Spring Leek & Bacon Tarte by Chef Maria Sinskey

Spring Leek & Bacon Tarte by Chef Maria Sinskey
Recipe courtesy of Chef Maria Sinskey of Robert Sinskey Vineyards.


Pate Brisee Dough
Yield: One 12-inch tart

1. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise. Place the leek cut side down on a cutting board and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. You should have about 8 cups of sliced leeks. Reserve.

2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until it is golden and chewy crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan.

3. Add the sliced leeks to the pan and sauté over medium high heat until they are wilted and bright green, about 5 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper and add the chopped thyme. Reduce the heat to medium/ medium low and continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove the leeks from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool. The leeks and bacon can be prepared up to two days in advance. Mix them together and store well wrapped in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

5. In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the crème fraiche and the flour, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the leek-bacon mixture and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the crust.

6. Bake on the bottom rack in the preheated oven until the filling has set and the top and crust are golden, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool to warm before slicing into wedges.

Pate Brisee Dough

1. Combine the flour and the salt in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the butter to the flour and mix with a paddle or a pastry cutter until it is the size of small peas.

3. Add the water gradually and mix until the dough starts to come together. Add only enough water to bring the dough together. The dough should be moist but it will not be completely uniform and its texture will be slightly crumbly.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press it together gently to form a flat 1-inch thick patty and wrap it tightly with wax paper or plastic wrap. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling to firm up the butter and allow the dough to relax. The dough can be made ahead and frozen for up to three month well wrapped. Thaw in the refrigerator before rolling out.

To pre-bake a tart shell:
1. Remove the pate brisee from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 minutes before rolling. Roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick, using as little flour as possible, large enough to fit a 12-inch by 1-inch tart pan. Turn your tart pan over on top of the dough and use the edge as a measure to cut out a circle two inches larger than the pan all of the way around. Lift the dough and place it in the pan. Press it firmly into the corners and trim the edges. Chill the lined pan in the refrigerator until the dough is firm, about 40 minutes. The lined t art shell can be wrapped in plastic and chilled overnight in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 weeks.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Prick the dough well with a fork. Line the dough with a square of aluminum foil that has been cut larger than the diameter of the pan. Press it into the corners well. Fill the tart shell with dried beans or pie weights and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the beans using caution. They will be very hot. Carefully peel off the foil. Place the tart shell on a sheet pan to cool. Reserve at room temperature until ready to fill. The tart shell may be baked up to one day in advance and stored well wrapped at room temperature.