I used to work in my family's restaurant and helped run it. I love good food, and I've cooked family meals for over 60 years.
How I Learned About This Delicious Camembert Tart
Ever since I was a child, I've loved a good French Camembert cheese—the stronger the better. Eating strong, ripe Camembert seems to be a family tradition, as I've eaten some of the best slightly runny Camembert at my cousins' home, where they always used to have a cheeseboard after a family gathering for dinner.
One sunny day last summer, I was sitting in the garden having tea with my French friend. She is a magnificent cook, and when I mentioned the word "Camembert", she perked up immediately and launched into the details of how to cook this wonderful tart, using just four ingredients:
- Puff Pastry
I was intrigued, and had to try it the next day.
Most of the French people I know (not very many, actually) are gourmets, so if you are a gourmet too, I think you'll love this quiche as much as I did when I tried it. Definitely one to repeat.
I might try it with goat-milk cheese next time, just to experiment, although, when you've achieved perfection, I suppose it's a bit daft not to stick with what you know will work. But that's just me, an adventurous cook.
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Serves three or four people
Ingredients for Camembert Pie
- 3/4 to 1 Camembert, (depending how strong you want it). It should be refrigerated before use
- 2 to 3 leeks, including dark green parts
- 4 ounces pancetta (or thinly sliced bacon)
- 1 packet ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 blob Butter or Cooking Oil
- A sprinkle of seasoning to taste (could be salt, black pepper and/or chilli flakes), optional, as this already has a strong flavor
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sliced zucchini
- Different cheese, e.g. Brie
- 4 ounces bacon, if you haven't got pancetta
What Is Pancetta?
Here is a description of pancetta, in case you don't know what it is. (I only recently found out myself!) According to BBC Good Food,
Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong, slightly salty flavour, is fairly fatty and comes either smoked or unsmoked. You can buy pancetta either as straight rashers (which tend to be smoked), as round slices cut from a roll (which tend to be unsmoked), or diced.
- Cut up the leeks into small slices. Melt a blob of butter in the saucepan and add the leeks, cooking them gently on low heat (sweating them) for 5 to 10 minutes to soften them. Let them cool a little.
- Meanwhile, grease a frying pan with a drop of butter or oil and fry the pancetta until crispy. Be careful because it cooks very quickly
- Grease the pie dish or line it with greaseproof paper. Lay the ready-rolled pastry in the dish, pressing down at the edges so that it fits the dish well. Press down the edges with your thumbs or a fork to make a pattern round the edge, and cut away the excess pastry with a knife. Paint the edge with egg yolk or milk.
- Lay the par-cooked leeks on the bottom, then cut up the cooked pancetta into pieces and mix them with the leeks. Sprinkle with seasoning to your taste. Slice the camembert finely and lay all the slices over the leeks and pancetta, covering the whole surface, using the whole camembert for a stronger flavor or less camembert if you prefer a mild flavor.
- Place the pie in a pre-heated oven Gas Mark 6 (medium heat) for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is light brown in color and the camembert has melted. You will find the rind of the cheese showing, but it adds to the rough look of this dish.
- It tastes best if you leave it to cool slightly for about 5 to 10 minutes and then eat it straight away. Best eaten slightly warm.
- Serve with a salad and a glass of cold white wine.
Note: This tart will keep for a couple of days, if necessary, but the pastry goes slightly soggy.
Lets see how many of you like smelly cheese
Gordon Ramsay's Leek and Pancetta Quiche
© 2014 Diana Grant