Pic of Asparagus & blue cheese tart

Asparagus & blue cheese tart

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Vegetarian mains

Asparagus & blue cheese tart

Main Serves 4 40 min
Asparagus has a very short and eagerly anticipated season. This vegetarian tart pairs it with many of its foodie friends; blue cheese, eggs, nuts, fennel and citrus.

Cook's notes

Keep the leftover pastry to make another tart, or cut into strips, twist and sprinkle over some finely grated cheese and bake to make some puffed cheesy straws. Use the leftover egg whites to make meringues. Egg whites will freeze well if you don't want to use them immediately. The bottom of your asparagus stalks can also be saved and used to make a stock, good for risotto or pasta dishes.

Ingredients

  • 300g puff pastry
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 5 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 150g blue cheese
  • 300g asparagus, trimmed
  • 80g watercress
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and very finely sliced
  • 2 orange, skinned and segmented
  • 40g roasted and chopped hazelnuts
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Image of Asparagus & blue cheese tart

Method

Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.
  • Step 2

    Roll the pastry out into a large rectangle and sit it on a lined baking tray. Crimp the edges to create 2cm boarder around the edge. Brush the whole thing with some beaten egg yolk and use a fork to prick the middle part several time (this helps prevent it puffing up too much). Transfer to the oven for 12-15 minutes, until a pale golden colour, but not quite cooked through.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, tip the remaining egg yolks into a mixing bowl, stir in crème fraiche and crumble in the blue cheese.
  • Step 4

    Trim away any tough end from the asparagus, split any fat stalks in half lengthways so that they are all roughly the same size.
  • Step 5

    After 12-15 minutes, remove the pastry from the oven. Carefully push down any pastry that's risen in the middle part, leaving the edge puffed up. Carefully spoon the egg mixture into the middle of the pastry and evenly spread it out to the edges. Scatter the asparagus artistically over the top. Return to the oven for a final 15 minutes to cook the filling and finish the pastry.
  • Step 6

    While the tart cooks, throw the watercress, fennel, orange and hazelnuts together in a bowl. When the tart is ready toss the salad with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to dress.

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