Spinach, Asparagus and Goats Cheese Tart
PREP TIME: 30mins
COOKING TIME: 60mins
A tart to celebrate S P R I N G !
Buttery spelt pastry and a ‘to-die-for’ filling of mascarpone, asparagus and goats cheese.
The perfect picnic food so gather some friends, chill some wine and roll on warm spring days.
I love how the little peas ‘pop’ in your mouth with every bite and the leftover tart makes lovely leftovers.
Don’t be alarmed by the long method below, I am just being thorough. Both the filling and the pastry is easy to make.
To ensure the pastry doesn’t go soggy remember to drain the spinach really (really) well, the best way is to squeeze the cooled spinach in your hands until the spinach is completely dry. (See kitchen note below).
Getting Ahead: the pastry shell can be made a day ahead and you can also freeze the pastry shell up to 1 month ahead.
Seasonal Swaps: you can use any spring greens in the recipe, like chard or kale, moisture removed, just as you would the spinach. You can use broad beans instead of peas.
Zero Waste: you can make a delicious pavlova (recipe soon) with the egg whites!
This rich tart dish is delicious served with a simple green salad on the side.
What you'll need:
- 20cm tart tin with a removable base
- square baking paper sheet roughly the size of your tin and
- baking beans (I use a combination of dry beans)
- 200g English spinach, cooked, drained and chopped (see note)
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/4 cup freshly shelled peas (opt)
- 250ml mascarpone
- 100ml single cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- lots of black pepper
- 100g chevin goats cheese
- 200g wholemeal spelt flour
- 100g cold butter, cut into pieces
- a good pinch of salt
- 1-3 tablespoons ice cold water
- Pastry: by hand – put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using your hands work the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Using a knife to stir, start by adding 1 teaspoon, of water at a time to bring the pastry together until a soft dough forms.
- If using a food-processor add the flour, butter and salt and process until the dough resembles breadcrumbs, adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time, pulse until the dough comes together, you should not need more that 3 tablespoons. Tip: pinch some dough together, if it comes together easily and holds, the dough is ready.
- Dust your work surface lightly with flour, put the dough on the surface and form into a flat disk, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 18oc.
- For the filling, unless your asparagus is young and tender, take off the white woody bases and slice the spears very thinly crossways, leaving just the very tips intact.
- Remove the dough from the fridge & unwrap. Using the course side of a grater, grate the dough into the tart dish and lightly press into the tin, starting with with sides making sure the case is well covered with the dough. Prick all over with a fork and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. (see kitchen note). You can also roll the dough instead of grating if that seems easier to you.
- Blind baking: Remove the tart, scrunch up your baking paper and place in the pastry case, add the beans and lightly move the beans so they cover the whole area inside the case including the sides. Bake blind for 15/20 minutes, have a peak, the pastry should not have any raw or grey spots, continue to bake until the pastry appears ‘sandy’ and dry. Carefully remove the baking paper and the beans and bake for another 15 minutes uncovered until a light golden. The pastry is now ready to be filled. Keep the tin on the baking tray.
- For the filling, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, spinach, mascarpone and cream together. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into the prepared pastry case.
- Top with asparagus and the peas. Crumble the goat’s cheese and dot over the surface, so that some pieces stick out. Bake into the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the top of the tart is golden and the mixture is fully cooked – to check, insert a metal skewer into the centre, and if it doesn’t smear, the tart is done.
- Remove the tart and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes, carefully remove the tart from the case. The tart is now ready to serve! Enjoy!
Draining Spinach from excess water:
Another way to ensure the spinach is completely dry, wrap the cooked spinach in a tea towel and twist to release all the excess water. Yes, its a mess and I would not recommend doing this for a small amount of spinach but for a large amount and in a dish where pastry is involved, I would want to make sure there is absolutely no liquid.
Rules of Pastry 101:
- The number one rule of any pastry is everything needs to be kept cold. (surface, water and butter.
- Don’t handle the pastry too much
- Chill after handling (rolling, folding & lining of a pasty case)
- Blind bake from chilled.