Today gave us a perfect, bright winter afternoon – clear and crisp and full of light.
This morning, however, was an entirely different day.
A morning for staying in bed, surrounded by a comforting white fort of duvet and cushions, bedroom curtains open to reveal the grey, rain-drenched world outside, a hot cup of tea steaming on the bedside table and a great novel to while away the hours.
A morning for enjoying all those comforts of winter I hold dear, including those tastiest of morsels borne by my oven.
This lovely savoury tart, though rich and warming in nature, is deceptively light with its crisp, airy layers of golden flaky pastry.
I used goat’s feta, as its distinct acid tang marries so well with the sweet leeks but you could of course use cow’s feta in its place.
leek & feta tart
4 leeks, leaves removed, white and pale green stems reserved
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
1 tsp castor sugar
pinch white pepper
300ml pouring cream
100g goat’s feta (or cow’s feta, if preferred)
6 sheets filo pastry
⅓ cup olive oil, for brushing
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Ensure the leeks are rinsed well to remove any dirt or grit, then halve and thinly slice.
Heat a hearty glug of olive oil in a medium saucepan on low.
Fry the garlic for a couple of minutes until fragrant, then add the leek slices and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until beginning to soften.
Add the sugar and a pinch of white pepper, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, stir well and taste to see if the leeks need any seasoning adjustment. Be careful not to over-salt, as the feta will provide the bulk of salt to the dish.
Simmer for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, until most of the vegetable liquid has evaporated.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the filo pastry on a cool, dry surface.
Brush one sheet of filo gently with olive oil and place another sheet on top, continuing to layer the remaining pastry and olive oil.
Line a high-sided tart pan with the filo layers, pushing snugly into the pan grooves and trimming the pastry as needed.
Lightly whisk the eggs and cream together and add to the cooled leeks. Crumble in the goat’s feta and whisk thoroughly to combine all the ingredients.
Pour into the filo pastry case and bake for 30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden and the centre cooked but still with a distinct wobble.
Serve hot or cold with a side of greens.