Merriment tart

Sweet leeks, punchy cheddar, thyme and nutmeg make this a really satisfying mouthful. This one is cooked in a tray making it easier to line and neat to cut into little squares for sharing.


300g of plain flour
a pinch of fine sea salt
4 springs of thyme, leaves picked and very finely chopped
150g of butter
150ml of ice cold water

a little butter
4 leeks, finely sliced
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
150g of punchy cheddar cheese
150g of cooked spinach
2 eggs, beaten
200ml milk

First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and add the chopped thyme. Cut the butter or veg shortening into small bits, then rub these into the dry ingredients until you have a breadcrumb like mix. Add the water and knead into a smooth dough, but don’t overwork it. Wrap the pastry cling film and chill while you get on with everything else.

Fry off the leeks in a bit of butter with the thyme and bay leaves until really sweet and soft – this will take about 15 minutes.

In the meantime grate your cheese.

Once the leeks are cooked remove the bay leaf and allow to cool.

Now back to the pastry. Line a 35cm x 18cm baking tray with baking paper and then roll out the cooled pastry into a rectangle just bigger than the baking tray. Roll the pastry onto your rolling pin and then off it over the tray, pushing the pastry carefully into each corner. Cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and carefully lift of the paper and rice/baking beans then return to the oven for a further 8 mins.

Next mix the sweet leeks in a bowl with the grated cheese, spinach, the eggs and the milk. Grate in ½ a nutmeg. Fill the pastry with the cheesy filling and top with the thyme tips.

Bake in the hot oven for 25 mins until golden. Eat with merriment.

Recipe originally published in Jamie Magazine.
Image: Jonathan Gregson

Posted: 21.10.15 5 Comments


Posted by Anne Wareham at 11:24 on the 08.12.15

I wonder how necessary the blind baking is? At one time we didn’t and we had good results but now it seems de rigueur.

Posted by Nichola at 6:35 on the 09.01.16

Anne- blind baking ensures you get a lovely crisp pastry base to your tart, which provides the essential contrast to the soft filling.
If you put filling into a raw pastry case you’ll end up with a soggy bottom (and no-one likes one a soggy bottom!!)

Posted by Pippa Sutcliffe at 11:25 on the 20.01.16

I think it depends on how crispy you want your base to be. The base is definitely dryer if you blind bake, particularly if your filling goes in quite wet, which this one would be.

Posted by Ruth at 6:52 on the 08.12.20

Could this be baked ahead, either Christmas Eve or frozen in advance & then reheated?.

Posted by Katherine Dyer at 8:43 on the 30.12.21

Can you use shop bought pastry to make your life as a new mama a bit easier?!

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