Asparagus, Pea & Tarragon in a Walnut Pastry Tart

There is so much in this tart in terms of flavour and texture which I absolutely love in a recipe – asparagus and tarragon have really lovely, strong flavours, not a pairing you would usually associate together but when placed in this tart against the egg and tangy feta cheese filling and the sweetness of the petit pois peas – it just works!  I have swapped the usual mustard for fermented miso paste for a umami, savoury and salty kick. I love to use nuts in pastry as it omits some of the flour, adds a delicious nutty flavour and texture.

This is a quiche brought into the 20’s from the 1970’s! Move over Quiche Lorraine!

Good to know:

  • The walnut pastry base can be made quickly in a food processor and it does not need to be rolled.  It can simply be pressed into the tart tin which I think makes things just that little bit easier.
  • This recipe happens to be gluten-free as I have used buckwheat flour but you can substitute the buckwheat for wholemeal if needed.
  • I find arranging the asparagus in the way that I have, enables you to get a few spears of that lovely asparagus per serving.
  • You could easily eat this on it’s own without any need for salads or sides as it ticks all the flavour and satiating boxes.  However, a peppery watercress and rocket salad with boiled baby new potatoes, creamy avocado slices and a simple vinaigrette dressing would work well together.
  • I have used Greek yoghurt in place for cream in this recipe to add some additional nutritional benefits from the bacterial cultures it contains.
  • You can serve this warm from the oven or the next day at room temperature.
  • You can bake the tart case the day before and finish the following day if needed.  Just cool fully after baking and store covered in the fridge with a piece of kitchen roll on top to soak up any moisture.
  • Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Serve with an extra scattering of fresh tarragon leaves and ground black pepper.
  • I did not add any extra salt to this recipe as the salty flavour comes from the miso paste and the feta cheese but salt to your personal taste.

 

 

Walnut Pastry Tart Base

Here’s what you will need;

  • organic, free-range egg yolk
  • walnuts
  • good quality butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • buckwheat flour

 

Place the walnuts into a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Add the flour and pulse a few times to combine.

Add the egg yolk and cold, cubed butter and 1 TBSP cold water.  Pulse a few times then add 2-3 more TBSP of cold water and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.  If will look quite crumbly at this stage but will come together more when you work the dough with your hands.

Place the mixture into a clean bowl.

Using clean hands, bring the dough together until you form a ball.  Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 mins to firm up.

After the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and place it into the tart tin.  Press the dough down and loosely with your fingers to distribute it over the tart case.

Now use a glass with a flat bottom to press the dough all over the tart tin until it evenly covers it across the bottom and sides.

Use you fingers to press the dough up the sides of the tin until the whole tin is covered.

Prick the base with a fork.

Place a piece of baking paper over the  tart base and cover with baking beads or dried beans.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C (fan) for 12-15 minutes.  Carefully remove the tin from the oven, take off the baking paper and the beans (be careful as they will be hot.  Place them in a heatproof bowl to cool down).

Return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.

 

Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool while you prepare the filling.

 

FILLING

This is what you will need for the filling;

  • thick Greek yoghurt
  • frozen peas
  • fermented miso paste (I use fresh miso which is stored in the fridge)
  • fresh tarragon
  • asparagus
  • shallots
  • organic free-range eggs
  • feta cheese

 

Begin by dicing the shallots and gently frying them in a little ghee or oil for 2-3 mins until starting to soften.  Set to one side.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, Greek yoghurt and miso paste together and stir through the peas and chopped tarragon.  Pour this mixture into the tart base.

Crumble the feta cheese into smaller chunks and scatter over the egg mixture.

Arrange the asparagus spears around the tart, laying on top in a circular shape as shown in the image.

Bake the tart in the oven at 160 degrees C (fan) for 30-35 mins or until the top is golden and the mixture has set to touch.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Asparagus, Pea & Tarragon in a Walnut Pastry Tart

The Balanced Kitchen
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
chilling 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine English

Ingredients
  

Walnut Pastry

  • 100 g walnuts
  • 200 g buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100 g cold butter cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-4 TBSP ice-cold water

Filling

  • 2 shallots diced
  • 1/2 TBSP ghee
  • 3 medium eggs whisked
  • 250 mls thick Greek yoghurt
  • 70 g feta cheese
  • 1/2 TBSP miso paste
  • 120 g petit pois peas
  • 130 g asparagus tips ends chopped to half dia of the tart tin
  • 7 g fresh tarragon removed from stalks

Instructions
 

Walnut pastry

  • You will need a 23cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin for this recipe.
  • Pulse the walnuts until finely ground.
    Add the flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine with the walnuts.
  • Add the butter, egg yolk and 1 TBSP of the ice-cold water and continue to process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
    Add 1 TBSP at a time of ice-cold water, until the breadcrumbs start to come together.
  • Place the mixture into a bowl and bring the dough together with clean hands.
    Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  • Take the dough from the fridge and place it into the tart tin. 
    Ease the dough out towards the sides of the tin, then use the bottom of a flat, clean glass to press the dough flat until it covers the bottom of the tart tin and then press it up the sides until you have created a base which is evenly spread across the bottom and sides. 
  • Use a fork to prick the pastry over the surface of the base and then chill the base for a further 30 minutes before baking to prevent shrinking.
  • When you are ready to bake the base, remove it from the fridge and cover the base with baking paper and fill with baking beads or dried beans.
    Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C (fan)for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove the baking beans and baking paper. 
    Return the base to the oven for 5 more minutes.
    Remove from the oven and leave to one side while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  • Place the diced shallots and ghee in a pan and gently cook until they soften for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the filling.
  • In a bowl, add the eggs and whisk together with the Greek yoghurt and miso paste before adding the cooked shallots. Stir through the frozen peas. Pour this mixture onto the prepared walnut crust base.
  • Roughly break up the feta cheese using your hands and scatter over the egg mixture.
  • Cut the asparagus tips to the size of half the diameter of your tart tin. Distribute the asparagus tips onto the tart, starting from the middle and working your way round the whole tart until covered.
  • Bake the tart in the oven for 30 minutes or until the filling is set.
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