A Cheeky Tart

For a lighter, summery dinner last night, devoured in front of some trashy tv – masterchef australia repeats (for me!) and the Kardashians (for Elix!) i made an asparagus and bacon tart with a rocket, onion and tomato salad on the side.
We are having our kitchen floor re-tiled at the moment and so all of my hundreds of foodie magazines were underneath piles of appliances so i embraced good old bbc good food for some inspiration.
I know all of my recipe books so well that i wanted to try something new, easy and a bit different to the goats cheese and red onion tarts or tomato, courgette and mozzerella tarts which so often frequent cookbooks.
After Elix gave some ideas the smackdown including a tuna, olive and pepper tart, mushroom and courgette tart and tomato and pesto we settled on the asparagus and bacon one.
As i had been at work and the kitchen is somewhat a messy nightmare i took the easy option of ready rolled puff pastry – to be honest its so hot in London at the moment making homemade puff pastry would have been a nightmare and Mary Berry says its ok to buy so i dont feel bad about it!
Anyway – i thought i would share this recipe with you as it really was delicious, light for a summer’s evening, tasty with the salty bacon, fresh asparagus and a tangy, creamy cheese base – plus, it made for a mean packed lunch today!!
As i said the recipe was from bbcgoodfood.com – we portioned ours into 4 very generous portions but it could easily do 6 especially if served with a more substantial side salad or some potatoes.
1 packet ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg beaten
100g bacon – cubed
100g Ricotta Cheese
80g Mascarpone Cheese
Zest of one Lemon
1tbsp chopped chives
1tbsp chopped mint
1tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Roll out the pastry onto a paper-lined tray. Prick the bottom with a fork all over leaving 1cm around the edge as is. Brush the edge with the egg and pop into the oven for 15 minutes until golden.
Fry the bacon in some olive oil until slightly crispy – keep the oil as you will need it later (i forgot to do this!)
Meanwhile – mix the ricotta, mascarpone, lemon zest, herbs and half the parmesan together. The mixture should be light and creamy with a little zesty lemony punch and a subtle fragrance from the herbs – i especially liked the mint here.
Take the pastry out of the oven – smooth down the middle which will have puffed up and spread the cheese mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle the bacon bits and then neatly line the asparagus on top. Scatter the remaining parmesan over the top and drizzle with the leftover bacon-oil. This should be a light drizzle – no-one likes a greasy tart!
Pop back in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the asparagus is tender and pastry cooked all the way through.
As i said, i served with a simple leafy salad which worked well as it didnt conflict with the flavours on the tart and the tomatoes provided a sweet, sharpness which was a good balance to the creamy cheese base.
I think this tart would also work well with tenderstem broccoli and maybe also some basil so will be trying that soon!

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