Having spent an extended period of time in beautiful Picardy as a young person, I have wonderful memories of the excellent local food. An absolute classic of Picard cuisine is flamiche, a leek pie, which serves as a showcase example of how tasty food does not require fancy ingredients. In its most basic form, it is made even without the cheese – but if you like to give an additional aroma-kick, add some local Maroilles cheese to lift it up a nudge.
As an alternative to the short crust used by the recipe below, you can also use puff pastry (which can be bought ready-for-use) – the two types of pastry are really very much interchangeable in French cooking and baking, although this does not mean that there may not be heated discussions about which is the more authentic. I would say that ultimately, it simply comes down to a question of personal preference.
The recipe below is for a small (Ø 22 cm) tart pan. For a standard size (Ø 28 cm) pan, use 1.5 times the ingredients. You can also find a few more tips on how to prepare the crust here: Baking Basics: Pâte Brisée – Basic French Tart and Quiche Crust.
For the crust:
- 200 grams of plain flour
- 100 grams of butter
- 1 tip of a knife of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- a few tablespoons of water
For the filling:
- 1 large leek or 2 small ones, diced
- 25 grams of butter
- 150 grams of crème fraîche
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Freshly ground pepper, salt
- 100 grams of Maroilles (alternatively Livarot or Port-Salut), cut into small cubes
- For the egg wash: 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of water
- Start by preparing the crust by passing the flour through a fine mesh onto the clean kitchen counter or a baking mat. Cut the cold butter into small pieces into the flour. Rub the butter and the flour between your hands until you have a crumble.
- Form a depression in the center of your flour mix and add the salt and the egg yolk. Quickly start kneading the ingredients adding tablespoons of water one by one until the dough is smooth, but not sticky.
- Form a ball, wrap it into cellophane and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for approximately 15 to 30 minutes (best overnight).
- In the meantime, prepare the filling. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the leek and boil for 5 minutes. Strain and let drip off well.
- Transfer back into the pot with the butter and cook over low to medium heat for 5 minutes while constantly stirring. The leek should not gain color, reduce the temperature if necessary.
- After cooking, refrigerate the leek for at least 30 minutes until fully cooled down to fridge temperature.
- Meanwhile, mix the crème fraîche with the egg and the egg yolk and season with salt and pepper. Keep in the fridge until used.
- Further, butter a quiche/tart pan with removable bottom.
- Roll out 2/3 of the dough (set aside the remaining 1/3) into a round shape large enough to cover the tart/quiche pan and the sides. Lower into the baking pan and cut off extra bits hanging over the side.
- Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork all over. Transfer to the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Roll out the remain 1/3 of the dough into a round shape large enough to cover the top of the pie.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- To bring everything together, fold the leek and the cheese into the crème fraîche and egg mix. Pour the filling over the bottom of the crust and spread evenly. Top with the pastry disk and press the edges together. Make a small incision in the middle of the top crust to allow any steam to evaporate during the baking process.
- For the egg wash, whisk the egg yolk and the water and brush the top of the pie generously with the mixture.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 40 to 50 minutes. Check occasionally, should the pie brown too quickly, reduce the temperature. Take out once the top is nicely golden-brown and well cooked through.
- Serve hot/warm and with a crisp salad on the side. – Enjoy!