A Gift From a Very Special Friend and WCC No. 12!
|I have been just waiting for the perfect opportunity to share with yous this:|
This was a completely unexpected surprise that I received in my mailbox last month, around my birthday! My dear, sweet friend, Ivonne, sent me this package of some excellent Canadian cooking magazines, two adorably printed packages of cocktail napkins and a tart (or quiche) pan! I've wanted this pan for soooooo long and she knew I wanted one and she sent me one. I didn't know what to say.. I still can't find the exact words to express how special she has made me feel and how grateful I am to her for sending such a lovely present with a special message inside the cute, glittery card. Again, Ivonne, thank you! Thank you, so much! =)
And so, this perfect opportunity has arisen. The lovely Sara's WCC No. 12 - Party Foods! What better party food than a scrumptious tart, yes? There are sweet tarts and savory tarts, tarts made with mousse and tarts made with fresh berries and fruit. There are delectable tarts made of fresh veggies and tarts made of chocolate! The possibilities are endless and I think I've managed to link to most of the reasons why I've wanted a tart pan so badly! hee!
With an incredible craving for asparagus this past week, I decided that I needed to find a recipe for a savory tart that featured asparagus. I searched high and low through my cookbooks to no avail and then all over the interweb until I happened upon a new site to me, Food Down Under. A pretty cool site, featuring cuisine from all over the world. Catagorized by either country or type of dish, finding tart recipes was a breeze.. finding tart recipes featuring asparagus was even easier! There were a few to choose from, but I settled upon this one. I liked the idea of a crust made from phyllo dough and the cheeses included in the ingredient list were pretty mild, so I knew the asparagus would shine through. And that it did. =)
Asparagus Tart No. 182
Courtesy of Food Down Under
12 sheets phyllo pastry
2 TBS. butter
1 lb. asparagus
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup marscarpone cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS. chives
2 TBS. parsley
1 TBS. chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 TBS. bread crumbs - plain or seasoned
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Melt the butter and lightly brush a 9 inch deep pie plate or quiche tin. Set aside.
Open the phyllo pastry on a flat work surface and brush a little butter around the edges of 1 sheet, brushing a 'zigzag' of butter up and down the sheet of pastry. Place another sheet on top and butter as before. Fold these two sheets in half (so that you have a four sheet depth) then place this in the prepared tin, hanging over the edge slightly and covering part of the sides and base.
Repeat with the remaining sheets of pastry, buttering and folding as before and placing in the tin until the base and sides are totally covered. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then allow to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 350º F.
Trim the asparagus so that each spear is 3 inches long then slice all the remaining offcuts of asparagus finely. Cook the asparagus spears in a pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes then drain well on kitchen paper.
Mix together the milk, marscarpone cheese, eggs, cheese, chives, parsley, tarragon and salt in bowl then season with pepper. Add the finely sliced asparagus off-cuts and mix well.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of dry breadcrumbs over the base then pour the cheese custard into the tin. Arrange the asparagus spears in a circular fashion on top of the custard, tips towards the edge and ends meeting in center.
Bake until tart puffs well and the top browns, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly
This tart was delicious. It was creamy and had a great crunch thanks to the crispy phyllo dough. The taste of asparagus paired beautifully with the mascarpone and parmigiano reggiano cheeses. It was very easy to make and I had it done within an hour. This tart can be served warm or at room temperature. Perfect for parties! It's quite pretty too, isn't it? :D
The only thing I changed in this recipe was to roast the asparagus instead of boiling it. And the only thing I would change the next time I make the recipe is to omit the tarragon. I could do without it.
Now I would like to apologize to Sara for getting this recipe in so late! She's already got the round-up posted - go check it out, the submissions are fabulous! And I'd like to once again thank my friend, Ivonne, for much more than a wonderful birthday present, but for just being my friend. =)
Okay enough with the mooshiness.. I'm going to bed. :P