I made this tart some time ago now but have only just gotten round to posting it; I say tart, but quiche may be a more accurate name given that it has an egg filling. Opinions seem to be vague and varied on the exact definition of each; a quiche must have an egg filling, a tart can have an egg filling but doesn’t have to seems to be the bottom line. Either way and whatever you want to call it, this tart/quiche is absolutely delicious and incredibly beautiful.
This asparagus, pea and feta cheese tart makes perfect use of that most iconic of spring vegetables – asparagus, along with seasonal peas and spring onions. The vegetables are paired with a creamy egg filling, salty feta cheese, fresh herbs and crisp parmesan pastry. It makes for an incredibly delicious and beautiful tart which is good eaten both warm or cold. It makes a wonderful lunch served alongside a fresh salad and some crusty bread, preferably eaten outside in the sunshine!
If you are making this tart for vegetarians be sure to use a vegetarian alternative to the parmesan (often labelled as ‘Italian style hard cheese’).
I originally made this asparagus, pea and feta cheese tart for DIYs, check them out for some awesome craft and recipe ideas.
Asparagus, Pea And Feta Cheese Tart
- 250 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 140 g (1 + 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter cubed
- 40 g (2/3 cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative)
- 1 large egg separated
- about 2-3 Tbsp ice cold water
- 4 large eggs
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
- 125 g (1/2 cup) low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 200 g (7oz) feta cheese crumbled
- 40 g (2/3 cup) freshly grated parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
- small handful fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 4 spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced
- 400 g (14oz) asparagus (about 23 spears)
- 140 g (1 cup) peas fresh or frozen
- salt and pepper
To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a large bowl; add the butter and rub in using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the parmesan then the egg yolk (reserve the white to use later). Gradually add enough cold water to bring the mixture together into a stiff dough. Form it into a disc then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
Roll the chilled dough out thinly on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 20x30cm/12x8in rectangular tart tin. Press it right into the corners and up the sides; leave any excess pastry overhanging. Prick the base all over with a fork and place in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Line the chilled tart case with a sheet of baking parchment and fill with ceramic baking beans or dry rice. Make sure they go all the way into the corners and prop up the edges. Place the tart on the hot baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking beans and baking parchment and brush the base all over with the reserved egg white (this helps 'seal' the pastry and prevent the filling from making it go soggy).
Return the tart case to the oven for 10 minutes until the base is golden then remove from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes then use a sharp serrated knife to carefully trim off the excess pastry from around the edge.
While the pastry is baking prepare the filling. Trim the ends off the asparagus so that they are the same length as the width of the tart tin. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the asparagus and peas, simmer for a couple of minutes until the asparagus is just tender then drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large jug, whisk together the eggs, cream and yogurt. Mix in the crushed garlic, grated parmesan, chopped mint, thyme, sliced spring onions and some salt and pepper then add the feta and peas.
Turn the oven temperature down to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Pour the filling into the tart case and make sure it is level. Arrange the asparagus spears down the middle of the tart, alternating which direction the tip faces. Bake the tart for about 40 minutes, until it is set in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.