Preparing for my IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOD interview with Ellen Ecker Ogden, I reviewed her book, The New Heirloom Garden. It’s beautiful. It has many recipes using heirloom fruits and vegetables but many are not vegan, and include cream, eggs, butter. I can easily veganize most of them using cashew cream for heavy cream, vegan butter and depending on the recipe, there are numerous swaps for eggs. I saw her recipe for a Caramelized Leek Tart and had to make it. I substituted a number of ingredients to make it not only vegan, but gluten-free, oil-free, and sugar-free.
This recipes takes time but it is so worth it!
2 large leeks (about 1 pound)
3 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2 Tablespoons Marsala Wine or red Vermouth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary or 1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped
2 Tablespoons corn or potato starch
2 cups almond ricotta cheese
Clean the leeks by slicing them lengthwise and running them under cool water to remove any grit. Pat them dry and cut the white portions and about 1 inch of the greens crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.
In a large skillet, dry sauté the leeks over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent them from burning. Add 1/4 cup of water when leeks begin to stick. Cook until soft, about 15 minutes.
Stir in chopped dates. They will be sticky but mix and smashed them to get them evenly distributed. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the leeks are golden brown and have a sticky texture about 25 minutes.
Stir in Marsala or Vermouth and chopped herbs and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, until fragrant.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375oF.
In a medium bowl, beat together the starch and the ricotta and transfer the mixture into the pastry shell. Spread the caramelized leeks evenly on top.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes to cook slightly before serving.
I make my own flour mix. I use 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup millet and 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour. I process these ingredients in a Vitamix to make about 2 cups flour.
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, plus 1/2 cup extra for rolling the dough
1/2 cup cashew yogurt
4 Tablespoons nut or seed butter (vegan butter or vegetable oil may be used)
In a medium-sized bowl mix the yogurt with 1 1/2 cups flour, making a moist dough. Knead in the nut or seed butter, one tablespoon at a time.
Take two sheets of parchment paper. Lightly flour one sheet and place the dough on top and pat it down into a circle. Sprinkle more flour on top and cover with the other sheet of parchment paper.
Roll the dough into an 11-12 inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Remove the top sheet. Lift the bottom sheet of parchment paper with the dough and carefully flip into a 9-inch tart pan. Peel off the parchment paper and press dough into tart pan. Trim the edges to 1/2 inch all around. Fold the edges under and crimp the dough.
Dough may be used immediately or refrigerated until ready to use.