A delicious spring tart, perfect for making the most of the season's asparagus.
30-34 slim spears of asparagus
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
200 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
100 grams butter, diced and chilled
50 grams grated Gruyere cheese
1-2 tablespoons cold water
¼ cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon cream
1 egg yolk
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 30 cm pizza tin or loose-bottom tart tin
Pastry: Put the flour, salt, butter and cheese in a food processor and pulse to form coarse crumbs. Combine the egg and 1 tablespoon of water and pulse again until the dough just starts to come together. Only add the extra water if necessary.
Tip onto the bench, bring the dough together gently with your hands and form into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured bench and line the tart tin, trimming off any excess pastry. Cover and chill or freeze until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Topping: Combine the ingredients in a bowl, season and spread evenly over the pastry.
Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard. Toss the asparagus with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the spears with the tips facing out like the spokes of a wheel, trimming the asparagus to fit. Grate over a little Parmesan cheese and bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
To serve: Transfer the tart to a flat plate or board and garnish with extra Parmesan cheese, olive oil and a grind of pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 tart
Pizza tins are readily available from most supermarkets and are ideal for this type of tart. The holes in the base ensure the pastry is lovely and crisp.