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.
FOR THE PASTRY:
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
FOR THE FILLING:
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
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