Snail Torte, Country Style
A rich egg custard is baked inside a tart shell which already contains sauteed snails, ham, and leeks. The tart is cleverly prepared with a tube you roll out of foil inserted in the center; when the shell is partially baked, the custard is poured into the shell through the tube. A large funnel would be a big help!
- Pie and Filling
- use two leeks - 1 cup, (about 4), white part only, julienned
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- Water - 1 cup
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Ham - 6 ounces, boiled, julienned
- Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
- Parsley - 2 teaspoons, chopped
- Shallots - 2 ounces, chopped
- Canned Snails - 2 dozen, (72 count), drained and rinsed
- Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- Frozen puff pastry - 2 pounds, thawed
- Egg - 1, beaten with 1 tablespoon water egg wash)
- Whole Eggs - 1
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Half-and-half - 1-1/2 cups
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Saute the leeks slowly in 2 tablespoons of the butter for about 5 minutes, until tender but not browned. Add water and wine and boil until the liquid is completely reduced and the leeks are tender, about 20 minutes; you may need to add water during cooking. Briefly saute the ham in 2 tablespoons of the butter to release the flavor; remove from heat and reserve.
Combine the remaining butter with the garlic, parsley, and shallots to form garlic butter. Saute the snails in the garlic butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat an season with coarsely-ground black pepper. Completely cool the leeks, ham, and snails.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 2 circles, each about 13 inches in diameter. Place one circle of pastry into an 11-inch tart pan (preferably one with a removable rim) and shape to fit the pan. Prick the pastry with a fork. Place the cooled leeks, ham, and snails on the pastry. Cover with the other circle of pastry. Moisten the edges of the dough with water, then press the edges together. Pinch to seal and form an attractive edge. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash. Cut a 1-inch hole in the center of the top crust and place an aluminum foil tube in it to keep the hold open during baking. With a small pastry cutter, cut crescents from the dough around the top of the crust; decoratively arrange the crescents around the center hole.
Bake for 15 minutes. Beat the eggs plus egg yolks with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the half-and-half. After 15 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and quickly pour the egg mixture into the pie through the aluminum tube. Tilt and rotate the tart pan, making sure the pie is full but not overflowing with the mixture. Lower the temperature to 350 F and return the pie to the oven; bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the center is set and the pastry is browned. Remove from oven and let rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving.