Recipe: Pumpkin, Leek, Walnut and Cheese Tart

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One of the many fall dishes I make to use up our large supply of pumpkins.

Serves 6-8 people (12-13'' pie or pizza pan)

    • Olive oil
    • 3-4 leeks, white plus a little of the green part, sliced to 1/4 inch pieces (about 5 cups), washed and well drained
    • 1 pound seeded and peeled pumpkin (from a piece about 1 1/2 pounds) preferably Calabanza, cut to 1/2 -inch cubes
    • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
    • 3 tablespoons kopanisti* or sharp blue cheese
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
    • 1 cup thick yogurt, preferably Greek
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • Salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 1 sheet (1/2 a 17 1/4-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to the package instructions

In a large skillet warm 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the leeks over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until soft, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl add diced pumpkin and 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss well to coat. Spread pumpkin on lined pan, on a single layer, and bake for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Lower oven temperature to 375.

In a large bowl mix the leeks with the pumpkin, add cheeses, walnuts, and yogurt, reserving 3 tablespoons. Toss to mix, add pepper and taste. You may not need additional salt as the cheeses are quite salty. Separate the eggs and keep one yolk. Stir the eggs into the pumpkin mixture.

Roll the pastry and line a 12" or 13'' pie or pizza pan, trimming it to about 2" overhang.

Pour the filling in the pan and smooth with a spatula. Turn the overhanging pastry to cover the rim of the tart.

In a bowl mix the reserved yogurt, the yolk, and the milk. Brush the pastry lightly with the mixture and reserve the rest.

Bake the tart at the bottom of the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Wearing oven mitts, open the oven and without taking the pan out, pour the rest of the egg-milk mixture on the center of the tart, spreading it lightly with the brush to cover the filling. Continue baking for another 30 minutes, or more, until golden brown. Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

* Kopanisti is a sharp creamy sheep's milk cheese from the Cyclades, similar to the Italian ricotta forte.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at www.keartisanal.com.


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