Asparagus Tart

This sumptuous tart from Merrilees Parker combines asparagus with peas, pancetta and parmesan, and goes down a treat with tomato and basil salad
By Merrilees Parker
Asparagus Tart
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus 1 hr chilling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 50 g parmesan, finely grated
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • pinch sea salt

For the filling

  • 85 g pancetta
  • 300 ml Jersey cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 85 g parmesan
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • 175 g fresh or frozen peas
  • 6 asparagus, lightly blanched
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • tomato and basil salad

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

2. Sift the flour into a food processor and add a pinch of sea salt. Add the butter and cheese, then whizz for 30 seconds. While the processor it is still running add the water one tablespoon at a time, until the pastry forms a ball. Remove it from the machine, wrap it in cling film and chill for at least an hour.

3. Grease a 24cm loose-bottomed tart tin with butter. Flour your work surface, your hands and your rolling pin. Roll the pastry into a circle big enough to line your tin. Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and then gently lay it over your tin. Carefully press the pastry evenly into the tin. If you have time, allow the tart to rest in the fridge for another half hour.

4. Brush the pastry with a little egg wash and place in the oven for 15 minutes. You don't need baking beans for this recipe.

5. Meanwhile heat a frying pan and fry the pancetta until just beginning to crisp. Drain well on kitchen paper.

6. Tip the fresh peas into boiling salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender. If using frozen peas just allow them defrost.

7. Remove the tart base from the oven and let it rest for a couple of minutes then place on a baking tray.

8. Lower the oven setting to 180C/gas 4.

9. In a large jug or bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, Parmesan and parsley. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the peas and pancetta.

10. Pour the mixture into the base, then lay the asparagus on top, tips pointing inwards. Cook the tart for another 20-25 minutes, until it is just firm to touch. Let it rest for ten minutes before serving with a tomato and basil salad.

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