The combination of ham, cheese and caramelized leek with buttery short crust pastry is an absolute winner in this leek tarte tatin.
This recipe is a nice option if you're entertaining and want to wow your guests with an appetizer that looks and tastes great but is really easy to execute (and very flexible on substitutions).
You can even cut down on prep time by using store-bought dough or easily make the whole tart a few days in advance and then bake when ready to serve.
A tarte tatin is basically an upside down pie. Whereas a regular pie would have the crust on the bottom and the filling layered on top, a tarte tatin is prepared with the filling on the bottom and then the crust on top. After baking it's all flipped over right side up.
The benefit is that you can make really beautiful and eye catching tarts using this technique.
There are also a lot of different variations on this type of tart that you can see below in the variations section.
The ingredients for this tart are simple. The pie dough comes together very quickly in the food processor but you can also use a store-bought dough to make it even quicker.
Pie dough ingredients.
Leek tart ingredients.
For the pie dough
- Regular (all purpose) flour
For the tart filling
- A leek, cleaned, cut and caramelized (see my post on caramelized leeks for details)
- Sliced ham
- Sliced Swiss cheese
See recipe card for quantities.
Instructions to make leek tarte tatin with ham and cheese
Instructions for making the pie dough
The pie dough is made with a food processor which makes it very easy. It only takes a few seconds of pulsing and the ingredients are mixed.
- Weigh out ingredients: Weigh out (or measure) all the ingredients and add them to the bowl of your food processor.
- Mix: Pulse for 10-20 seconds just until the mixture comes together. You will notice it goes from a grainy mealy texture to a clumpy texture. As soon as it does that, stop mixing. Don't pulse anymore than necessary or you can start forming gluten which is not desirable for a tender and crisp short crust pastry like this one.
- Check: The dough should have a texture that makes it easy for it to clump together into one mass when pressed. Don't handle the dough too much or you can melt the butter and end up with a dense crust instead of a tender one.
- Rest: Wrap and place in the fridge to rest while you prepare the leeks.
- Flour your work surface: Liberally flour your work surface so the dough doesn't stick as it's rolled out.
- Roll out: Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to just under half a centimeter (0.25 of an inch) in thickness.
For more details see my post on all purpose pie and tart dough.
Assembling the tart
Once the pie dough and caramelized leeks are ready, it's simply a matter of arranging the ingredients in the pan and baking the tart.
First, arrange the leeks in the pan in an aesthetic way.
Then arrange a layer of ham slices on top of the leeks.
Then a layer of cheese slices on top of the ham slices.
And finally drape the rolled out pie dough over the pan and use a knife to carefully cut away the edges, leaving a pastry round that has the same width as the inside of the pan.
Since the tart gets flipped after baking, no need to do an egg wash on the dough.
This leek tart recipe is quite flexible and offers a lot of options for substitutions.
- Store-bought pie dough or puff pastry - you can substitute the homemade pie dough for store-bought. Either pie dough or puff pastry are great substitutions.
- Make it vegetarian or vegan - you can make it vegetarian by simply omitting the ham. To make it vegan, use a high quality plant-based butter to make the pie dough and then omit the ham and cheese. It's still delicious with just leeks.
- Make it gluten free - use a gluten free premade pie dough or gluten-free pie crust mix to make it gluten free.
Variations on leek tarte tatin
The core concept of a tarte tatin is really versatile and adaptable to different variations. You can make different kinds of savory and sweet tarts.
- Vegetable tarte tatin - for example beetroot with goat cheese, spicy curried carrot, fennel, potato with gruyere.
- Fruit tarte tatin - for example plum, apricot, apple, pear, peach etc.
Making a tarte tatin requires both stovetop cooking and baking. For this reason it's very handy if you have a dish that can do both, like a cast iron bakers skillet.
I used a cast iron skillet that is 24cm / 9.5 inches wide. A slightly larger skillet (from 25 - 30 cm /10 - 12 inches wide) would probably also work with the amount of dough in this recipe.
If you don't have a dish that can do both stovetop and oven, then just use one skillet for caramelizing the leeks, and move them to a baking dish for the oven part of the recipe.
Since the tart contains meat and cheese, best to store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Any longer and it will start to get a soggy crust.
You can make the pie dough and leeks ahead of time and assemble when ready to bake.
You can also assemble the whole thing (pie dough and all) in the skillet and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
The pie dough will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
The tart is best reheated in the oven at 185 C / 365 F for 8-10 minutes. You can also zap it in the microwave for a minute or two (depending on your settings) but this could make the pie dough get soft.
Looking for some inspiration? Try these:
Leek Tarte Tatin with Ham & Cheese
- stovetop and oven safe skillet
- food processor for pie dough
- 100 grams flour
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 25 ml water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 leek
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 slices ham may vary
- 3 slices cheese may vary
- Preheat oven to 185C / 365 F on convection setting.*
prepare the pie dough
- Measure out and add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse for 10-20 seconds just until the mixture comes together. You will notice it goes from a grainy mealy texture to a clumpy texture. As soon as it does that, stop mixing. Don't pulse anymore than necessary or you can start forming gluten which is not desirable for a tender and crisp short crust pastry like this one.
- Check that the dough has a texture that makes it easy for it to clump together into one mass when pressed.
- Wrap and place in the fridge to rest while you caramelize the leek.
caramelize the leek
- Trim, clean and slice the leeks into your desired shape - you can cut lengthwise, medallion, or a mix of both like I've done.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to your skillet over medium-low and put the leeks in.
- Cook approximately 10 minutes until browned on one side, and then flip and repeat on the other side.
assemble & bake the tart
- Arrange the leeks in the pan.
- Add a layer of ham slices, then cheese slices.
- Drape the pastry over the skillet and trim the edges off.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Let the tart cool down for 5-10 minutes and then use a large plate to turn it onto so that the pastry is on the bottom.
- Serve while warm.
- * If you don't have a convection setting then just preheat on your regular setting.