Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

How to Grow Ramps in a Pot (Plus a Rustic Ramp Leaf Quiche Recipe)


How to Grow Ramps in a Pot (Plus a Rustic Ramp Leaf Quiche Recipe)

A rustic ramp leaf quiche—luxurious with cream—is my answer to a very small harvest of leaves from the ramps that grow in pots on our tiny Brooklyn terrace. As awareness of ramp-sustainability grows, more people are learning that using their leaves only is a very effective way of making the most of these native wild leeks’ flavor. While it is possible to collect some bulbs from a thriving colony without doing serious damage to their population or to their habitat (if you’re collecting them for personal use), commercial foraging for market is nearly always sweeping, and the appetite for ramps keeps growing.

The solution: grow your own ramps—and use just the leaves you need.

Photography by Marie Viljoen.

Above: Ramp leaf quiche is eggs, cream, and ramp leaves, in a buttery pastry shell.
Above: Ramps in a pot with Christmas fern and foamflowers, their natural companions.

You can buy ramp bulbs online to plant, buy plants at a few native nurseries, or buy seeds (which will take almost seven years to develop a leaf that is a harvestable size). Or, you can soak farmers’ market or supermarket ramps that still have roots, and plant them out the next day. You could also let your market vendors know that you would happily buy ramp leaves only sold by weight. The tide is turning, and my own attitude to eating, collecting, and growing ramps has evolved, too: partly in response to their viral popularity, which is driven by social media, and partly to the heaps of wilting wild plants I see sold at supermarkets, where they used to be a niche-harvest at farmers’ markets.

Above: In 12-inch pots, ramps overwinter successfully with their woodland companions.

The potting mix I use is a commercial one (Black Gold) and the pots for the ramps are in a spot on our terrace that enjoys morning sun in the spring. In summer, I scoot the pots beneath a shading rhododendron; ramps are forest-dwellers that live in shade once trees have leafed out in late spring. My Brooklyn-grown plants seem to like this arrangement and have returned happier and fatter after winter freezes.

Above: By early summer the ramp leaves have died back and a single flower bud has formed on each plant.
Above: Draped pastry, about to be baked blind.
Above: Baking the pastry blind ensures a crackly-bottomed crust.
Above: Just three ramp leaves are potent enough to perfume the savory custard filling.
Above: The blind-baked pastry shell is filled with custard and ramp leaves.

Ramp Leaf Quiche

Makes 1 x 9-inch quiche (springform pan)

Equal parts luxury and restraint, the savory and creamy custard for this ramp leaf quiche is so good that I like to use a springform pan that holds a far-larger-than-traditional quiche. The blind baking step is essential for that crisp-bottomed crunch. If you don’t do cream and milk, canned coconut milk is a good substitute.

For a spring party, this recipe also makes 22 tartlets, if you use all the pastry-scraps, a 3¾-inch cookie-cutter, and bake in a 12-slot muffin tray (still using beans for baking blind). The quichelets take about 20 minutes to bake once filled with custard.


  • 6 oz flour
  • 3 oz cold butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 2 Tablespoons cold water
  • Extra butter for the pan

Ramp Leaf Filling

  • 1½ cups whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 mature ramp leaves, rolled into tubes and sliced very thinly

Pastry: Grate the cold butter into the flour in a large bowl (if you don’t have a grater, cut the butter thinly). Rub the butter and flour between your fingers until the mixture resembles even crumbs (some larger pieces of butter are fine). Add salt and toss with your fingers. Make a well and add the egg with the cold water. Using a fork to whisk the egg with the water together in the well, then slowly incorporate the surrounding flour mixture. When larger clumps form you can bring them together with your hands. Knead a few times to blend, then pat into a fat disc (about 1½ inches fat), wrap, and chill for two hours.

To bake the pastry: Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of baking parchment. Roll the pastry out thinly. Wrap the pastry sheet around your roller and lower it gently into the pan. The pastry will hang over the sides. Transfer to the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. After it has chilled, trim the overhanging edges carefully, leaving some overlap, with a very sharp knife or pair of scissors. (You can save the scraps and bake them into crunchy canapés seasoned with herb salt or cheese.)

Line the inside of the pastry with a large piece of baking parchment that comes up well over the sides. Add 3 cups of dry beans (or rice), mounding the beans towards the sides. This helps to keep the pastry edges in place as they bake. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes remove the pan from the oven. Carefully lift out the lining with the beans, taking care not to damage the sides of the pastry shell. Return the springform pan to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes. It is done when the base and edges are golden and crisp. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack. When it is cool, loosen the pan sides and peel off the parchment lining under the pastry-base. Return the pastry shell to the springform pan.

Filling: In a bowl, use a fork to beat together the cream, milk, and eggs (I find that an actual whisk makes too many bubbles). Add the salt, and beat again. Add the slivers of ramp leaves and stir.

Pour the filling gently into the pastry case (still in its pan) and transfer to the oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the center of the custard custard does not jiggle when given a slight shove (an inserted skewer should come out clean). Remove from the oven.

Loosen the sides of the springform and gently remove it from the ramp leaf quiche. Either cool it on a wire rack, or serve hot: Use a long spatula to slide the quiche from the base of the baking pan onto a serving plate.

See also:

(Visited 4,284 times, 8 visits today)
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation