This is one of those recipes that looks really showy but is surprisingly easy! If you like a challenge, and possibly a nervous breakdown, make your own pastry. Otherwise just buy some ready-made shortcrust pastry. You have my blessing to tell everybody that of course you made the whole thing from scratch!
You can make this with any kind of filling and I think salmon and spinach would work equally as well actually. Just make sure that whatever greens you add are properly dry or your pastry will go soggy.
In any case this is perfect served warm with a glass of wine or if you want a nice homemade lunch at work. Especially now that it’s getting cold, rich buttery pastry, smooth creamy eggs and some nice salty bacon makes for an unbeatable combination…
For the pastry
- 200g flour plus extra for dusting
- 100g butter cut into small pieces, plus a bit extra for greasing the tin
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbsp water
For the filling
- 1 packet of pancetta cubes, about 200g
- 1 bundle of asparagus
- 400ml double cream
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper
Makes one large tart, about 26 inches.
1. If you are making your own pastry, put the flour and butter into a bowl, add salt and rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add the egg yolk and enough water to bring the dough together. Try to use as little water as possible, 1-2 tablespoons should do.
3. Roll out the dough to a rough circle large enough to line the tin (It doesn’t really matter what type of tin you use but one where the bottom is removable will save you a lot of time and grief). Grease the tin and dust with flour, shake out any surplus, then lower in the circle of pastry. Push the pastry right into the corners of the tin making sure there are no gaps. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Set the oven at 200C. Put a baking sheet in the oven to warm. Line the inside of the pastry case with kitchen foil, tip in baking beans (you can get ceramic ones but I just use actual dried beans. This is just to make sure the bottom of your tart stays nice and flat during the first bake) and slide onto the hot baking sheet.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, carefully remove foil and beans and bake for another 5 mins or until the bottom is dry and light golden. Remove from oven and lower the temperature to 180C.
6. Meanwhile, fry pancetta until golden and crispy, let cool for a bit then scatter in the tart case.
7. Chop asparagus into 1 inch chunks, cook for 2 mins then immediately rinse under cold water. Shake dry then add to tart case. Be careful not to damage the sides or your filling will leak!
8. Whisk together the eggs and cream and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour egg mix into the case (making sure that nothing goes over the sides of the pastry) and bake for 30 minutes, or until set and golden on top. Serve warm.