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This recipe makes a unique appetizer or side dish.
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
10 stalks fresh asparagus, cleaned, woody stems removed
1/2 cup (1 3/8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or to taste
For the crust: In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening, mixing quickly and lightly with a pastry knife, a mixer or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center of the pastry, and add the water, egg yolk and vinegar. Mix until the dough just holds together, adding an additional tablespoon of water only if necessary; the more water you use, the tougher your crust will be.
Pat the dough into a 10 or 11-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Prick it all over with a fork. Bake it in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and let cool.
For the filling: In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the eggs and milk, then stir in the cheese, oregano and thyme. Slice six of the asparagus stalks, on the diagonal, into 3/4-inch pieces. Stir the sliced asparagus, mushrooms, and salt and pepper into the egg mixture.
Pour the filling into the crust. Place the remaining 5 stalks of asparagus in a fan pattern on top of the filling.
Bake the tart in a preheated 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until it's set. Remove the tart from the oven, and cool to lukewarm before removing the bottom. Yield 1 tart, 12 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1 wedge, 101g): 231 cal, 15g fat, 7g protein, 16g complex carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 143mg cholesterol, 288mg sodium, 135mg potassium, 4mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 112mg calcium, 110mg phosphorus.