Emily Watkins, a big fan of organic produce, has teamed up with Great British Chefs and the Organic Trade Board to show off beautiful spring produce in this tart recipe, using a classic pairing of asparagus and hollandaise to usher in the season. You don't have to use edible flowers to finish the dish, but they do add an extra flourish to the dish.
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First make the vinegar reduction. Add the vinegar, shallot, peppercorns and bay leaf to a pan and reduce over a medium heat until you are left with about 50ml liquid. Strain through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid
300ml of white wine vinegar
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf, torn
To make the shortcrust pastry, place the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (or you could do this is by pulsing in a food processor)
250g of plain flour
160g of butter, cold and diced
1 tbsp of milk
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
Whisk together the egg, milk and salt and add to the flour and butter. Bring the mixture together to form a dough, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes
Lightly flour the work surface then roll out the pastry to fit a 30cm fluted round tin with a removable base. The pastry should be 3-5mm thick. Leave the edges of the pastry bigger than the tin as it will shrink during cooking
Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and line with parchment paper or cling film. Fill with baking beads and blind bake in a pre-heated oven at 180˚C for 20 minutes
Remove the parchment and beans, then return to the oven for 10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown
Brush the pastry with egg wash and carefully trim the edges of the pastry with a sharp knife. Turn the oven down to 170°C/gas mark 3
To make the hollandaise, add the egg yolks, whole eggs and vinegar reduction to a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (a double boiler). Whisk until doubled in volume, then remove from the heat
4 egg yolks
Slowly add the cream, little by little until all incorporated, whisking continuously. Set aside until needed
500ml of double cream
Peel the asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes until tender. Refresh in iced water
20 asparagus spears
Pour the reserved hollandaise into the pastry case and position the blanched asparagus evenly across the tart. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is set
Leave the tart to cool completely before removing from the tin. Scatter with the chopped chives and edible flowers before serving
2 tbsp of chives, finely chopped
edible flowers, optional
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