This has evolved from a recipe originally taken, I think, from Michel Guérard, from many years ago. The original magazine cutting has long since gone the way of all flesh, so it's now impossible to be sure. In any event, whatever the provenance, it is fairly delicious....Separating the white and dark meat within the tart is a clever trick, as it means you get two clearly different flavours, rather than just having a rather indistinct compound. The layer of sautéed Leek between the two also works well - not only does it introduce a different flavour-hit, but Leek marries particularly well with any seafood (which is why I always use Leek rather than Onion for the sofritto for any fish-flavoured risotto)
Although this tart rises spectacularly well in cooking, it's best to let it sit and cool down for five minutes or so before serving (during which time it will inevitably deflate) as otherwise it is just too hot to eat, and it won't do itself justice on the plate.
For two individual tarts.
Ingredients: 2 sheets of Phyllo Pastry, each 12" x 6"; 2 level tablespoons of Slivered Almonds; 1 oz Butter; 1 Dressed Crab; the white part of a medium Leek, diced finely; 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil; 2 Eggs; 5 fl oz Cream; half an oz of grated Parmesan; Salt & Pepper; a generous pinch of Nutmeg.
1. Using the Butter, Phyllo and Almonds, make two individual tart shells (follow the normal procedure for doing this, but sprinkle the Almonds in the base of each tart shell before you add the second layer of Phyllo; this will give a good crisp base to the tart shell). After you've taken the baked shells out of the oven , reduce the temperature from 200 degrees C to 180 degrees C and let it reduce in temperature as you make the filling for the tarts.
2. Separate the white and dark crab-meat, and divide the dark meat between the two tart shells, spreading it evenly around the base of each shell.
3. Heat the Oil, and use it to sauté the diced Leek for two or three minutes, just until it starts to colour. Take the Leek from the Oil, and make a layer of sautéed Leek in each tart shell, on top of the dark crab-meat.
4. In a bowl,whisk the Eggs with the Cream, then stir into this the white meat, Parmesan and seasoning. When properly incorporated, divide this 'custard' between the two tart shells (any mixture you have left over, pour into a ramekin and bake alongside the tarts; delicious cold from the fridge as a snack the next day!).
5. Bake the tarts for about twenty minutes in the pre-heated oven. They will puff impressively, and colour quite nicely as they cook - but be sure to let them cool down slightly before you serve them!