Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Some ingredients, when cooked together, simply bring out the best in each other. As is the case with this Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart. Also, the leek’s subtle onion flavour is enhanced by the crumbled Stilton cheese, in an egg and cream custard base. The nutty pastry crust provides the perfect crunchy texture and flavour. A delightful balance, that is a treat to our tastebuds.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a delicious combination of flavours.

While the chopped walnuts give the pastry a rustic, wholemeal look, it is, in fact light and crumbly. Adding additional flavour to the finished bake. Likewise, the crumbled Stilton cheese mellows on baking. Providing a salty contrast to the mild egg custard. Surprisingly, the mild onion flavour of the leeks doesn’t get lost in this tart. Rather, it brings everything together and sings on the tastebuds, above the other flavours.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a feast for the eyes.

Slices of leek are sautéed gently, before placing in the tart. This not only ensures they are soft in the baked tart, but also concentrates the flavour. While baking, the rings separate and rise up through the tart. Also ensuring that each bite has tasty fresh, green leek in it.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart crunchy and creamy.

This tart is perfect for a light lunch, with salad, or as a main meal with a hot, buttered jacket potato. Also, it makes perfect picnic or buffet food, as it can be served at room temperature. The added nutmeg is barely noticeable, yet enhances all of the tart’s flavours. Leave it out and the finished bake tastes as though it is missing something. I encourage you to include it, freshly grated, if possible!

Recipe: Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart serves 4-6

For the pastry

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Walnuts – finely chopped

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1/8tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

125g/4.5oz Cold Unsalted Butter

60mls Cold Tap Water

For the filling

100g/4oz Stilton Cheese

1 Large Leek

4 Large Free Range Eggs – plus 1 extra for the egg wash

3tbsp Double Cream

1/4tsp Nutmeg

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

A loose bottom tart tin that is approximately 25cm wide x 5cm deep or 10″ x 2″ is needed for this recipe.

Making Walnut Pastry Crust

  • First of all, in a large bowl add the flour, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and diced, cold butter. Then using your hands, or a pastry cutter, rub/cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs with pea sized chunks of butter present.
  • Now make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the cold tap water 10mls at a time. Using your hand, fingers bent and shaped like a claw, mix the dough after each addition. Work quickly to avoid the dough warming up and becoming oily. You may not need the full amount of water specified. Stop adding water once the dough comes together to form a rough ball. Set the bowl to one side.
  • Wipe the worktop with a clean, damp cloth. Then place the cling film (approximately the size of a large baking sheet) directly on to the damp surface. It will ‘stick’ and not move around.
  • Finally, tip the walnut pastry dough on to the cling film. Knead the dough lightly into a disc shape. Avoid working the pastry for too long as this will result in a hard, tough, crust.
  • Wrap the pastry disc in the cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until it is chilled. Making pastry the night before use allows it to chill thoroughly before rolling out.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

    Making the Walnut Pastry Crust.
  • 10 minutes before rolling out the pastry, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • If you wish, lightly butter your tart tin, I never do. Place the tart tin on to a baking tray and put to one side.
  • Place the chilled pastry on to a clean worktop and roll out evenly, until it is a slightly larger circle than the combined width and depth of the tin. Approximately 30cm/11″ in width.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart tin. Allow the pastry to settle into the tin. DO NOT stretch it as it will only shrink while baking.
  • Ensure the tin is fully lined and then trim away any excess pastry.
  • Dock the base of the pastry tart with a fork and then line with baking parchment. Fill the lined tart with baking beans, or ceramic balls and place into the top of the oven.
  • Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out the baking parchment and beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Filling and Baking the Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the Leek and Stilton filling.
  • While the pastry is baking, prepare the leek. Strip the outer 2 layers, cut off the root end and top, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Cut the leek into whole rings, approximately 1cm deep and the gently sauté in a dry pan over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the oven when baked.
  • Carefully transfer the whole leek rings to the tart shell. Add any odd pieces of leek around the whole rings in the tart.
  • Cut the rind away from the Stilton. Now, using a fork, break up the Stilton, on a board, into crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the leek  in the tart shell.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the egg custard and decorating the tart.
  • Crack 4 eggs into a large jug. Add the double cream, nutmeg and pepper. Whisk together using a fork, until the mixture is uniform.
  • Pour the egg custard carefully into the pastry tart.
  • Carefully, as the tart is still warm, run a piece of butter around the top perimeter of the tin. This will stop any pastry decorations sticking.
  • Gather together the pastry offcuts. Roll to the thickness of a one pound coin.
  • Use a 1 inch/2.5cm approx. cutter to cut out about 25-30 circles. These will be placed around the edge of the tart.
  • Break an egg into a small bowl, add 1tsp of cream or milk and whisk together. This is the egg wash.
  • Take the first cutout and with a pastry brush, dipped in egg wash, brush both sides of the circle. Place the circle on to the edge of the tart. The centre of the circle should be in contact with the edge of the tart. Continue, using the same egg wash method and placing the 2nd circle so that just overlaps the first disc.
  • Keep going until the whole perimeter of the tart case is covered. I used 22 pastry discs. The number you need will depend on the size of your tart, how much the discs overlap and other variables.
  • Finally, when the decorations are in place, pour any leftover egg wash into the tart. As long as there is room.
  • Place the tart carefully into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The tart is baked when there is no wobble in the centre, the filling has set and the egg custard is golden.
  • When fully baked remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the loose bottom tart tin.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Golden Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

This tart is delicious served warm for lunch or dinner, Also is is very tasty eaten cold or at room temperature, making it ideal for summer picnics and buffets.

It will keep for up to 3 days, stored in a container or, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this recipe For Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart you may also like these:

Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts.

