Cheese and potato has always been a winning combination for me. The addition of some sweet, young leeks makes it even more so. In spring you can substitute asparagus for the leeks. This recipe made a couple of flans – one for now and one for the freezer. It would be a welcome addition to a winter lunch box. I served it for lunch with pumpkin and coconut soup and coleslaw. I used only three sheets of pastry between the two tarts as that was all I had left from making hare wellington. If you want it to be a bit more structurally robust, use a couple more sheets of pastry for a thicker crust.
I used leeks about 1cm in diameter although larger ones would be fine. You need to slit them nearly down to the root, fan the leaves and wash them thoroughly, holding them upside down under running water to remove any dirt.
three or more sheets filo pastry
600g potatoes (peeled weight), cut into chunks
400g leeks, sliced lengthways and chopped into lengths to fit your dish (or a bunch of asparagus)
150g grated cheese
2 large free range eggs
lots of freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper, a knob of butter
Grease two small or one large shallow, ovenproof dish with a scrap of butter. Line with the filo pastry to come about 2cm up the sides – at least three sheets thick in most places. Filo pastry is very forgiving if you have to cut and paste pieces to fit your dish.
Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water until tender. When nearly done, add the leeks to the pan and bring back to the boil for a few minutes, until the leeks soften.
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Drain the vegetables and set the leeks aside. Return the potatoes to the pan with the cheese. Mash together. Break the eggs into a bowl and stir in the cream. Add to the egg mixture to the mashed potato, grate in plenty of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well before pouring into the prepared filo pastry case(s). Arrange the leeks over the top and brush with a little melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to stand for at least ten minutes before serving.