Saturday, 18 May 2013

Asparagus Tarts

Asparagus is in season!! Although who knows, it's not really been springtime yet (not in Huddersfield anyway) so for all we know it might all be a trick and they've brought last year's lot out of the freezer.

These tarts are very loosely based on a recipe from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II, which you can buy here.

They look quite pretty for how ridiculously easy they are - they use ready made puff pastry so minimal effort - ideal with a salad as a summery dinner.

Makes 4 tarts

What you need

A bunch of slender asparagus spears - 8 spears for 4 tarts
a 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
100ml double cream
a few sprigs lemon thyme - leaves only
40g grated mature cheddar or 'parmesan'
1 egg, beaten

What to do

First, cook the asparagus. Snap off any woody stems and get some lightly salted water boiling. Plop the asparagus in - they should only need 5 minutes. Have a bowl of icy cold water waiting to immediately plunge the asparagus into once you've drained them - this will keep them nice and fresh and green-looking! It's of course fine if they sit there getting cold as they'll go back in the oven anyway.

Unroll the puff pastry from the packet, and slice vertically into 4. Score a border about a centimetre away from the edge, without cutting all the way through. Egg wash it if you like, I never do - I always feel like it's a bit of a waste of an egg! Lay the pastry out on a non-stick baking tray and put in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes, just to start crisping the pastry before you add your filling.

While that's in the oven, stir together the cream, grated cheese and lemon thyme leaves, with salt and pepper to season.

When your pastry comes out from its first stint in the oven, lay the asparagus spears on - I did two per tart. Spoon over the cheese mixture, distributing evenly between the tarts. Return to the oven for a final 10 minutes, until the filling is starting to brown and the pastry is crisp.

Serve and enjoy!

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