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Asparagus season is here and so is our tart recipe

Spring is here and with it the start of the British asparagus season. What better time to give your banana bread recipe a break and try our asparagus and bacon tart then?

Asparagus and bacon tartWe’re all about eating the seasons and with restaurants and hotels likely closed until the end of the asparagus season in May, the UK’s growers need your support more than ever.

Ingredients (serves six)

  • Shortcrust pastry, either homemade (made with 100g butter to 170g plain flour, 1 egg yolk and 2 tbsp of water) or shop bought (300g)
  • 300g bunch of asparagus
  • 150g pancetta cubes or bacon lardons
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250ml double cream
  • 50g gruyère or cheddar cheese, grated

Method

  • First prepare the asparagus. Trim off the woody bottom by bending in half until the stalk snaps. Discard the bottom section. Slice into one-inch pieces, leaving the tip whole. Steam for approximately four minutes to partially cook. 
  • Take the pastry out of the fridge 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.
  • Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out your pastry, rolling away from you in two to three even strokes of the rolling pin. Give the pastry a quarter-turn and repeat. Keep the pastry moving to make sure it’s not sticking to your work surface and is in a circular shape – don’t be afraid to tap the edges in to get the shape you want. Use your tart tin to make sure your pastry is big enough.
  • Once your pastry is the right size and no more than 5mms thick, roll the pastry over your rolling pin and place over the tart tin. Fold the edges of the pastry into the tin, pushing it down but not stretching it. Try and fold the pastry straight into the corners of the tin. Pat gently in place using your finger or a spare piece of pastry.
  • Roll your rolling pin over the edges of the tin to cut to size and place in the fridge for 20 minutes, or the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200° C (180° C fan)/GM6 with a baking sheet inside. This will give your tart a strong blast of bottom heat to prevent it from having a soggy bottom.
  • Line your tart tin with a piece of baking paper slightly bigger than your tin and fill with baking beans.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the baking paper and return to the oven until the pastry feels sandy and there are no translucent sections left.
  • While the tart is blind baking, prepare the custard. Whisk your eggs lightly in a jug with a fork to break them down, add the cream and cheese. Season well.
  • Fry your bacon lardons until crisp.
  • Fill the tart with the asparagus and bacon lardons, and carefully pour over the custard mixture. Place the tart back in the oven on the baking sheet.
  • Cook for 30 to 35 minutes until the top of the tart has browned.

Some substitutes and delicious extras

  • Scatter over some pine nuts or pumpkin seeds before cooking
  • This tart is also delicious when dotted with goat’s cheese
  • You can use any mix of vegetables and cheese in a tart. Some of our founder Claire’s favourites include celery and stilton; bacon and gruyere; leek and mushroom; pea, broad bean and pancetta; and wild mushrooms and sage.
  • If you have more of a sweet tooth, you can use the same blind-baked tart for a variety of puddings. Claire recommends tarte au citron; a rhubarb or pear crumble, and apricot, pear or plum frangipane.
  • For a tasty salad to serve alongside your tart, combine roasted butternut squash and beetroot toasted with some lamb lettuce, toasted hazelnuts and soft goat’s cheese. Make a simple salad dressing by combining ½ tsp Dijon mustard with 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar and 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.

 

About The Green Apron

You’ll find The Green Apron cooking school in Coggeshall, Essex. We’re focused on creating simple and seasonal dishes that are as natural as they are delicious, so our cooking classes are fun and hands-on and feature no hard-to-get ingredients or complicated equipment. If you’re interested in more recipes, our cooking courses have all the inspiration you need.