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Leeks in Spiced Pastry

Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

The spice in the rich pastry highlights the filling, giving it a richer flavour. Comté cheese is a sweet, nutty French cheese that's popular in cooking right now. If unavailable, gruyère is the best substitute. I make these as galettes for an individual serving for each person. Add a small side salad if you wish.

Servings: 4 tartlets

Ready time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Pastry

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup mascarpone

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Filling

1/4 cup chopped pancetta or bacon

2 leeks, dark-green leaves discarded

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup grated comté or gruyère cheese

Method

For the pastry, combine flour, butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, salt and allspice in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles small peas. Remove and knead to bring dough together into a ball. Divide into four pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out pieces of pastry on floured surface into six-inch circles. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill pastry while making filling. Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the filling, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté for two to four minutes or until slightly crispy. Add leeks and cook for eight to 10 minutes or until softened and slightly golden. Add cream and thyme. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cool. Season well with salt and pepper and stir in 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Divide and mound mixture over pastry circles, leaving a one-inch overhang. Fold the edge over the filling, overlapping as you fold. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the filling. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is pale gold and mixture is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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