Asparagus & Cherry Tomato Cheese Tarts

Asparagus is an exotic ingredient for me and one I have had just a few times. It’s not available in our city but when I come to Delhi (that’s where I am now) I go almost berserk at the range of foods that I can use (mainly) for baking. In the past week, I have made fresh cherry pies and cherry galettes, baked different kinds of bread with herbs that we don’t get back home and as I type this, the juiciest peaches sit in the fridge waiting to be baked. Waiting in line are ripe apricots begging to be brought home and more fruits waiting to be lovingly wrapped in sheets of pastry. I could go on and on…it isn’t that we don’t get peaches in our region. It’s just that they are more acidic and turn sweet only when overly ripe and ready to disintegrate into a messy blob at one touch.

But today is all about these tarts that I saw in the May issue of BBC Good Food India. The recipe is Kunal Kapur’s who is one of India’s well-known chefs and has just written a book titled A Chef In Every Home. These are what I baked yesterday. The only adaptations I made were regarding the small tins that I used.

These can be made into one large tart or six-seven small ones.

The Tart
all-purpose flour (maida) 220 g
butter 100 g
water 4 tbsp, chilled
The Filling
eggs 2 cream 300 ml
cheddar or gouda 11/2 cups, grated
salt 1/4 tsp
pepper, a pinch
rosemary 1 sprig, chopped
nutmeg a pinch
asparagus spears 10
cherry tomatoes 10, halved

  • To make the tart, rub the flour and the butter until you get a nice crumbly texture. Add the chilled water to make the dough. Knead it well, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Peel the asparagus and blanch them in boiling water. Immediately plunge them in cold water and drain. Cut into 4cm pieces.
  • Mix the eggs, cream, grated cheese, salt, pepper, rosemary, and nutmeg together.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out about 1/2 cm thick. Cut into circles a little bigger than your mini tart tins. Gently push the dough towards all the edges of the tin so that it is well covered. Continue with the other tins. Press gently on top to cut off the excess dough. Prick with a fork and bake in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the tarts. Remove and place the asparagus and cherry tomatoes inside the tart shells.
  • Pour the egg and cream mixture into the shells. Bake at 180C till a knife inserted comes out clean. For a large tart it will take about 25-30 minutes. Smaller tarts will need less time. Remove from the oven and let the tart(s) rest for at least five minutes.

Although the tarts looked as though they could have done a little more time in the oven, they were cooked through. Instead of Cheddar or Gouda that the recipe stated, I used Amul cheese cubes that I had in the fridge.

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