Although a savoury tart mightn’t seem an obvious winter warmer,Poppy Bevan
there have been many a recent afternoon to which this sublime
goats cheese and white asparagus tart would have been a delicious
accompaniment. This recipe by my extremely talented close friend Ash Hayes (For my Senses) is perfect for these brisk yet bright winter days.
1 1/2 cups plain flour
150g cold butter, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 tbs cold water
400g white asparagus, peeled, ends trimmed off
100g white asparagus, peeled, ends trimmed off and shaved into ribbons
1 tbs white sugar
2 tbs salt
8 spring onions, peeled, cut to about 15cm lengths, and cut in half vertically
olive oil, for drizzling
100g gruyere cheese, finely grated
1 cup milk
100g chèvre (goats cheese), sliced into 5mm thick pieces
Bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
Bunch dill, leaves picked
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and use fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until mixture resembles sand. Add the egg yolk and the water. Mix with a spoon until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until just smooth, about 1min. Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.
Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to a 3mm-thick disc. Grease and line the base of a round, fluted tart tin, with removable base (or any tart tin that you have). Line with the pastry, trim most of the excess but leave about 1/2cm of overhang to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base with a fork. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to rest.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line the pastry case with nonstick baking paper. Fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove paper and pastry weights or rice. Cook for a further 7 minutes or until golden. Set aside.
Place the spring onions on a lined baking tray, cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook, for about 20mins, or until golden and soft. Set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the sugar and salt. Add the 400g asparagus and cook for about 10-15mins, until just tender (time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus). Remove and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, gruyère, and milk with some salt and pepper. Pour mixture into tart case. Arrange the spring onions, boiled asparagus, and sliced goats cheese around the tart in a sort of clock design. Place in the oven and cook, for about 30mins, or until golden and firm in the middle. Remove and set aside for at least 10mins before serving.
While tart is cooking, prepare the salad.
In a bowl, place the 100g shaved asparagus and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for a minute, strain, and refresh under cold water. Squeeze out excess water and return to the bowl along with the herbs. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Only add the walnuts just before serving.
To serve, add the walnuts to the salad and toss to combine. Top the tart with the salad if desired, or serve it alongside.