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Flamiche is a type of leek tart or pie that is similar to quiche and was originally made in the Picardy region of northern France on the Belgian border. The most basic form of the dish is a pie shell that has been filled with leeks bound with an egg and cream mixture, then cooked until the crust has browned. Variations of flamiche involve adding cheese to the leeks, as well as nutmeg, other vegetables or bacon. The finished pie has a mild taste and an interesting combination of textures that can accompany heavier meat dishes.
One of the aspects of making flamiche that varies from one recipe to another is the type of dough used to encase the filling. In general, generic pastry dough is used, although there also are recipes that use leavened dough or a brioche dough. The type of dough that is most often called for is made from flour, water, butter and eggs. This dough is then baked quickly with weights on top so the liquid from the filling does not cause it to dissolve or remain uncooked.
The main filling in a flamiche is traditionally leeks. An important step in making the pie is to ensure that the leeks are properly cleaned and cut. Due The way leeks grow means some dirt or sand can get inside the stalks as they develop, becoming embedded inside the rings of the vegetable. Leeks should be cleaned by being halved or quartered lengthwise and then washed under running water until all the grit as been removed. Once cleaned, the white and light green parts of the leeks are cut into small pieces.
The pieces of the leeks need to be cooked briefly before being baked. This can be done in a pan with some butter, or they can be simmered in some stock until they become tender. The leeks are then added to a mixture of cream and egg yolks, along with any other spices or cheeses that are going to be included.
The pie crust is then filled with the leek mixture. Not all recipes involve placing a dough cover on the pie, but the traditional flamiche recipe does. If the pie is covered, then a ventilation hole needs to be cut into the center to prevent the filling — and the steam it generates while cooking — from boiling over and destroying the dish. Once the cooking is completed and the pastry dough has browned, the top of the flamiche is brushed with melted butter to provide a light sheen.
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