Recipe Source: Lennon, Biddy White and Georgina Campbell. Irish Food & Cooking. Anness Publishing, London, 2007 p. 110
St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us again. I wanted to make something Irish in honor of the day, but I didn't want to do the typical dishes Americans usually prepare for the day. Beef and stout stew? It's not my favorite, and it seems so stereotypical. Corned beef and cabbage? There just aren't enough Es in "eeuw" to convey my revulsion. Besides, my extensive research (watching reruns of Good Eats on the Food Network) has revealed that corned beef and cabbage is a New York thing, not a traditional dish in Ireland at all. (Those readers in Ireland can correct me on the authenticity of the dish; the taste is an individual matter.) So I went to my one resource for Irish food, and I found this. I'd been wanting to make it for a while. It had been on my calendar. It just kept getting pushed farther and farther back. So I decided to make it.
I didn't make a whole lot of changes to this recipe. I volunteered at the last minute to make a dish to serve 100 people at a potluck (more on that another day), and I was frankly too tired to be very creative with this! I did look at the spice quotient. "Mild" mustard? We don't even keep such a thing on hand. Horseradish mustard is good enough for everything else in my kitchen, it was good enough for this. A "pinch" of cayenne pepper? I don't even recognize that quantity. It got a quarter teaspoon. The result was a very tasty, very filling tart. They're listed as a first course or appetizer, but this was our main meal and it served us very well. In case the words "horseradish" and "cayenne" are a little offputting, the spice is noticeable but not even remotely overpowering.
Bacon and Leek Tart (serves 6; approx. $1.94/tart)
10 ounces all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold water (more may be needed)
8 ounces fatty bacon, diced
4 leeks, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tablespoon horseradish mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 4" tartlet pans, the kind with the false bottom
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap or zip-top bag
- Pie weights or dried beans
- Sift the flour and salt into the bowl.
- Cut the butter into pieces and rub into the flour with your hands. Rub until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and just enough water to bring the dough together. Three tablespoons is a good starting point, but I needed to add half again as much.
- Mix the dough together, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Divide the dough into six pieces. Press each piece into a tart pan, then dock the crust with a fork or something.
- Line the crusts with the tin foil and fill with pie weights or beans. (I use beans.)
- Bake 15 - 20 minutes, until golden.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in the skillet until crispy.
- Add the leeks and cook another 3 - 4 minutes, softening the leeks. Note that the speed with which the softening happens depends partially on how thin you slice the leeks.
- In the bowl, beat the eggs, cream cheese, mustard, cayenne pepper and seasoning to taste.
- Add the leeks and bacon and mix to combine.
- Remove the foil and baking beans from the tartlet cases. Pour in the filling and bake 35 - 40 minutes.
- Plate and serve.