Tuesday, May 18, 2010

spring tart

No, this post isn't about that hot young thing that runs by your house wearing her undies in the guise of jogging attire. It's about something with most of the elements that make tarts so appealing--crispy, creamy, fresh, beautiful. Asparagus tart with cornmeal-thyme crust and a ricotta filling. I wish I could take a photo and show it to you because it actually looks food blog worthy, whereas most of my cooking leans towards the "oh-but-it-tastes-so-good" genre. Fanciful asparagus strikes a lovely pose against the ricotta filling, and the crust...well, let's just say the crust is worthy. Sturdy, simple, elegant.

Asparagus Tart
For the crust:
--1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
--1/2 c. stone-ground cornmeal
--1 1/4 tsp. salt
--4 oz. (8 T., 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
--1/4 c. ice water

Pulse dry ingredients in a food processor or mix by hand. Add butter cubes and pulse until mixture has a sandy texture. The butter should be in tiny pieces. With food processor running, pour water through the feed tube and process until the dough clumps together and wraps itself around the blade. Press into a 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan (I used a rectangular one, but round works too). Chill 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400. Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden. Cool crust completely in the tart pan.

For the filling:
--15 oz. container whole milk ricotta
--2 eggs
--2 T. lemon juice
--1 T. lemon zest
--salt and pepper to taste
--about 10-15 asparagus spears

Combine ricotta, eggs, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper. Beat by hand until all ingredients are well-mixed. Scrape filling into baked tart shell. Cut tough ends off asparagus and arrange the spears to suit your tastes. I laid mine lengthwise in neat rows. Bake for about 2o-30 minutes, or until the filling has set and has the faintest suggestion of browning.

Serve with lemon wedges.

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