A heartfelt thank you for the beautiful sentiments and loving support on my Facebook pages, the Corgi Tales site, and personal emails received from friends and guests of these journals on our loss.
This is a filling savory tart so I would recommend it as a side. It would be a nice serve with a crisp white wine as an appetizer too. The phyllo pastry surrounding the Gruyere-custard and asparagus lends both a complimentary crisp texture, as well as adding to its aesthetics. Leftovers warm up well in the microwave!
The tart pan I used was rather long, so I arranged the spears to line up from both ends. It wouldn’t have hurt to try to fit more asparagus in between.
I always underestimate the time required to layer phyllo sheets, brushing it with butter in between each layer. It’s important to work quickly because the sheets will dry out. Plan your time accordingly for both the time it takes to layer and your comfortability in working with phyllo.
Mmmmm…it’s asparagus season!
- Used 1, 14 x 5 tart pan with a removable bottom. You can improvise and use a more squarish pan. Try to use a size that will benefit the usage of the asparagus spears and the size of your phyllo sheets.
- Conveniently, the phyllo sheets I used were from a 16-ounce package that was separated into two-8-ounce, individually wrapped portions. The sheets were perfectly sized for the sized pan I used so there was no need to cut it to fit the pan.
- Although you may be tempted to use puff pastry (and what isn’t good with puff pastry?), I feel it really would be over kill on the flavors of the asparagus and Gruyere in its eggy-custard. The phyllo lends a good balance. Also, the puff pastry would make this an even “heavier” tart.
- When baking, rotate the baking pan midway between baking times (both when uncovered and covered) for an even, golden baking result.
10-12 stalks asparagus, trimmed to even lengths
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound (8 ounces) phyllo sheets, thawed
1 cup Gruyere, grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add all the asparagus spears to the boiling water for 5-10 seconds to blanch them and then remove and submerge them in the ice water. Drain the asparagus from the ice water and pat dry. Set aside.
Brush a rectangle tart pan with melted butter and line it with a sheet of phyllo pastry. Brush top edges of the phyllo pastry with the melted butter, pressing the phyllo against the sides of the pan. Allow excess to hang over the edge of the pan as you continue layering by alternating the phyllo and then brushing butter along the sides and bottom of each sheet. Continue this until all the sheets have been used. With kitchen scissors, trim the excess so that it’s as flush to the edge of the pan as possible. Use any excess melted butter to brush along the top edges of the pastry to promote a golden color when baked.
Evenly distribute the Gruyere in the phyllo lined tart pan. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the eggs, cream and nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture over the Gruyere. Arrange the asparagus spears in a row on the tart. Salt and pepper to taste.
Place the tart pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake the tart uncovered for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover the center of the tart with parchment paper, taking care not to cover the the pastry with the parchment. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the custard/egg is set. Remove from the oven and allow the tart to set a couple of minutes before serving.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap.