Asparagus, Thyme and Ricotta Tart

By Saturday, June 25, 2016

Asparagus and ricotta are a perfect combination. Add into the equation a little thyme, a hint of nutmeg, some lemon and crumbly pastry...and I think we might have a winner! Despite the abundance of lactose in this recipe, the tart is surprisingly light thanks to the lemon and thyme. It's delicious served fresh from the oven, but I think even better served chilled the next day when the flavours have had time to intensify. Serve with a nice fresh green salad and some basil mayonnaise.  

Serves 6

You will need:

300g plain flour
125g butter
1 egg + an extra yolk 
pinch of salt

500g asparagus
500ml double cream
125g ricotta
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 eggs + an extra yolk
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp olive oil 
salt and pepper

Begin by preheating the oven to 200 degrees / gas 6. Add the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadbrumbs. Then, add in the eggs and blitz until it comes together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. Roll out on a lightly floured work surface and line your tin. Prick with a fork and cover with greaseproof paper and baking beans, then place back in the fridge for 30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and brush with a little beaten egg. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes until the base is starting to go golden. Leave to one side. 

Snap the woody end of the asparagus off and place on a baking tray with the olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes until just tender then leave to one side to cool. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees / gas 4. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest and plenty of salt and pepper. Seasoning is key, so heat a frying pan over a medium heat and drop a little of the cream mixture into the pan and cook for a minute or so, then taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Once you are happy with the seasoning, line the asparagus spears along the bottom of the pastry case with the thyme sprigs. Gently pour over the cream mixture and then spoon the ricotta on top in small chunks. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the mixture is golden and just set, then serve and enjoy!  

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