In the Kitchen… Double Cheese and Spring Vegetable Tart

This light and savoury teatime tart has a wonderfully crisp base, and with local farm shop Bury Lane selling freshly picked asparagus this month, well, why wouldn’t you?!

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 8

500g block shortcrust pastry
plain flour, for dusting
25g mature cheddar, finely grated.
200g asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed.
100g frozen peas
2 eggs
100g crème fraîche
150g double cream
whole nutmeg, for grating
100g watercress
2 x 150g logs of soft, rindless goat’s cheese.


  • Take the pastry out of the fridge ten minutes before starting. Lightly dust the work surface with flour then roll the pastry out into a rectangle.
  • Scatter the grated cheese over the rolled-out pastry, fold the pastry in half and roll out again into a circle that fits a 25cm tart tin. Leave the edges of the pastry slightly overhanging the edge of the tin. Pop it in the fridge for 20 mins to chill.
  • Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling water for 3 mins, then drain and refresh under cold water. Defrost the frozen peas.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas 6. Prick the base of the tart well with a fork, line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or dried lentils. Bake the tart for 30 mins, remove the parchment and beans, prick again if it has puffed up, then bake for another 10-15 mins until golden brown.-
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl, add the crème fraîche and cream, season and add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Scatter the peas and most of the watercress over the tart and crumble over half the goat’s cheese. Pour over the creamy egg mixture, then lay the asparagus spears on top.
  • Finally, slice the remaining goat’s cheese and arrange on top, then bake for 25-30 mins until the custard is just set and the cheese is golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin, trim the edges of the pastry. Remove from the tin, cut into slices, and serve with the remaining watercress.
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