Spring days call for tarts.
For all the fans of Italian food out there, this is a "torta salata". In the 90s it was a must for picnics, dinner parties (everyone brings something), or refreshments after school plays.
Ah, those were good times. But even if the days of big dinners are (momentarily) over, a good old "torta salata" will never go out of fashion.
Now I'm going to say something unpopular, especially here in Germany: I'm not a big fan of asparagus, eaten on its own. But when I use them in lasagne or pies, I find them exceptional.
For this recipe I used green asparagus for the filling of a savoury tart that I made on Easter Monday, together with natural cooked ham (you can find it in any Bio market) and Bavarian Emmental, an excellent replacement for Asiago cheese, which I was unable to find.
The savoury pie dough is homemade and follows the recipe of the shortcrust pastry (also called "pasta brisé" in Italia) it takes only 35 minutes to prepare this dough and I assure you that you will never buy the ready-made one again.
PREPARATION: 60 min. / SERVING SIZE: 1 cake tin with a diameter of 26 cm
Shortcrust pastry (tart base)
140 g of 00 flour (405 type)
70 g of butter (cold from the fridge)
50 g of iced water
1 pinch of salt
500 g of green asparagus
1 red onion
200 g of medium aged cheese (Emmental or Asiago for example)
100 g of natural cooked ham without preservatives
100 g of Parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs
250 g of fresh cream
100 g of milk
1 tbs of flour
1/2 tbs of salt
black pepper and nutmeg
Start with the shortcrust pastry.
Pour the flour into a bowl, add the cold butter in pieces. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips (see video) until the butter is as fine as sand, which is why it is called sandblasting.
Pour in the iced water and salt, and knead everything quickly (so as not to melt the butter) until it becomes homogeneous. Flatten and wrap the pastry in greaseproof paper, place in the fridge for at least an hour to compact and rest.
Continue with the filling.
Steam the asparagus for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix eggs, milk, cream, flour, nutmeg, pepper and salt with a whisk. Stir fry the onions and leek in a pan with olive oil. Roast the cooked ham in the same pan for 2 minutes.
Flour the work surface and roll out the tart dough with a rolling pin, about 0,5 cm thick. Lay it on a piece of baking paper cut into rounds and line a cake tin (if possible with removable bottom).
Place the ham, cheese cubes, leek and onions at the bottom of the tart, cover with the milk and egg mixture. Add the asparagus, cut into small pieces, and use the heads as decoration.
Finally, cover with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to ensure a nice crust during cooking.
Bake the tart in a preheated static oven at 170° for 45 minutes, until the surface is golden brown. When the quiche is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool and firm up before serving.
1. All doughs that contain high quantity of butter suffer from heat, so you should work them in a cool environment (ideally between 18 and 20 degrees) and touch them as little as possible, because even the heat of your hands can damage the dough. For this reason you can also use a food processor or a mixer for the sandblasting and avoid overheating the dough.
2. You can store the tart for 2-3 days in the refrigerator tightly closed in an airtight container or you can freeze it as soon as you cook it.
3. Do not cut/taste the tart before 2 hours, it may be too liquid when it comes out of the oven (as you can see in my video, I could not wait and the slice I cut is not the prettiest let's say).