Happy St. David’s Day! Time to celebrate the heritage of our cousins the Welsh and that cousin of the onion, the leek. We also have Mr. Alexander McCall Smith and his online novel Corduroy Mansions to thank for this dish, as I might not have gone looking for a leek pie recipe if it hadn’t been for Terence Moongrove.

 

Welsh Leek Pie

8 ounces prepared leeks (about two leeks, once the roots and the coarse green leaves are removed)
2 ounces butter (half a stick)
1/2 pint single cream (or half-and-half)
2 eggs
4 ounces cooked ham, cubed
1 pastry for single-crust pie, 2 for a pie with a lid

 

Prepare the leeks by removing the roots and the coarse green leaves, rinsing, removing the outer layer, rinsing, slicing in to disks, and rinsing. I do not think you can rinse leeks enough. Cook in a skillet with all the butter until the leeks are soft. It is hard to describe a soft leek, but you’ll know. It’s okay, and probably a good thing, if the rings separate a little when you are cooking them.

We used the refrigerated pie crust from the refrigerated biscuit section of the grocery; two 9 inch crusts come in one package, so we made our pie with a bottom and with a lid. Once they came to room temperature they unrolled very easily and it was easy enough to mould them to the pie dish — we used the deeper of our two glass pie dishes so there would be plenty of room for all the filling. So one pastry goes in the bottom of a pie dish. Tip in the leeks and the cubed-up ham and make a sort-of-even layer.

Mix together the half-and-half and the two eggs, add a little salt and pepper, then strain in to the pie dish on top of the leeks and ham. Add the lid, if you are using one, and brush with milk. Bake in 350F oven for 30 minutes. Let sit about 20 minutes before serving.

The crust did not get all crusty-crusty, in our case it stayed moist and but flaky. We are thinking that next time we might add a third egg and maybe a half cup more half-and-half in order to achieve a more quiche-y texture for the filling.

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