Our cookbook of the week is Bake the Seasons by Marcella DiLonardo, creator of the blog Hey Modest Marce. Tomorrow, we’ll feature an interview with its author.
Mild and sweet, leeks are at their best in the spring. Here, Marcella DiLonardopartners them with pancetta in a savoury tart perfect for Mother’s Day brunch. “The pancetta was my little Italian inspiration because I didn’t really focus on my Italian upbringing for the recipes (in Bake the Seasons),” she says. “The saltiness with the leeks and eggs pairs so well together.”
Folding aged cheddar cheese into the tart dough adds an extra layer of savouriness. “I love mixing cheeses or herbs straight into the dough. That was one of my Bobby Flay lessons was to season every layer that you do,” says DiLonardo, who counts the Food Network as central to her culinary education. “I always felt why would I just make a plain pie dough when I can add flavour to the base?”
LEEK AND PANCETTA TART
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cheddar Tart Dough:
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fine salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated aged cheddar cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) ice water
1 large egg yolk
Leek Pancetta Filling:
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 leeks, dark green tops removed, thinly sliced
4 oz (115 g) thinly sliced pancetta, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
4 large eggs
1 cup (250 mL) grated aged cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (175 mL) heavy cream
To make the Cheddar Tart Dough, in a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Add the butter. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, work in the butter until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. Fold in the cheddar cheese.
In a small bowl whisk together the water and egg yolk. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and use your hands to work the mixture together until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape it into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Gently lift and transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Evenly press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the edges. Place back in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To make the Leek Pancetta Filling, in a large saucepan over medium heat melt together the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pancetta and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, until the pancetta is crispy and brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
While the filling cools, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, cheese and cream. Fold in the cooled leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the filling into the chilled tart shell.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling has slightly puffed. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.
Excerpted from Bake the Seasons: Sweet and Savoury Dishes to Enjoy Throughout the Year by Marcella DiLonardo. Copyright © 2019 Marcella DiLonardo. Photography by Marcella DiLonardo. Published by Penguin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.