leek and gruyÈre flan

poireaux et gruyÈre flan

A great combination of leeks, eggs and sumptuous cheese; easy to make, and (potentially) a great vegetarian dish, too...a quiche by any other name!



Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese, named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland, and originated in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Berne. Before 2001, when Gruyère gained Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status as a Swiss cheese, some controversy existed whether French cheeses of a similar nature could also be labelled Gruyère (French Gruyère style cheeses include Comté and Beaufort, so if you want to be purist then substitute one of those).


Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavour that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy and complex. When fully aged (which can take up to a year) it tends to have small cracks which impart a slightly grainy texture. It is traditionally used in French onion soup, and Croque-monsieur, but in a quiche such as this it introduces a savouriness without dominating the other ingredients.



Prep: 20 minutes

Cooking: 1 hour

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

·         500 gm shortcrust pastry (shop bought; or use our Pate Brisée recipe)

·         400 gm leeks (trimmed weight)

·         25 gm butter

·         300 gm crème fraiche

·         2 tbsp milk

·         3 large eggs

·         125 gm Gruyère cheese, grated



Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas 6)

1.       Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to about 3mm thickness, and use it to line a 23cm flan case, ensuring that the lining comes up above the top of the case (do not trim it)

2.      Line with foil and then rice, pasta or ceramic beans, and bake blind for 10 minutes

3.      Remove the foil and its contents, and bake for a further 4 minutes

Reduce the temperature to 180°C (Gas 4)

4.      Meanwhile, cut the leeks into ½cm slices

5.      Melt the butter in a pan, add the leeks and stir to coat

6.      Cover and cook over a low heat for 8 minutes

7.      Uncover and cook for a further 4-5 minutes

8.      Lightly beat the crème fraiche, milk and eggs. Stir in the leeks and most of the cheese, and season well

9.      Pour into the flan case

10.   Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and bake for 25 minutes, or until set.