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Kate Hill's Recipe - Leek and Mushroom Pie - 25 August

Tourte aux Poireaux et Champignons  (Leek and Mushroom Pie)

Makes a 2-layer 10-inch (25 cm) tart crust

A tourte is a savoury crusty pie, usually no thicker than an inch, with a thin, rich crust on the bottom and a thinner, richer crust on the top. This classic combination of leeks, mushrooms, and cream sandwiched between flaky bites of buttery pastry was taught to me by my "kitchen godmother," Vetou Pompele, and is a Julia Hoyt favourite. Think of this tourte as a book of thin pages; layers of subtle flavours unfolding between covers of golden crust!

455g leeks
225g mushrooms, brushed clean and stems removed
savoury short crust pastry
1 egg
180 ml creme fraiche
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 220degC.
  2. Wash and trim the leeks and keep just the white parts. (Save the greens to flavour a soup.) Slice the leeks very thin and wash again in copious amounts of water until they are free of all grit.
  3. Drain the leek slices briefly and, while they are still wet, put them in a dry, heavy saute pan over medium heat. Stir gently as the leeks cook in their own water, about 5 minutes, until they are half cooked.
  4. Slice the mushroom caps very thinly.
  5. Place the pastry bottom in the tart pan and prick the bottom all over with a fork. Beat the egg in a bowl and use some of it to brush the bottom pastry before filling. This helps keep the juices from soaking into the crust.
  6. Place the leeks in a layer across the pan. Top with a layer of mushrooms and then spoon crème fraîche evenly over the filling. Salt and pepper generously and dust with nutmeg.
  7. Place the thinner pastry layer on top and seal the edges with the bottom layer by gently pinching the dough. Brush the remaining beaten egg over the edges and surface of the tourte.
  8. Bake about 30 minutes, until golden brown and steaming hot. Serve hot between courses or let cool to room temperature and serve with aperitifs.

Pate Brisee Salee (Savoury Short Crust)

Makes a 2-layer 10-inch (25 cm) tart crust

285g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
115g sweet butter
120 ml water

  1. Place the flour and salt in a bowl and add the butter, broken up into small bits.
  2. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until crumbly and even in texture, or use a food processor or hand tool. Stir in water and mix quickly and lightly until the dough holds together. Do not overwork the dough. Pat into a ball and let rest while you are preparing the filling.
  3. Divide the dough, rolling two-thirds of the dough for the bottom crust and the remaining third thinner for the top crust. Work the dough gently and with sufficient flour to handle. The top crust should be very fine.