Tuesday, April 26

Creamy Leek and Potato Tart

My Week 2 video is done and posted for the Real Women of Philadelphia cooking competition. Remember how I said this should get easier with practice? I think I need more practice!

Poor, beleaguered Jim. He had to edit over 40 minutes of raw footage--boy can I talk about food!--down to just 10. But we're having fun. I'm enjoying brainstorming and creating new recipes and Jim's enjoying his other role as "test stomach".

I must say I'm pleased with my recipe this week. It's a savoury tart that's not too crust-heavy, with a layer of creamy leeks under sliced potato. As I say in my video, it would be great with dinner, lunch or brunch. And I think it'll even make it into my breakfast rotation now!

Creamy Leek and Potato Tart

This versatile tart works well with all sorts of flavours and seasons. Change up the herbs and aromatics you use to suit the main course you're serving. Dill would be great with salmon, tarragon and garlic with chicken, rosemary and orange zest with pork... I could go on and this is making me hungry! You get the idea.
  • 4-5 medium waxy potatoes
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup light cream or half and half
  • 4 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese, light or regular
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 3 tbsp fresh herbs, such as thyme and parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb (1 sheet) puff pastry, thawed in fridge
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbls water to make egg wash
  • lemon zest
  • parmesan
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Scrub potatoes. Cover with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until just tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. While potatoes cook, prepare leeks.

Trim root and dark green ends from leeks. Slice in half lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1/4" half moons. Rinse well in a large bowl of water to remove grit. Drain.

Heat a large pan over medium heat . Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sliced leeks. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in cream, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, lemon juice, half the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry into 10"x15" rectangle. Transfer to parchment paper for easier maneuvering. Cut 1/2" strip off each side of pastry. Brush edges of rectangle with egg wash. Place pastry strips, cut sides facing out, onto edges to form a border. Cut off overhanging corners. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pastry, staying inside the borders. Slice the potatoes into thin rounds and lay over top of the filling in slightly overlapping rows. Brush potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining herbs plus a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Brush the top of the pastry border with egg wash.

Bake until pastry border is puffed and brown. Lift the tart and peek underneath. The bottom of the crust should be golden. Grate lemon zest and parmesan cheese over top and sprinkle with more fresh herbs if desired. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve alongside roasted salmon fillet and a simple salad of baby greens in a bright, lemony dressing. Or use as a base for poached eggs napped with hollandaise with steamed asparagus on the side.

Make Ahead

Up to two days ahead:
 Boil the potatoes but don't slice until ready to assemble; make the cream cheese leek mixture. Cover separately and refrigerate. Soften cream cheese mixture at room temperature before spreading.

Up to one day ahead: Prepare the puff pastry crust and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap.

Up to four hours before baking: Assemble tart and refrigerate, loosely covered, until ready to bake. Assembled tart can go straight from fridge to oven.

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