Leek and pancetta tart with mustard

A beard doesn't make one a philosopher L'abito non fa il monaco

Does my head look big in this…? 

Leek and pancetta tart with mustard

Leek and pancetta savoury tart Torta salata

Despite Salmon’s persistent doubts, Trota and Fidget think of themselves as highly accomplished chefs – so much so that when they stumbled into a Nisbets it was a struggle to get them out again. That culinary cornucopia simply overwhelmed Trota and Fidget: pots, pans, strainers, moulins, aprons, hats, uniforms…so much to see and so little time!

Trota was not to be swayed by reason either – no way was she going home empty handed. In fact, she spotted something at the top of her life-affirming ‘101 things to buy before you die’ list…the tart ring! Just as it says on the tin: a ring (no base) to bake your tart or flan in. Empty handed she was not: she marched out brandishing her new tart ring, glorious and victorious!

So now the moment of truth: the tart tin’s maiden voyage. For this the Rowes chose a classic savoury pastry from Leiths’ Cookery Bible (and adapted the filling from a melange of other recipes). It worked a treat. If you’d like to reproduce it, here’s how:

Ingredients for the pastry: 170g plain flour, 100g cold butter diced, 20g freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1 egg yolk, 1 or 2 tbsp ice cold water, pinch of salt.

Ingredients for the filling: 300g chopped leeks, 85g diced pancetta, 150ml extra thick double cream, 30g mature cheese (eg Cheddar or Emmental) grated, 1 egg and 1 yolk, a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley finely chopped, a few tarragon leaves (optional) finely chopped, 20g butter, ¼  tsp mustard powder, salt and pepper.

Make the pastry first: blitz the flour, butter, egg yolk, parmesan and salt in the food processor. When it starts to come together add 1 tbsp of water and pulse again. (You want to bring the ingredients together but not for the pastry to go soggy, so you might not need all the water.) Roll the pastry out with a rolling pin, place some baking paper on a tray and your tart ring on top and use the pastry to create the shell of your tart (you can trim the borders later). Prick the base with a fork and rest in the fridge for at least 30min.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: gently fry the pancetta (no need for oil as it has its own fat), add the leeks and the butter to the pan, heat gently with the lid on for 10–15min until the leeks are soft. Let cool and bring together all the filling ingredients (except the mustard powder) in a bowl; mix well and season.

When the pastry case has rested, bake it blind in a pre-heated oven at 200°C – line the inside with baking paper, fill with baking beans, bake for 10–15min, remove the beans and inside layer of baking paper and bake for another 5–10min. Trim the edges if necessary, then sprinkle the mustard powder evenly in the shell, spoon in the filling and bake at 170°C for 40–45min until set and evenly golden-browned.

Let cool for a few minutes and then just pull out the ring. Oh Trota, you are so pro!

Wonderful warm, delicious cold with a side salad: this tart really is top drawer! Well worth the cost of the tart ring…and of course the essential chef’s hats!