I don't ever want to see pastry again. Sweet nor savoury. At least not for a good month or so anyway.
It is a shame I made all my tarts on Tuesday rather than Homeland Monday because then I could have made some catchy alliteration like Tarty Tuesday or something else equally as lame.
But no it was Homeland Monday (we watch Homeland on Mondays) and it was my turn to cook.
I made this asparagus tart a few weeks ago but didn't manage to take a really decent photo of it. Plus it was rectangular.
Oh the irony.
So Mr Alex has never seen me grumpy or in a particularly bad mood (with the exceptions of fleeting moments of hanger). He was in Asia the week before my dissertation was due and so got to miss out on stressed/hating on microsoft word Sophie. Ever since the diss got handed in I have been relatively care free and been in an overall chirpy mood. So while he was feeling bad that I got to put up with him being an occasionally grumpy whatsit, I just reassured him that his time to deal with me would come.
That time came yesterday.
So I had prepped the pastry case the day before so it was all rested and beautiful in the freezer. I had made up pesto from scratch and everything was going beautifully. I needed to find a tray to place the tart on top of in the oven so the base would crisp up. Unfortunately these lads don't keep their pizza tray in the same place as everything else so I couldn't find it. I instead flipped a brownie tin upside down and used that.
Sophie, what happens when brownie trays heat up?
They buckle/ become curved due to the expansion of the metal.
What happens when you place a curved surface underneath a loose bottomed tart tin?
It gets pushed open.
What happens to all the egg mixture inside the tart?
It leaks out of the tin and onto the oven's bottom element.
The boys had gone out to get snacks. I just sat on the floor looking at the mess before me. I was heart broken. I was mostly angry with myself. Fully angry with myself actually. Anyway the boys came back and boy were they in for a treat. I regret to say I threw a wee bit of a tantrum and had a good proper sulk. Oh was I dark or what. While Alex and Tim were cleaning up the bottom of the oven, my lovely frozen pastry had melted and shrunk down, ruining any chance of crispness it may have had.
Long story short, the tart went back in and it came out half an hour later not looking too bad.
We ate it and it tasted good. Sure the pastry wasn't as amazing as what it usually is but such is life.
I really should do a separate post about the pesto so I can just link you to it in the future but I didn't really take any pretty photos of it. Aaaah unless I can find some in my archives :D
[ten minutes later]
Well would you look at that. Here is the recipe for this
of mine :)
So I recommend making the pastry the day before. It really saves time when you actually get around to making it. You can always store it in the freezer which I recommend. You can make it in your food processor (super easy!!) or by hand just by rubbing the butter into the flour, just like you would with scones. Make sure your hands aren't to warm though. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for no more than 1 minute exactly!!! (!!!!!!!) that was emphasis in case you missed it. You can use as much or as little cheese as you like but the more cheese you use the firmer the tart will be (=winning). Make your own pesto or use the bought stuff. My pesto is quite peppery (because I am a garlic fiend) so you may like to use one you prefer.
Just a wee tip on buying asparagus. Buy the spears that are thinner. Thicker spears are tougher and chewier than the thinner ones. This is because they have had the chance to produce more lignin, like in really thick parsnips :).
Asparagus, Feta and Pesto Tart
Makes a 25cm flan tart plus one 10cm mini tart for someones lunch the next day
For the pastry:
Treats from Little and Friday
by Kim Evans)
75g butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 ¼ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
a few grinds of black pepper
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling:
12 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cream
One bunch of asparagus, sliced at an angle into thirds, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
200g feta, crumbled
1 cup grated Edam cheese
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of basil pesto
1/4 cup grated parmesan
To make the pastry in a food processor:
Pulse the butter, flour, paprika, salt and pepper together until a fine sandy consistency is achieved. Pulse in the Parmesan. Add the egg yolk and cold water and pulse until the dough comes together.
To make the pastry by hand, use the fingertips to rub the butter into the flour then use a spoon to mix in the egg yolk and water until the dough comes together.
Turn out onto a floured bench and knead into a small flat disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out.
Once the pastry has rested, roll out on a floured board
into a disc that is about 28cm in diameter (diameter of tart tin plus side height plus side height). Drape over a well greased tart tin and gently press the pastry into it. Trim the edges with a knife. Store in the freezer while you get all the other ingredients ready.
If you are making it a day or more in advance, roll it out and line the tin straight away (don't bother letting it rest). Wrap in cling film and store in the freezer overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake. Place a metal baking tray in the oven to heat up. This will ensure a crispy base.
Spread the pesto along the base of the pastry. Sprinkle over half of the edam cheese. Arrange the asparagus spears then s
prinkle over the feta and the rest of the edam. Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper then gently pour over the tart slowly. Fill until 4cmm from the top of the pastry. Sprinkle over the parmesan.
Carefully place on the preheated baking tray in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the filling stops wobbling and the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for ten minutes to cool and set before removing from the tin and slicing up.
Serve with a nice green salad and you are good to go!