A classic French dish from Picardy which i found in Claire Thomson’s latest book ” Home Cookery Year”. She makes it with a bread dough base rather than the traditional pastry crust and it works well.
- 250 g strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting
- 5 g salt
- 5 g yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g leeks white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
- 10 g butter
- 2 free range eggs
- 150 g crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 whole nutmeg freshly grated
- 4 or 5 small new potatoes washed and very thinly sliced ( use a mandoline if you have one)
- 15 g parmesan finely grated
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- In a large jug, mix the yeast with 175ml warm water. Leave for at least five minutes for the yeast to froth a little. Add the yeast and water to the flour and mix vigorously with a metal spoon until the dough comes together. Alternatively, use a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Mix or knead well to form a smooth, cohesive dough – this should take at least 5-6 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the mixer, if using, and fold the dough in on itself a few times using lightly oiled hands. Wipe out the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic, with a good sheen to it. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Prove in a warm place until doubled in size, about two hours.
- Meanwhile, sweat the leeks in a pan with the butter over a moderate heat to soften, about eight minutes. Do not let them colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7 and line a 40 x 30cm rimmed baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the crème fraîche or sour cream, thyme leaves, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooled leeks.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out to fit the tray. It should be about 5mm thick.Make a small lip around the edge of the dough, or push it right out and up to the very edge of the tray.
- Add the leek mixture, distributing it evenly. Lay the potato slices on top and finally scatter over the Parmesan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is nicely coloured and the base is crisp. Remove from the oven, cut into squares and serve.
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