Tuesday, April 6, 2010

easter and the best goat cheese and leek tart

Easter has a soft spot in my heart. With Easter comes many of my favorite things: discounted candy, deviled eggs, spring, baby animals. Unfortunately Easter has also often meant uncomfortable dresses, awkward brunches, and an extra long mass. But, ah the beauty of growing up and creating one's own Easter, free of puffy dresses and religious obligations. My first Easter sans the family, was magnificent (although I would have love to try my mother's curried deviled eggs with mango chutney.....). Eggs galore, mimosas flowing, my Chicago "family" of friends, the most perfect sunny Chicago afternoon, and a really good leek tart. 
This might sound heretical to some, but I think leeks might be the new Easter ham.  The proudly display many of Spring's best qualities: freshly sprung with the ground, bursting with flavor, providing hope to the winter-weary. OK, maybe not hope, but deep eggy satisfaction for sure. 
This tart is really good. A light crust, rich egg center, delicate leek flavor, and  decadent goat cheese. Just the kind of dish you want to serve to your impromptu family on Easter. Say a prayer first and all of your church truancy shall be absolved. 
So for your next brunch or family gathering, make this. It is best eaten on a porch while you get the first sunburn of the year. 

Goat Cheese and Leek Tart
simplified from Bon Appetit and Molly Wizenburg

-4 Tbs ice water (or more)
-3/4 tsp vinegar
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-3/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

-1/2 cup whole milk
-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
-1 1/2 cups leek confit*

Combine ice water and vinegar in a bowl. Blend flour and salt in a bowl (use a food processor for this is you have one, I used my hands). Add butter and combine until mixture resembles course meal. Add water in small increments, until mixture forms moist clumps. Add more water by the teaspoon if dough seems dry. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate two hours or up to 3 days. 

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Roll dough out and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy. 

While pie crust cools, prepare filling. Whisk milk, cream, egg, egg yolk, and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Sprinkle half of goat cheese on bottom of pie crust, top with leek confit, and spread remaining goat cheese on top. Pour milk mixture over. Bake until center looks set, filling is slightly puffy, and the top is lightly golden, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, and serve. Enjoy!

*Leek Confit: sounds hard, super easy

Trim 3 large leeks to only the white and pale green parts. Chop into 1/4 inch slices. Saute on low with half a stick of butter (1/4 cup) and a 1/2 tsp of salt until very tender. 

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