A classic dish from the region of Picardy in northern France, flamiche is a robust version of a quiche and a notch up from pizza. It can be made with a pastry crust or a bread-dough base. However, making pastry comes with heartache for some, and rather too much butter for others. I love making bread dough and find the activity of kneading and resting the dough immensely satisfying. So let’s use bread dough for the base and keep the filling a sweet and heady mix of leeks, thyme, eggs and cream. Perfect for relaxed lunches or picnics.
Ingredients (serves 6)
250g strong white bread flour
160g water, warm
2 tbsp. olive oil
500g leeks, white part only
2 whole eggs
150g sour cream or crème fraiche
15g of Parmesan, grated
½ tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ whole nutmeg, or to taste, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. In a large jug, mix the warm water and yeast together.
3. Add the liquid to the flour with the salt and mix vigorously in the bowl with a large metal spoon for a couple of minutes.
4. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface oiled with 1 tbsp. olive oil and knead rhythmically for at least five minutes, until the dough is cohesive and it has a good sheen to its surface.
5. Shape the dough into a round. Place it back in the (cleaned) mixing bowl and cover with a clean damp tea towel or cling film to double in size, which should take about two hours in a warm place.
6. With the dough proving, sweat the leeks over a medium heat in the butter. Do not let them colour. Remove from the heat when soft and leave to cool.
7. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the sour cream, thyme leaves, salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Add the cooked leeks.
8. Line a 16in x 12in (40cm x 30cm) flat baking tray with greaseproof paper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
9. Lightly flour the work surface and roll the dough out to fit the baking tray.
It should be about 5mm thick.
10. Make a small lip around the edge of the dough, or, push the dough right out and up to the very edge of the baking tray.
11. Add the leek mixture to the rolled out dough, distributing it evenly. Add the Parmesan to the top of the flamiche.
12. Cook the flamiche in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20-25 minutes, until the top is nicely coloured and the base is crisp. Remove from the oven and serve.
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