Smoked haddock and leeks is a classic combination, but when baked together in a creamy sauce and buttery pastry it makes a wonderful dinner party starter or light lunch.
Hands on time 30 minutes
Oven time 40-45 minutes, plus chilling
2 leeks, sliced
Glug dry white wine
100ml fresh chicken or veg stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 medium free range eggs, beaten
100g half fat creme fraiche
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
50g strong cheddar, grated
200g smoked haddock, skinned and cut into even 2cm chunks
For the Pastry:
200g plain flour, plus extra to dust
Large pinch of cayenne pepper, plus a little extra to dust
100g butter, cut into cubes
1 free range egg yolk, beaten
4.5 tablespoons cold water
You’ll also need … 4 x 10cm loose bottomed fluted tart tins
Make the pastry by whizzing the flour, cayenne, butter and some salt and pepper in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor, mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl, rubbing the butter with your fingers). Add the egg yolk and gradually pulse / mix in the cold water until the dough just starts to come together (you may not need it all). Tip out onto cling film. Chill for 30 minutes.
Melt the 30g butter in a deep frying pan and gently cook the leeks, white wine, stock and thyme for 15-20 minutes until the leeks are tender and the liquid has reduced. Discard the thyme sprigs and set the pan aside.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C / 180 degrees C fan / gas mark 6.
Divide the chilled pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll out on a lightly floured work surface. Line each tart case with pastry, pressing into the edges / flutes, then trim and prick the bases all over with a fork. Line with non stick baking paper and fill with baking beans and chill for 10-15 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and bake for 5-10 minutes until the pastry feels sandy.
Turn the oven down to 170 degrees C / 150 degrees C fan / gas mark 3.5.
Mix the eggs with the creme fraiche, chives, cheddar and seasoning in a small bowl. Divide the leeks and smoked haddock evenly among the tart cases and place on a baking tray. Divide the egg mixture equally among the tarts and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and set.
Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper and serve with a green salad.