This is a beautiful tart to celebrate asparagus season. You can substitute courgette or cherry tomatoes.
Make the shortcrust pastry according to the method and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes before using.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and line your tart tin with it, making sure the edge of the pastry stands just a little proud above the rim. Trim the edges, then prick the base with a fork and return it to the fridge for a further 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – it will help prevent shrinkage in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and put a baking sheet in to heat up. Remove your tin from the fridge, line with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake on the hot baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans, brush with beaten egg yolk and bake for a further 10–15 minutes or until golden. Remove and let cool, then carefully remove the tin.
For the filling, beat together the ricotta and crème fraîche and stir in the Parmesan, dill, lemon zest and juice and a little salt and pepper. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the asparagus and broad beans for 2–3 minutes or until just tender, then drain and run under the cold tap to stop them cooking further. Squeeze the beans from their skins.
Once the tart case is completely cool, spoon in the creamy filling and arrange the asparagus and broad beans on top. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and brush or drizzle over the tart. Scatter with lemon zest and serve in thick slices.
What you need:
1 quantity of ready-made shortcrust pastry
A little plain flour, for dusting
1 egg yolk, beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon, to serve
For the filling:
250g ricotta cheese
150g crème fraîche
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 small bunch of fresh dill, leaves chopped
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
200g asparagus spears, woody ends removed
75g podded fresh or frozen broad beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
From The Higgidy Cookbook by Camilla Stephens (£16.99, Quercus at £16.99). For more information visit higgidy.co.uk.