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Recipe: Helles Lager–Braised Leek Tarts

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes

Helles Lager–Braised Leek Tarts
At Idletyme Brewing Co. in Stowe, house-brewed beer is an ingredient, not just a beverage. Here, a blonde lager builds flavor in the filling for a rich and elegant appetizer, or lunch paired with lemon-dressed salad of peppery greens. For variations on this recipe, consider the original, which uses onions, or add crisp bacon before serving.
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  1. 7–8 ounces frozen puff pastry (one 
sheet or one-half sheet, depending on brand), thawed according to package directions
  2. 4 large leeks (about 2¼ pounds or 
5 cups when sliced)
  3. 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  5. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  6. ⅔ cup Helles lager from Idletyme Brewing Company or von Trapp Brewing, or any Munich-style blonde lager
  7. 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  8. 6 ounces Alpine-style cheese such as Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise or Gruyère, coarsely shredded
  9. ⅓ cup (generous) mayonnaise
  10. 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  11. 1½ tablespoons minced mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary 
and thyme
  12. Egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with a splash of milk
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll thawed puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Using a sharp knife, cut pastry into nine 4-inch squares. Place on a baking sheet and chill in refrigerator while preparing filling.
  2. Trim root and tough dark green ends from leeks. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and then across in ¼-inch half circles to yield about five generous cups. Wash well in a colander, working out any sand trapped between layers. Shake dry. Melt butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add leeks with salt plus generous grinds of black pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and reduced in volume, about 12 minutes. Add beer and thyme leaves and simmer until liquid has evaporated and leeks are completely soft, about 8–10 minutes. Scrape leek mixture onto a plate and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, stir together shredded cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and mixed herbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F. Divide the leek and cheese mixtures each into nine roughly even portions. Take four of the pastry squares from refrigerator and space them out on a second baking sheet, leaving the others in the refrigerator. Using a fork, mark off a ⅓-inch border around edge of each square and then prick the center all over with the fork inside the border to prevent it from puffing up. Spread one portion of leek mixture on each puff pastry square leaving the border uncovered. Top leek mixture with one portion of the cheese mixture, spreading to cover the leeks. (Can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for several hours before baking.) Make sure filling is inside the border and brush border with egg wash. Bake 16–18 minutes until pastry border is puffed and deep golden brown. Repeat with remaining pastry squares. Cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Makes 9 small tarts. Tarts can also be cut diagonally, once cooled, for smaller appetizer portions. (Recipe can be doubled easily.)
  1. Photo by Ken Burris.
Adapted from Idletyme Brewing Co., Stowe
Adapted from Idletyme Brewing Co., Stowe
Vermont Life Magazine
Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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