Serve this tart warm or cold, as a light lunch or a starter. Make the most of the English asparagus season—it starts in May and only lasts for six weeks
- 350g (12oz) shortcrust pastry
- 225g (8oz) asparagus spears
- 175g (6oz) fresh peas
- 150ml (1/4pt) double cream
- 100ml (4fl oz) milk
- 3 medium eggs
- 15ml (1tbsp) fresh chopped mint
- 15ml (1tbsp) fresh chopped parsley
- 30ml (2tbsp) finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a lightly greased
30 x 20cm (12 x 8in) loose-based flan tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and chill for 30 mins.
Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake blind* for 10 mins. Remove paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden. Leave to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
Meanwhile, steam the asparagus spears and peas in a steamer attachment, or metal colander set over a pan of simmering water, for 4-5 mins until almost tender. Refresh under cold running water and drain well. Cut each asparagus spear into 2-3 shorter lengths.
Place the asparagus and peas in the pastry case. Beat together the cream, milk, eggs, mint and parsley and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the egg mixture gently into the flan case. Lift the tips of the asparagus spears out of the egg mixture a little. Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese if using.
Bake the tart on a hot baking sheet for 25-30 mins until filling is set and golden.
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If fresh peas aren't available, use frozen ones. Instead of steaming them, just plunge into boiling water for a minute and drain well.