I love a beautiful tart with a flaky crust and savory filling. Having lived in Paris for a few years, I used to love walking down the streets and feeling as though I was in a food museum every day. Amazing sights and smells at every corner and this particular tart is an attempt to reconnect with those Parisian memories. For this particular tart, I added an egg yolk to the crust which made the crust a bit softer. I also selected thin asparagus as opposed to the the thicker stalks which take longer to cook and are better suited for a this particular tart. I also selected a rectangular tart pan, but you could easily opt for a round one if you don’t have the rectangular one and perhaps add some additional cream and an egg for the custard filling. The addition of dill is so wonderful with the asparagus and I selected a mild, herby goat cheese for my filling. Serve this tart with green salad. I think it pairs beautifully with a peppery arugula, with some toasted pistachios, shaved red onion and manchego.
Serves 4-6, yield 13 1/2 x 41/2″ tart pan
- 1 1/4 cups flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill Pastry flour)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold vodka
- approximately 1-2 tablespoons iced water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2-3 shallots, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs, plus its more for garnishleaves from 4 sprigs of
- 8 oz asparagus (about 12-15 stalks), select thin stalks
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese, reserve 1 ounce for garnish
To make the pastry put the flour, butter and ¼ tsp salt into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Whisk together the egg yolk, vodka and water together and add the yolk mixture to the food processor and briefly blend again. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add a bit of extra water a tablespoon at a time until the dough collects in a ball. Gently flatten the dough to make a thick disc and wrap in plastic wrap allowing to rest in the fridge for at least an hour or up to a day or two. Spray your pan with a bit of cooking spray. Lightly four a dry surface with a bit of flour and roll the dough into an approximately 15 X 6″ rectangle, allowing the pastry to warm up a little on the counter at room temperature, so that it’s not too hard to roll out. Trim the edges to fill the rectangular metal tart pan with a removable base. Place the prepared tart back into the fridge – or into the freezer – and leave it until it has firmed up and chilled (30 minutes (or 10 for freezer, this stops the pastry from shrinking later.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the chilled tart with parchment paper topped with ceramic baking beans (or dried beans). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and return the tart to the oven for an additional seven minutes or so. The base of the tart should look golden and dry. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool, reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet, add the shallots and sauté over a low heat for about 5-7 minutes, add dill and then remove from the heat.
Trim the base of the asparagus stalks, removing any woody portions. Mix together the eggs and cream and season well.
Spread the shallot-dill mixture into the bottom the prepared crust, then lay the asparagus on top. Scatter the crumbled goat cheese and pour the cream and egg mixture into the crust and place the tart back in the oven, on a baking-sheet.
Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set (touch it lightly in the middle) and the top is golden and slightly souffléd. Allow tart to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. Garnish with diced cherry tomatoes, reserved goat cheese and additional sprigs of fresh dill. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!