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Muddy makes: asparagus and goat’s cheese tart

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The asparagus season is upon us and here in Norfolk it’s big business. Not only is it super fresh and super local, but you can buy it absolutely anywhere during the spring and summer months – from caravans at the side of country roads (along with strawberries which are another Norfolk speciality) to private gardens wherever you see a ‘Fresh Asparagus Here’ sign – where they are plucked to order and come complete and a dusting of mud (you don’t get much fresher than that).

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I love eating asparagus brushed with a little olive oil and then chargrilled and dipped into a perfectly-cooked soft boiled egg, but Sue at Muddy Somerset tried a new recipe from Somerset-based author Susan Williamson’s new book The Allotment Kitchen and loved it, claiming it to be ‘easy-peasy and absolutely delicious’. See what you think…

Asparagus and goat’s cheese tart

You can make deep tartlets using a six-hole muffin tin but this recipe could also be used to make one 23cm diameter tart.

What you’ll need:

  • 300g puff pastry (bought or homemade)
  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 3 eggs plus one yolk
  • 100g soft goat’s cheese
  • 100g cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • dusting of grated Parmesan cheese

Ready, Steady, Bake:

Roll out the pastry and cut rounds to line the holes of the muffin tin. Place the pastry in the holes and put the tin in the fridge while preparing the filling

Cook the asparagus in boiling water for four minutes. Cut off the tips the length of the diameter of the tarts and chop the remainder of the spears and divide them among the pastry tarts. Crumble the cheese and place this on top, then add the eggs, seasoned and whisked with the cream.

Finish with two spears laid on the top of each tart and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cook for 20 minutes or more at 180ºC until the pastry is golden.

As the pastry has not been baked blind,  it is best to give the bases of the tartlets extra heat by placing the tin on the floor of the oven for the last minutes of cooking.

Best served warm.

Here’s how it turned out…

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And here’s the recipe book…

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Susan Williamson, who lives in Bath, has had an allotment for 25 years. The Allotment Kitchen is packed with recipes and ideas for using the fresh, seasonal vegetables she grows there – from traditional English classics to dishes influenced by European, Middle Eastern and Chinese cuisine – and peppered with personal observations and bits of fascinating info.  A great book for anyone who grows their own veg (or just likes to eat it).  She’ll be bringing her own homemade squash to Hunting Raven Books in Frome on Sunday 5 June, from 12pm but you can get her book through any good bookshop.

Recipe extracted from The Allotment Kitchen, by Susan Williamson, with illustrations by Carrie Hill. Text © Susan Williamson, illustrations © Carrie Hill 2015. SerenArts Publishing, £16.99.

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