Collard Green and Leek Tart

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A group of my friends and I began a Sunday brunch tradition this spring.  Ashley, the one who I call Martha after Martha Stewart, often plans out an elaborate table scape where everything has to match.  Julie generally brings fruit salad comprised from her weekly produce box.  The boys usually bring coffee or a random ingredient hoping they can throw it in some eggs.  I’m somewhere in between, switching off between making something simple or crafting something elaborate.

Ashley "Martha"
Ashley, “Martha Stewart”
David, who looks freakishly like Statue of David in Florence, Italy
David, who looks freakishly like Statue of David in Florence, Italy
Julie, lover of yoga and alternative flours
Julie, lover of yoga and alternative flours

For the last brunch, it was my turn to host and I decided to make a version of a tart I saw on Smitten Kitchen that was originally adapted from Bon Appetit.  As “Martha” would say, it wouldn’t be a Dakota Mackey recipe if I followed it exactly.  This rang true because I completely flipped it on its head to suit my budget and abundance of random veggies from my own produce box.

Instead of making it with chard and leeks, I used a bunch of collard greens and a single leek.  I didn’t feel like wasting a bunch of egg whites, so I just used the whole egg.  I wonder how this might have changed the texture because it turned out delicious.  The puff pastry inflated as promised, making for scrumptious layers of buttery crust.  The egg itself was light, infused with local, seasonal veggies.  The thyme, which I snagged from my window herb garden, added a punch of bright flavor.  Dandelion Organic would be proud.

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Slightly burnt crust, but otherwise humble, savory and exactly what I want to eat before 1 pm.

Here is the original recipe from Bon Appetite, October 1999 with my own notes. Makes 1 tart:

  • 1 frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large leeks white and light green parts only (I used only 1 leek)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used fresh)
  • 1/2 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped (I did the same with a whole bunch of collard greens)
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream (Deb from Smitten Kitchen used whole milk)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks (I just threw in the entire extra 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I always add more pepper)
  • Pinch ground nutmeg

Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a floured work surface, then transfer to a 9-inch diameter pie dish (Bon Appetite says use a glass one.)

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Trim the overhang to 1-inch, fold them under, crimp the edges and chill.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook until the leeks are very tender, but not brown.  (It recommends covering them with a lid while cooking.)  This should take about 10 minutes.  Then add the chard and cook until it is wilted, about 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

Position oven rack in bottom third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees (I thought this was a tad too high because my crust burnt before the filling was cooked, so maybe try 400 degrees).  Whisk cream and the next 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Mix in the cooled leek mixture.  Pour the filling into the crust.

Bake the tart for about 10 minutes, checking to make sure the crust doesnt burn.  Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes until the filling is puffed and set in the middle.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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