Spring is the time of plans and projects.
~ Leo Tolstoy ~
Have I mentioned Tolstoy is among my favorites? True, his masterpieces are heavy in pages. Some could even kill an elephant, if launched, but he’s a true virtuoso of words with many wise thoughts hidden between pages.
True to his phrase, I believe spring above all else has the power to spark ideas. Something about longer days and greener scenes, that urges and moves to get up and get busy.
Which brings some exiting news, this little tart of mine graces the cover of the wonderful Lamų slėnis magazine, and if you master Lithuanian language there is an interview with me in the latest issue.
Speaking of spring, it’s also the time of asparagus. Precious and available far too briefly they are amongst the greatest gifts of this season, and if they weren’t delicious as they are, I’m sure I’d fill every vase within my reach to look at. Though given their universal culinary use, that would be a crime of some sort I suppose.
Having been blindly ignorant of their possibilities for longer than I dare to say out loud, whenever asparagus are now in season I eat enough to fill for whole coming year.
Mostly they are just great with vinaigrette (taken there’s a good kick from mustard within) but when occasions call upon they make for a pretty and delicious tart. With black pepper crust, caramelized onions and yogurt filling, it’s bound to become an instant favorite and will decorate any festive table. I have my mind set on serving it as starter for Easter, but since it’s great both warm and cold, it can be taken along for a picnic or sliced served as a canape during a party.
If you fancy asparagus and creamy tarts, I urge you to give this one a try.
To finish, I’m happy to announce the winners of my cookbook, I’ve pulled out of the hat (quite literally). Birute, Consuelo and Joyti, I’ll be in touch to deliver the book in the coming days!
- 200 grams flour
- 105 grams butter, cubed
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1-2 teaspoon cold water (optional)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup/250 ml Greek yogurt
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 oz/ 250 grams asparagus
- fresh thyme
- Start by making the crust, combine the butter with the flour, sugar, salt and pepper in the food processor. Pulse it for about 10 seconds, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add beaten egg and continue pulsing until the dough starts to stick together (another 30 seconds or so), if it doesn’t add a teaspoon of cold water.
- Remove the dough from food processor onto a working surface and using the palm of your hands press it together, do not knead. Wrap the dough in a cling film and put it to rest in a fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/392°F.
- Once rested unwrap, give a little knead for it to stick together and roll it out. Using your rolling pin transfer the rolled out dough into the tart case and gently press it in allowing a little dough to hand out and place it into a fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork. (do not prick before chilling!), place a baking parchment on top of the pastry and fill with beans or baking weights to prevent the pastry from rising and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking parchment with beans or baking weights and continue to bake for 10 minutes more.
- While the pastry is baking get your filling ready. Heat the oil in skillet and slowly cook the onion slices for about 10 minutes, until they start to caramelize then sprinkle with sugar and allow for another few minutes to caramelize fully.
- Beat the eggs with yogurt and season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and mustard.
- Once the pastry is out of the oven, spread caramelized onions, asparagus and fresh thyme. Pour over the eggs with yogurt and bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve hot or cold.