Cheese and Asparagus Pastries

Buying asparagus loose during the short season, one is often left with an assortment of different sizes. Here is one way of using them up.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz / 230 g trimmed fresh asparagus (the tender green parts and tips only)
  • 1 lb / 455 g puff pastry
  • 8 oz / 230 g cheese, grated
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 2 oz / 60 g butter
  • milk or beaten egg, to glaze

Method

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and throw in the asparagus. Boil vigorously for 5 minutes, or until just beginning to become tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Roll out the puff pastry, and cut out eight circles. Divide the asparagus between the eight circles, arranging it on one half only. Divide the cheese into eight and heap it up on top of the asparagus. Top this with the chopped tomatoes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice.

Tear the basil leaves into shreds, and arrange on top of the tomato, together with a small knob of butter. Moisten around the edges of the pastry circles with water, fold them over and seal the parcels. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with milk or egg. Pierce the top of each pastry with a fork to let the steam escape, and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 °C / 375 °F / Mark 5.

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