Buckwheat Tart with Jerusalem Artichokes, Leeks, and Gorgonzola

Dear Oleńka,

Who gets into a stranger’s car?

I don’t think I can think of any circumstances under which I would willingly get into a private vehicle with someone I don’t know in the U.S., unless he was an Uber driver. Here, though, it’s completely normal (and remarkably safe) to stick your hand out and flag down a random car when you’re trying to get somewhere in a hurry. You give the driver the intersection to which you’re heading and negotiate a price (which increases exponentially in relation to how foreign you seem). Often, they inquire as to whether you’re married and how many children you have (if anyone asks, my husband’s name is Artur and he’s a lawyer in Warsaw. We have a two-year-old named Ania. I’m from Poland, by the way). Sometimes they ask you to dinner regardless. Other times they tell you about their service in the Soviet army, traversing Eurasia by train in order to accompany a shipment of tanks from Kaliningrad or buying Polish clothes in Lithuania. Sometimes they don’t talk to you at all.

buckwheat tart

So on Easter Sunday I found myself driving across town at a disconcerting speed in the back of a dilapidated Lada. Tlendieva Raimbeka, I had said, giving the address of the only Catholic Church in Almaty (the parish priest is, incidentally, from Poland). After about 20 minutes, the driver turned to me with a knowing look. “I know where you’re going,” he said. “Where are you from?” Catholics are something of a rarity in Kazakhstan, accounting for about one percent of the population. The vast majority of the country’s Christians are Orthodox, meaning that, in the popular Kazakhstani consciousness, Christmas and Easter have somewhat different connotations (chronological and otherwise) than in mine. At the church I met Anna and Markian, who, unlike me, had the forethought to bring a basket of food to be blessed by the priest in accordance with the Polish (and Ukrainian Catholic) tradition. Afterwards we had a lovely dinner, complete with a tart that started out as a pizza and is, I hope, emblematic of spring.

jerusalem artichoke
buckwheat tart

Buckwheat Tart with Jerusalem Artichokes, Leeks, and Gorgonzola

1 cup buckwheat flour
¾ cup white flour
½ cup butter, chilled or frozen
1 egg
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons cold water

-Combine flour
-Grate in butter
-Work with your hands until crumbly
-Add in water and vinegar
-Beat egg with a fork and work into dough
-Form dough into a ball. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes
-When the crust is chilled and the filling is ready, press dough evenly into 11-inch tart pan

1 pound/500 grams Jerusalem artichokes
2 large leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
3.5 ounces/100 grams Gorgonzola 

-Peel Jerusalem artichokes and slice thinly
-Halve leeks and slice thinly; wash thoroughly
-Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes
-Spread evenly into prepared crust. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola
-Bake at 350F/180C for about 30 minutes

buckwheat tart
Posted on April 14, 2015 and filed under Recipes.