Asparagus, pancetta and goats cheese tart (with pâte brisée)

Asparagus, pancetta and goats cheese tart
Asparagus, pancetta and goats cheese tart

More than three months into Project Pastry and I’ve realised I haven’t posted any savoury tart doughs.

The two classic shortcrust tart doughs (made with no or little sugar) are pâte brisée and pate á foncer.

According to Google translate (!), pâte brisée translates as “broken pastry” which is the perfect description for this rich, crumbly dough. It has a high ratio of butter to flour which gives it a crumbly texture and buttery flavour.

Pate á foncer is a bit sturdier and has a crisper texture so great to use if you aren’t serving the tart straight away.

They can generally be used interchangeably, and are sometimes the preferred crust for sweet tarts not needing an extra sugar hit (think apple pie).

I decided to make the most of the asparagus which is in great supply at the moment (3 bunches for $4) and matched it with smoked pancetta and goats cheese.

This was all combined with a basic egg/cream base to give a posh version of a quiche.

Pâte brisée courtesy of Michel Roux
250g (1 and ¾ cup) all-purpose flour
150g (2/3 cup) butter cut into small pieces and slightly softened
1 tsp salt
Pinch of superfine sugar
1 medium egg
1 tbsp cold milk

Heap the flour and make a well. Put in butter/salt/sugar/egg and mix together with fingertips.

Draw flour in and work dough until it has grainy texture.

Add milk.

Use palm of your hand, work the dough by pushing it away from your 4-5 times until smooth.

Roll into a bowl, wrap in plastic and chill until ready to use.

Asparagus, pancetta and goats cheese tart
Asparagus, pancetta and goats cheese tart

Asparagus, pancetta and goats cheese tart
1 quantity pâte brisée dough
200g goats cheese
100g smoked pancetta, cubed
30 asparagus spears
1 medium egg
2 egg yolks
1 cup cream

Blind bake the pâte brisée at 190 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.

Fry the pancetta until golden and crisp. Set aside.

Cook the asparagus spears in boiling water until just done. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking, then lay out on paper towel to dry. Trim the spears down to the width of the tart tray.

Whisk together the egg, egg yolks and cream. Crumble the goats cheese into the egg mix and season with pepper (you won’t need salt).

Sprinkle the pancetta across the base of the tart then pour over the egg, cream and cheese mix.

Place the asparagus spears on top of the mixture.

Cook at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned. Cool for 20 minutes until the mixture has set then serve.

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