Timbales are related to soufflés and make a very good main course dish, or can be eaten cold for a light summer lunch. They are, in essence, a flavoured egg custard and can be cooked in a soufflè dish or any decorative ovenproof dish from which the contents can be easily unmoulded. Timbales should be eaten with asauce.
450g/1lbleeks, trimmed and cleaned
50g/2oz/4tablespoonsbutter and fine breadcrumbs for coating mould
50g/2oz/½cupGruyère cheese, grated seasoning to taste
pinch of nutmeg
Slice the leeks thinly and cook gently in the butter until just soft. Liberally butter a 1.5-litre/2½-pint/l ½-quart mould or soufflé dish and coat the inside with the breadcrumbs. Pour the leeks and juices into a bowl and add the cheese, seasoning and beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly to distribute the leeks evenly. Heat the milk with the nutmeg until just simmering. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Pour the milk carefully on to the leek mixture, stirring thoroughly. Then pour into the buttered dish. Place in a bain marie and bake for 45 minutes. When cooked, it should look like a soufflé. Allow the dish to rest for 5 minutes then turn out on to a large platter.