In one corner of the property, there’s a patch of ramps (otherwise known as wild leek), and one of our favorite springtime rituals is a ramp hunt. Though you probably don’t have a similar patch of ramps nearby, you can still enjoy the flavor of leeks with the domesticated version. Leeks–which look like scallions on steroids–have a mellow onion flavor that marries well with strongly flavored greens such as escarole.
- Basic pie dough (recipe follows)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices, well washed
- 1 small head escarole, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 large eggs
- 1 package (7.5 ounces) farmers’ cheese
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Pie Dough
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 4 tablespoons cold lard, cut into bits
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- Prep Time: 45m
- Cook Time: 1hr 30m
For the Tart
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 13-inch round. Fit the dough into a 10-inch tart pan with the removable bottom. Trim the excess dough and form a high border. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until they begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the escarole and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until both the leeks and escarole are tender, and any liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly; the transfer to the tart shell.
Place the tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, farmers’ cheese half-and-half, and salt. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 45 minutes; then increase the oven temperature to 425ºF and bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and set. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Swap in 2 cups of cooked vegetables (any combo) for the leeks and the escarole.
For the Pie Dough
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender, or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in the butter and the lard until pea-sized lumps remain. Gradually add the ice water until the dough begins to come together but doesn’t clean the sides of the bowl. Add just enough of the ice water so the mixture holds together when pinched between two fingers.
Alternatively, in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and lard and pulse 10 times or until large pea-size lumps are formed. With the motor running, gradually add the ice water until the dough begins to come together but doesn’t clean the sides of the bowl. Add just enough of the ice water so the mixture holds together when pinched between two fingers.
Shape into a disk, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days. (The dough may also be well wrapped and frozen up to 3 months.)
This recipe can be found in our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.