… but woe betide the impertinence of an untidy batch – right, Salmon?
Asparagus tartlets – tartellette agli asparagi
Inspired by The National Trust Complete Country Cookbook (Laura Mason), these bite-sized mini-tartlets are simple to make and easy to eat. For the filling you will need: 500g asparagus, 35g butter, 3 small/medium egg yolks, 30g grated parmesan and seasoning. For the pastry: 310g plain flour, 70g lard cubed, 70g butter cubed, salt and 6–8 tbsp ice cold water.
Start by making the pastry: in a food processor put the flour, pinch of salt, butter and lard and run the blades until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little water and whizz again, gradually adding more water until the pastry comes together. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the filling: wash and trim the asparagus, place in a steamer and steam until just about tender. Cut off the tips (to fit the mini-tartlet mould – this is when the ruler might help…) and reserve them for later. Put the rest of the asparagus in the food processor, blitz to a puree, add the melted butter and the parmesan, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the egg yolks and mix well.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll thinly, it should be enough for 15–20 mini-tartlets. Choose a suitable round cutter to make circles and use these to line your tin. Share out the asparagus filling and then decorate each tartlet with a couple of perfectly proportioned and artfully placed tips.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C for 15–20 minutes until golden and serve warm as a delicious starter or as part of a finger food buffet. Truly a neat little treat for the discerning palate…