Spring has well and truly sprung. I love spring, not too hot and not too cold and the world around me blossoms into new life. Amongst all the blossoming (and hayfever) it is Australian asparagus season.
Asparagus is regarded by some as an aphrodisiac and is also known to make your pee smelly. When you think about it, such a contrast of missions for this humble spear. Good thing it is pretty tasty too.
Did you know that 95% of Australian asparagus is grown in Victoria and that 60% of the Aussie crop is consumed locally?
The Australian asparagus season runs from September to March, so there is plenty of time to take advantage of Aussie spears. You may have noticed that you can purchase asparagus all year round in Australia due to imported asparagus. The Australian Asparagus council advises us not to panic that these imports are displacing Australian spears. Local growers actually import from countries with similar growing conditions and standards to supplement demand.
I am a lover of all things easy and this is an easy tart to make. Could be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I think it is perfect for a spring Sunday brunch. Simply serve with a fresh green salad, and I like to sprinkle with a few freshly chopped chives for a subtle onion hit.
Asparagus & Pesto Tart
- 265 grams plain flour
- 125 grams chilled butter large diced (I used salted butter)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons iced water
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 80 grams pesto
- 40 grams parmesan finely grated
- 2 bunches mini asparagus
Preheat oven 180 deg C (360 deg F). Line the base of a 12.5cm x 35cm (7 x 14 inch) rectangular loose base tart tin with baking paper and grease the sides with a little spray oil.
Place flour and butter in food processor. Blitz until a crumbly mix is achieved, like breadcrumbs. Pulse through egg yolk and water.
Turn mix out on to a clean working surface and knead until the dough comes together. Do not over work your mixture. Roll out between two pieces of baking paper, creating a rectangular shape, which is 5mm thick. Line your tart tin with the pastry and then place a piece of baking paper on top. Fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove baking paper and weights, bake for a further 5 minutes.
While your tart is blind baking, wash and remove any woody ends from your asparagus. Then trim in order for the spears to fit your tart tin.
In a small bowl beat eggs with milk, season with a little pepper and salt.
Once tart case is out of the oven, spread the base with pesto and then sprinkle two thirds of the parmesan cheese on top of this. Lay your spears in the tart case, then pour over the egg and milk mixture. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top of the tart.
Place tart in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve with a garden salad.
Don’t go into shock, but you will notice that I actually made my own pastry this time. Regular readers will know I have a love for a certain frozen brand that is a staple in my freezer for easy pastry baking. But this time, I whipped up a very simple short crust pastry in the food processor.
Making pastry in a food processor is really easy, not quite sure why I don’t do it more often!
Belly Rumbles received the shown asparagus spears with much thanks from the Australian Asparagus Council.