It is actually a tart but for three generations we have called it leek pie. It can be prepared in stages and eaten hot, warm or cold. What is not to like about leeks in a cheese sauce on a bed of crispy pastry? Serve as it is or with a green or tomato salad. You can cook the pastry, cook the leeks and make the sauce anytime in advance. When ready reheat the sauce and stir in the leeks then spoon into the pastry tart. You can garnish it with chopped up bacon if you like. For baking I use a tin 34cms x 20cms but the choice is yours.
Preparation time up to 30 minutes.
Cooking time 20 – 30 minutes
One block of shortcrust pastry, rolled out to the thickness of a £1 coin
3 or 4 medium/ large leeks, trimmed, washed and cut in half then sliced
50g plain flour
100g to 150g cheddar cheese, grated
English mustard, a pinch if powdered or wholegrain mustard to taste
For the topping
2 tablespoons fresh white bread crumbs
25g cheddar cheese, grated or sliced
Slices if cheese and sliced tomatoes
Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6/180C fan oven.
Blind bake the pastry. See below for instruction
Place the leeks in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes until just tender. Drain and put under cold water immediately to refresh and stop the cooking process.
Make the sauce Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in one-third of the milk. Repeat this process, stirring all the time, allowing the sauce to become thick and shiny before adding more milk. When all the milk is added bring to the boil. Add the grated cheese and the mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the leeks.
Spoon into the pastry case. Top with the breadcrumbs and cheese (and bacon if using) or slices of cheese and halved cherry tomatoes or sliced larger ones.
Bake in oven for 20 – 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for ten minutes before serving.
Roll out pastry about 4cms/1.5 inches wider than the tin you are using and use the rolling pin to lift it and help position it over the tin. Leave an overhang of pastry around the sides of the tin. Prick the base all over with a fork.
Heat the oven to 200ºc/180c fan/gas mark 6. Line the tart tin with baking parchment and fill with ceramic beans or red pulses. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm, then remove the beans and cook for about 5 more minutes more until golden brown and biscuity.. Trim off any excess using a small knife before filling.