Asparagus & Parmigiano Savoury Tart
Marcel Proust has a very famous description of asparagus in his In Search of Lost Time, where he talks of their ‘rainbow loveliness, which is not of this world!’ We hope that Proust approves of our use of asparagus in this recipe.
1 quantity of savoury pastry (see below)
½ beaten egg for brushing pastry
1 good-sized bundle of asparagus (8–9 spears)
300ml (10floz) cream
150ml (5floz) milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
Salt and black pepper
200g (8oz) Denise’s Delicious flour blend (p. 28)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
100g (4oz) butter/margarine, at room temperature
1 large egg
2 tablespoons cold water, if needed
1. Sieve the flour, salt and xanthan gum into a medium-sized bowl.
2. Cut the butter/margarine into cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer, on speed two, work the butter/margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly with a fork.
4. Add the egg to the mixture and using the mixer, bring together in a ball. One egg is sufficient for this and the mix will form into a ball. However, if the egg is not very large, then add the water one tablespoon at a time. Do not add the water if the mix does not need it, you do not want a sticky pastry.
5. Wrap in a piece of greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. When ready to roll out, roll onto a board floured with potato flour. If you are nervous about handling gluten-free pastry, then place it between two pieces of cling film and roll out
1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C/400°F and grease a 23cm/9in round Pyrex pie dish.
2. Make the pastry according to the instructions above for savoury pastry.
3. Line the pie dish base and sides with the pastry and trim to fit exactly. Keep any extra pieces of pastry as you may need them later.
4. Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes in the centre of the oven. There is no need to use baking beans for gluten-free pastry (see p. 19).
5. Next, check if there are any holes in the pastry that appeared while you baked the pastry and that you may have missed earlier. Fill any holes with a little of the spare pastry and then brush over with the beaten egg.
6. Turn the oven down to Gas Mark 4/180°C/350°F.
7. Steam the asparagus and leave to cool.
8. Whisk the cream, milk and egg yolks together, add the grated Parmigiano and season.
9. Spoon the cooled asparagus into the pastry case, then pour the custard over the asparagus. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until puffed up and just set and browned.
10. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then serve with a dressed green salad.