The British asparagus season is short, so make the most of these tender stems in a tart that’s ideal for outdoor dining
This is a wonderful way to showcase delicate asparagus. Buy local if you can (the season runs until the end of June), but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of homegrown spears.
There are plenty of recipes for tarts made from a sheet of puff pastry that’s been scored around the edge to stop the filling escaping. However, using a fluted tin creates an altogether more elegant dish.
Plus, it’s much easier to transport: keep the quiche in the tin, then once you reach the party, put it on top of a bowl, carefully slide the sides downwards, and voila!
You’ll need a 24cm fluted loose-based flan tin.
300g asparagus, trimmed and halved lengthways
1 ready-rolled puff pastry sheet (approx. 340g)
3 large eggs, 1 separated
275ml double cream
50g parmesan, finely grated
25g gruyère, finely grated
Zest of half a lemon
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Flour, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Place a baking tray in the oven. Grease the flan tin.
- Unfold the pastry sheet and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to the tin, using a little excess pastry to push the dough into the edges. Trim by firmly running the rolling pin across the top of the tin. Remove the excess pastry.
- Line with baking paper, fill with ceramic baking beans or dried pulses. Place on the preheated tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry holds its shape.
- Remove the paper and beans. Brush the base and sides with the egg white from the separated egg. Return to the oven for 5 minutes more, or until the base is golden brown.
- Lightly whisk two whole eggs and the remaining yolk. Beat in the cream, half the parmesan, the gruyère, mustard and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the asparagus over the pastry base. Pour the egg mixture over the spears. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling is just set.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
- Serve warm with a crisp green salad.