Asparagus, Basil and Fromage Frais Tart

The filling, made with the fromage frais, has a pleasant tang that goes well with the assertive flavours of asparagus and fresh basil.

Preparation time: 50 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time Cooking time: 40 minutes to 50 minutes Serves: 5 - 6


For the filling
50g freshly grated Parmesan
2 x 250g bundles asparagus
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 salad onions, finely sliced
2 packs fresh basil, leaves only, roughly chopped, plus a few sprigs to garnish
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
500g tub La Faiselle Fromage Frais, drained
142ml pot double cream
2 large eggs, beaten

For the pastry
175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g chilled butter
25g freshly grated Parmesan
1 large egg yolk


Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a food processor, and add the butter and Parmesan and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1½ tbsp cold water and process until the dough leaves the side of the bowl. Gather into a ball, wrap in clingfilm or foil and chill for up to 1 hour.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board and use to line a 23cm loose-bottomed flan tin, about 5cm deep. Place a sheet of foil over the top and sides of the pastry base. Fill with baking beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, then bake for a further 5-8 minutes until firm and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, trim the tough ends from the asparagus (don't throw them away - you can use them for soup), then boil in salted water or steam until just tender. Drain well, then cut into 5cm lengths. Scatter the salad onions over the base of the pastry shell, then arrange the asparagus, most of the basil and half the pine nuts in the pastry case.

Beat together the fromage frais, cream and eggs. Season, then beat in most of the Parmesan. Pour the mixture over the filling. Tuck in the remaining basil, and scatter with the rest of the pine nuts and Parmesan.
Cook for 40-50 minutes, or until the filling is golden and just firm. Serve warm, garnished with basil sprigs, with a sliced tomato salad.

Recipe courtesy of Waitrose
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