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Asparagus-Goat Cheese Tart

You can prepare this tart in a 9-inch square pan, as instructed below, or in a 9 1/2-inch round pan. For a round pan, use only 3/4 lb. asparagus. The tart is delicious served at room temperature, so it is ideal for a brunch buffet. Or enjoy it for dinner with a tossed green salad.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into
     1-inch pieces
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed,
     skin peeled
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt, to taste, plus 1⁄2 tsp.
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1⁄3 cup milk
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. chopped mixed fresh herbs, such
     as rosemary and thyme
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

To make the pastry, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the flour and salt and beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the butter and continue beating until pea-size crumbs form, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the water 1/2 Tbs. at a time and continue beating, adding more water as needed, until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together to form a 5-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness to fit a 9-inch square tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang around the rim. Fold in the excess dough and press it into the sides so they are thicker than the bottom. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Line the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the shell is set, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and continue baking until the shell is golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, nutmeg and herbs. Pour into the cooled tart shell. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the goat cheese. Arrange the asparagus spears lengthwise across the tart in a single layer. Sprinkle with the remaining goat cheese.

Bake until the tart is golden around the edges and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 9.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.