Cheddar and leek tarts


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When I make a cheese tart, I want it to taste cheesy. I’m not interested in a flabby, savoury egg custard, I want proper depth of flavour, which is why I reached for the extra mature cheddar. Concentrated and tangy with a touch of sweetness, this cheese is just the ticket. And, because it’s extra mature, you need less of it to get the piquant savoury intensity that is characteristic of a decent cheddar.

Although I was after a good flavour punch from the cheese, I also wanted to keep things simple. This recipe lets the flavours speak for themselves. Aside from a scant scattering of flat leaf parsley, this tart is all about making the Cheddar and leeks the stars of the show. I used shop bought puff pastry for speed, but the pastry from my cheesy broad bean and bacon quiche would be a delicious alternative for gluten-dodgers, or for those who want an even more intense cheese flavour.

Crisp, buttery pastry filled with rich and creamy leeks and boosted with the addition of extra mature cheddar: these tarts might not have the diet police in raptures, but that just means there’ll be more for you and I.




To begin, cook the leeks in the butter until soft, but not coloured. Season and set aside to cool, preheat the oven to 165°C/gas mark 4
Whisk together the eggs, cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in the cooled leeks and grated cheese, reserving enough to sprinkle over the top of each of the tarts before baking
Roll the pastry out until it is the thickness of a £1 coin. Line each tart tin with the pastry and prick the base of each pastry case with a fork
Divide the mixture between the tart cases and top each tart with a little cheese and grind over a little extra black pepper. Pop the tarts on a baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and the tarts are golden
Leave to cool slightly before taking the tarts out of the tins and serving. These tarts are delicious warm, but are also wonderful cold
Cheddar and leek tart
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