I’ve always been firmly of the opinion that the secret to good pastry is lard. I know it’s an unfashionable thing to think these days, but it’s true. This recipe has been staring at me from the good granny cookbook every time I make toad in the hole, I’m not sure why it’s taken me over a year to give it a try.
First you need to make the pastry, which is nothing to be scared of. You will need 225g plain flour, 55g butter and 55g lard. Roughly cut the butter and lard into cubes and rub it in to the flour with your finger tips. Add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir it with a knife after each spoonful. When it clumps together squash it into a bowl, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.
To make the filling you will need: 30g butter, 650g leeks (thinly sliced across), 85g smoked bacon, 90g Gruyere cheese (grated), 4 egg yolks 280ml single cream and salt & pepper to season.
When end the pastry has stiffened up take it out the fridge, roll it out and line your trusty 9″ tart tin; make sure you prick the bottom with a fork. Turn the oven on to 190c and heat the butter in a frying pan. Once it’s melted gently cook the leeks for about 5 minutes until they’re soft but not brown. Spread them over the pastry case.
Cut the bacon into strips and fry for 5 minutes, grate the Gruyere while you wait. I bought quite thick bacon for this, but I wish I’d bought much thicker bacon or gammon – next time!
Spread the bacon over the leeks and sprinkle the cheese on top. In a jug whisk together the cream and egg yolks, season with salt and pepper and pour over the tart mix. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set.
I had this hot and cold, and it was delicious both times; but I think cold from the fridge was my favourite – ideal for a quick dinner after work! As I said I’d probably use thicker bacon/gammon next time but I’d definitely have it again with the normal bacon if that’s all I had in. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good quiche, but this was somehow better.
Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)