butter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Take out the dough and let it sit on the counter for 5 min or so, or until it's pliable. Butter or spray your tart/quiche/pie pan. Roll out the dough to a desired size and place in the pan. Do not stretch dough, but press it gently into place. Trim the edges to be even with the edge of the pan. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F. Put a buttered piece of foil (shiny side down) into the tart pan and bake for 20 minutes. Take out the foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and fully baked. After the crust is done, cool on the counter.

While the crust is cooling, wash and slice the leeks thinly. Saute on low-medium heat until the leeks are tender and soft, but not brown. Chop the Swiss Chard and throw into the pan with the leeks for a few minutes until wilted and soft. Spread this mixture inside the tart shell.

Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables. Bake on 375F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325F and bake until the filling is set, about another 30 minutes. This tart is best served slightly warm or at room temperature, so let it cool a bit before you dig in!


La Cuisine d'Helene said...

No cheese or cream in a quiche? That's rare. Looks good.

Eileen said...

This looks delicious. Savory tarts have always been one of my favorite meals... along with a good salad and a glass of wine. Perfect! (And making your own crust avoids the hydrogenated oils found in processed crusts!)

Shari said...

Looks pretty and delicious!

Cakespy said...

Torte, tarte, quiche, ragamuffin--who cares, it looks delicious enough to defy any labels!! I adore leeks. My husband does not adore leek breath but he needs to deal! :-)

Vera said...

It looks so good! Makes me hungry :)

Jesse said...

This sounds fantastic! I'm so with you on making the crust. It's so much richer!

LRH said...

What size tart pan do you use? Is extra deep, or a 10 incher perhaps?

Irene said...

For this one, I used a regular 9" cake pan :) But I generally use a normal 11" tart pan.