Asparagus and Gruyère tart recipe
There are plenty of summer tarts that are best eaten warm, but this one is also good cold, and when asparagus is at it's best is one of the most delicious picnic things for early summer. Serve with dressed leaves and a delicious potato salad.
- 500g asparagus
- 25g butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 300g Gruyère cheese, grated
- 3 eggs
- 1 x 284ml carton of double cream
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper
For the pastry
- 200g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 120g butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
First make the pastry. Sift the flouw and salt into a bowl, then rub in the butter by hand until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, pulse in a food processor. Add the egg yolk and a little cold water, just enough to bring the pastry together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4 and heat a baking sheet until searing hot.
Line a 28cm loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry, leaving the excess draped over the sides in case it shrinks.
Prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork, line with greaseproof paper or foil and weigh this down with baking beans or rice. Place on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Remove the baking beans or paper and bake the case for another 5 minutes. Take out of the oven and trim off the excess pastry. Keep the oven on and reheat the baking sheet.
While the tart case is cooking, wash the asparagus. Cut off and discard the woody bases. Break off the spear tips. If you bend them, they break naturally where the tender flesh meets the tougher part. Put the tips to one side, then slice the stalks thinly at an angle, creating long ovals. Place in a pan with the butter and oil and fry gently until tender (about 5 minutes).
Scatter the Parmesan inside the pastry case (this absorbs any liquid, so keeps the base firm). Place the softened slices of asparagus on top of the Parmesan and sprinkle over the Gruyère cheese.
Heat a ridged griddle pan for 3-4 minutes (until you can't count to 10 with your hand hovering above it).
Griddle the asparagus tips for a couple of minutes to char slightly and bring out their sweet taste (they might need longer if the tips are thick).
Mix together the eggs, cream, mustard, salt and pepper and pour into the pastry case. Arrange the asparagus tips on top. Place on the hot baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tart is set and golden.
This recipe comes from p203 of Sarah Raven's Food for Friends and Family