Little leek & taleggio tarts

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I’ve not made anything with shortcrust pastry for a while and thought it was right about time to get the rolling pin out again a whip up a few tarts (keep it clean)! I went to the local shop without much idea of what I was going to shove in these tarts and noticed that it has started stocking a rather fine looking taleggio cheese, amongst others. I was, as you can imagine, very excited about this since the most exotic cheese I used to be able to find in there was mature cheddar. So I bought the taleggio and can confirm is as delicious straight from the pack as it is melted into tart fillings (but must be used up quickly as I find it tends to go bad pretty quickly – this probably means more taleggio recipes to come in the next few days).

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Making the tarts was pretty easy but I must warm this makes a short pastry – a good thing to taste, a more difficult thing to manage. I ended up having to repair many cracks with additional pastry bits, and really pushed the dough into the tins, praying I’d greased them enough (luckily I had). Patching up pastry always makes me nervous, but I know that the best-tasting pies and tarts often like to scare you like this in the beginning. The little tarts turned out brilliantly. They slipped out of their cases with ease and were nice and buttery to taste. Serve one tart for a starter/light lunch, or two for dinner – a simple rocket salad accompaniment will do just fine.

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The recipe below requires 4 mini (individual) loose-bottomed tart cases, a rolling pin, greaseproof paper and baking beans.

You will need:

60g + 1 knob of butter, plus extra to grease
120g plain flour, plus extra to dust
1 small-medium leek, sliced thinly
80g cubed taleggio cheese
1 tspn herbes des provinces
2 medium eggs
1 tbspn olive oil
Salt, pepper

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Method:

1 – Start by sifting the flour with about a tspn of salt into a bowl. Cube 60g of cold butter and tip it in with the flour. Use a knife to cut the butter up, coating it in flour, then use your hands to rub the butter and flour together into fine crumbs.
2 – Gradually add up to 1.5 tbspn water as you bring the crumbs together using your hands to form a dough ball. Only use all the water if you need to. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20mins.
3 – Meanwhile preheat your oven to 170 degrees and start making the filling. Heat a frying pan and add the olive oil and knob of butter. Add the leeks and cook over a medium heat until soft. Allow to cool. Get the dough out of the fridge and allow to warm up a little for 10 minutes – this will make rolling easier.
4 – Now you can grease your tart cases with butter (be generous!) and roll out the dough as much as you can, using additional flour to dust your surface and rolling pin. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll out. It’s a very short, crumbly pastry so don’t be afraid of patching up your cases! Use your fingers to patch up the pastry and push it into the creases of the well-greased tart cases.
5 – Line the filled pastry cases with greaseproof paper and add baking beans to each. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the beans and return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the bases are cooked.
6 – Meanwhile beat together the eggs with some seasoning and herbes des province, then add the cooled leeks and cubed taleggio.
7 – When the pastry cases are ready, divide the egg/leek mix between them and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before tipping out and serving.

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