Asparagus and Parmesan Tart

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • makes 24 cm 9½ inch tart serves

    8

Appears in

Simple, bold, clear flavours, Parmesan and asparagus have always made excellent bedfellows, though this is not the classic dish where the Parmesan is shaved over the spears. In late April, May and much of June, when you can find English asparagus, this is your tart.

Ingredients

  • 12 generous sized spears of asparagus
  • 90 g Parmesan
  • 200 ml. (double) cream
  • 2 eggs + 2 yolks
  • sea salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Bake the shortcrust pastry in the usual way and dry it in the usual way.

Cut the woody bases from the asparagus stems and plunge the spears into boiling water for 5 minutes or until al dente, it could be a little less, depending on the thickness of the stems. Cool, then chop half the spears, 6, into pieces, keeping the other 6 whole.

Grate the Parmesan and add it to the bowl with the cream and eggs and seasoning. Whisk together.

Place the chopped asparagus on the baked blind pastry as evenly as you can do quickly, then add the line of 6 in a row on top and pour over the custard.

Bake for 40 minutes or until bronzed and puffed up and just set.

You may add the last spoonful of Parmesan 10 minutes before the end of cooking time by just sliding the tart near enough to the oven door to sprinkle the top with the cheese.