May is the month for freshly picked UK asparagus. The UK season only lasts for six weeks, from the beginning of May until mid June, then we rely on imports from as far away as Peru. Many chefs regard the flavour and texture of UK asparagus as the best in the world. So make the most of it while you can buy it in the shops. This tart is easy and quick to make and combines two vegetables that come into season at the same time.
1 sheet of puff pastry measuring 23cm by 30 cm
120 g strong flavoured hard cheese, grated
a tsp chopped fresh chives or parsley (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
a handful peas, fresh or frozen
1 bunch of asparagus, steamed for 5 minutes until tender
fresh thyme to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, 400F
Cut the pastry sheet into four rectangles and score 1cm in from the edge of each piece. Using a knife score diagonal line around the edges of each piece of pastry without cutting through. This will allow the sides of the flan to rise. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Place all four rectangles of pastry onto the baking tray.
Add the grated cheese and chives to the beaten egg season with pepper and salt and mix well.
Spoon a little of the cheese and egg mixture onto each of the four pieces of pastry. Do not worry if a little of the filling mixture runs off the sides. Scatter a few peas over each flan and top with spears of asparagus.
With a pastry brush, brush a little of the egg mixture over the edges of the flan case.
Place the baking tray with the flans in the oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
Garnish with finely chopped thyme, chives or parsley. Serve with a salad and new potatoes.
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