Quiche Lorraine

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Quiche Lorraine

Homemade quiche and tarts taste a million times better than most shop bought varieties available. Seasoning, ingredients and indeed the pastry can all be tailored to our own personal tastes. While I haven’t taken on the challenge of Filo Pastry yet, shortcrust is incredibly easy, see Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

Whether served with a jacket potato and salad for a substantial meal, or grabbing a slice to eat whilst on the go, tarts and quiches are easy to make. They are also very satisfying to eat.

Do you have a favourite flavour combination for quiches and tarts?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun.

Sammie xx

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Steak Leek and Ale Pie

Hi, I have the perfect dish for colder, wetter evenings, my Steak Leek and Ale Pie.

Homemade pie has to be at the top of my comfort food list. Long gone are the light, fresh salads of summer, now that Autumn is here, with it’s blustery gales I want proper, nourishing, hearty food.

I want, I need, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie!

Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious chunks of steak and leek cooked in a rich ale gravy, topped with homemade pastry - delicious. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious chunks of steak and leek cooked in a rich ale gravy, topped with homemade pastry – delicious. www.feastingisfun.com

Look at that golden crust. It is so inviting, willing you to cut in and discover the melting chunks of steak and leek beneath, sitting in a pool of thick, Ale gravy.

I know making pastry completely freaks some people out. The recipe for this pastry can be found here.

If you have a little time, maybe at the weekend, I really would encourage you to make your own pastry. It really isn’t as difficult as some believe and the rewards are very gratifying.

However, if you cannot bring yourself to make your own pastry, then good quality, shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry will also work very well.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie prefect comfort for cold dark evenings. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie prefect comfort for cold dark evenings. www.feastingisfun.com

Although I made this Steak Leek and Ale Pie for a mid-week meal, it will be replacing the occaisional roast on a Sunday too. It really is that good.

I have to mention the Leek Colcannon a fantastic dish of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage and sauteed leeks that I made to serve alongside this pie. Amazing!

If you are wondering why leeks feature in both dishes, November heralds the start of the British leek growing season. So keen to use seasonal produce, I came up with these two recipes for the British Leek Growers Association.

Recipe : Makes one Steak Leek and Ale Pie, serves 6

450g/1lb Shortcrust Pastry – to make your own you will need 350g/12oz Plain White Flour, 75g/3oz Butter and 75g/3oz Vegetable shortening – I use Trex

1kg/2lb Good Quality Beef Steak – I used rump, chuck or braising steak would work well

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Leeks

500ml/1 pint Light Ale

2 Bay Leaves

1 tsp Fresh Thyme – halve if using dried

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tbsp Tomato Puree

1/4 tsp Nutmeg – I always use freshly grated

1 Beef Stock Cube – or I used 1 Knorr beef stockpot

2 Tbsp Flour plus extra for rolling out pastry

Salt and Pepper to season

1 Medium Egg whisked with a little water for the egg wash

Method : Please read through before starting

If making your own pastry, make, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.

Cut the steak into good sized chunks - 1.5"
Cut the steak into good sized chunks – 1.5″

Mix the 2 Tbsp of flour with 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.
Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.

Place 2 Tbsp of butter into a large pan and melt over a high heat.

Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.
Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.
Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.
Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.

Prepare all 3 leeks by cutting off the tough, dark green tops and root. Starting at the top of the leek cut almost through and down two thirds. Wash the leeks under cold, running water to remove any dirt trapped between the leaves. Shake off any excess water.

Tip : I wash the leeks and leave them to drain upside down, before prepping other meat or vegetables.

Take one large leek.
Take one large leek.
Finely dice the leek.
Finely dice the leek.
Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Strip the time from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Strip the Thyme from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.
Slice the other 2 leeks into 1" chunks and add to the pan.
Slice the other 2 leeks into 1″ chunks and add to the pan.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.

Bring everything up to a simmer and leave to cook on a medium/low heat, uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occaisionally.

At the end of the cooking time the beef should be meltingly tender and the ale gravy reduced by half. Check the sauce for seasoning. I found the salt and pepper added to the flour was sufficient, however, adjust if needed.

Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.
Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.
Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.
Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.

Brush the egg wash around the rim of the pie dish. This will enable the pastry to stick to the dish.

Roll out the pastry so that it is 1" wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.
Roll out the pastry so that it is 1″ wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.

To crimp I simply pinch between my forefinger and thumb all around the pastry edge. Make 3 slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.

Place the Steak Leek and Ale Pie on a baking sheet and place in a preheated (200C/180C fan) oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The pie is cooked when the pastry is golden brown and little bubbles of hot gravy or steam are bursting through the slits in the pie.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie beautifully golden, light pastry. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie beautifully golden, light pastry. www.feastingisfun.com

Once baked remove the pie from the oven and serve immediately.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious served with Leek Colcannon www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious served with Leek Colcannon www.feastingisfun.com

The leek in this pie lends a delicate onion flavour, which with the ale and steak, perfectly compliment each other. This Steak Leek and Ale Pie was thoroughly enjoyed by all in our house and my very good friend and chief taste tester – who lives 2 doors away!

It would make perfect sense to double the quantities and make 2 pies. An uncooked pie will freeze beautifully, just ensure it is absolutely cool before double wrapping in cling film and freezing for up to 2 months. Or maybe pass the second pie onto a busy family, new mum, or friends. The gift of a meal, even if there is no ‘special’ reason shows that you care.

I do hope you take the challenge to make your own pastry.

Have you ever received a surprise meal, or gift of food?

If you tried this pie pastry then you may also like these recipes –

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Quiche Lorraine

Please tell me about your pastry successes, or disasters, I love reading your comments.

Sammie x

Whilst I was provided with most of the ingredients for this recipe all content and opinions are my own. I did not receive payment for this post.

 

 

 

 

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