Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bacon, Asparagus & Mozzarella Tart

I can't bring myself to say Flan. Even though this is, technically, a flan. It doesn't sound British enough and tart is just better. More fun.

And this is a serious tart.

Anyway, I digress. I'm so happy, that you're so happy, to see bacon again. I am of course presuming that you love bacon; if not, you may be in the wrong place; but let me enlighten you. 

I had some filo left over and couldn't bare the thought of not making good use of it. I then bought some bacon, absentmindedly, as one often does, and a cucumber. After I had my tarty brainwave (see, 'flanny' would never work) I had to (regretfully) leave the cucumber untouched and gather the other wonderful tart-appropriate ingredients together. And oh how glad I am that I did.

AGAIN, you can make a mini version. Mini tarts. What a thought. Though they are a little too moreish, dangerously so in fact, so it might be better to prepare in advance and cook them as the occasion arises, and not before hand, so as to ensure full tartlette attendance.

Bacon, Asparagus & Mozzarella Tart

Quantities: The big tart serves about 4. With the minis - you can work it out.

Timings: About 45 mins

Kitchen Stuff: tart tin, or a saucepan


Preheat the oven to 180C. 
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed.
5 rashers smokey bacon
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
25g cornflour
300ml/½ pint semi-skimmed milk (or full fat if you're a fatty)
3 free-range eggs, beaten
40g extra-mature Cheddar, grated
1 ball of Mozzarella, cut into medium chunks
1- 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
4-5 sheets filo pastry

Asparagus Trimming (what a hobby): Hold your asparagus at the stubby end and in the middle and gently snap - it will snap where it's supposed to and you can get rid of the woody ends.

If you haven't already, preheat the oven to 180C. 

1. SPAZAGUS: Steam or boil the asparagus until just tender, rinse under cold water immediately then pat dry and pop in a bowl.

2. BACON: Cut your bacon into little strips then add to a frying pan with your onion and gently fry until your onion is lightly browned and your bacon is deliciously crisp. Add it to the asparagus.

3. GREASE LIGHTNING: Grease your tart tin. If you don't have a tart tin, you can use a saucepan like I did (not too deep a pan, shallow and wide is better for quicker cooking.)
                                                            Tart tin looks a bit like this ->

4. FILOSOPHY: Place a sheet of filo pastry in the tart tin, pressing it against the base and sides. Using a pastry brush (or the back of a spoon), brush the pastry with some olive or rapeseed oil then cover with a second pastry sheet at a right angle to the first. Brush with more oil and cover with a third sheet at the same angle to the first, then a fourth at the other angle.  Tra la.

5. SAUCY: Put the cornflour in a non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and stir in 50ml of the milk, make a paste. Pour over 200ml milk and continue stirring. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Add a small handful of cheddar (about 20g), mix in and cook until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season with some flaky salt and ground black pepper. Take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the milk to thin slightly.

6. EGGS: Stir in the beaten eggs until properly mixed in. 

7. MIX: Add your mozzarella chunks to the asparagus/bacon magic. Scatter half the magical bacony mix over the base of the pastry case and pour the sauce on top. Scatter the remaining mozzarella/bacon mix on top and press it down a little, then sprinkle the rest of the cheddar on top. 

8: BAKE: Whack it in the oven and bake on the preheated baking tray in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned and crisp and the filling is set. As you can see I like mine crispy.

Take the tart out of the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm or cold. Mmmm.

MINI ME's: For the little 'uns, use a cupcake/muffin tin and bake for about 10 mins. Once you've got your little filo stars (same method as the big pastry case but with small squares you've cut), put a little of each ingredient in, then a spoonful of mixture, and there you go. Bake for 10 mins or so and make sure people don't get over excited and burn their mouths.