Makes 8 tartlets
250g fresh broad bean pods
50g fresh or frozen peas
50g gruyer cheese grated
50g Black Forest ham – or other cooked ham – chopped
100ml double cream
1.5 tbs chopped fresh chives
3 sheets ready-made filo pastry
50g unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
These tartlets are based on an eggs and cream filling. The ratios of eggs to cream is interesting: without cream you get an omlette, with the cream, the mix will become a set custard, with more cream you end up with a custard sauce. I’ve got my filling at somewhere around a quiche setting, using a ration of 2 parts cream to 3 parts eggS and yolkS – so just over half cream to eggs if your guessing… In a classic quiche Lorraine only bacon is added to the mix – but why not add whatever you like? I’ve added ham and cheese and a mix of spring vegetables. The filo is a good alternative to pasty and on balance is probably easier.
1. For the asparagus, trim the stalk and peel the spears, rinse and boil in water for 3 minutes until firm but tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again on kitchen paper. When drained slice diagonally into 3cm lengths. Set the tips aside.
2. Boil the podded beans for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water and drain again. Then peel the beans. Set aside. For the peas boil fresh for about 3 minutes and for frozen put into boiling water and heat on high for about a minute. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Set aside.
3. To complete the filling, whisk the eggs and cream and mix in the cut asparagus stalks, ham, cheese, beans, peas and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4.
5. To make the tartlet cases, take a sheet of pastry and fold in the side edges to meet at the middle, then fold in the edges again. Finally fold one side over again. Then cut across the pastry strip (perpendicular to the folds) into even thirds. These will form the pastry sheets for three tartletts. Now cut each of the three pieces along the folds to make three stacks of four pastry sheets. cover with a damp cloth to avoid the pastry drying out. Keep the remaining pastry sheets in their wrapper and store in the fridge. Use a deep muffin baking tray to form the tartlets, but before working with the pastry find a condiment bottle that will sit comfortably and fill the base of a muffin indentation. Then brush butter into eight of the indentations. Next, brush butter over a pice pastry from one of the three stacks, brush another piece in the same way and lay over the first at right angles. Butter the other two pieces in the same way and lay one stack ontop of the other at right angles. You should be left with a stack of four buttered pastry sheets. Take the complete stack and lay over a buttered recess pushing down to centre the pastry over the recess. Then take your condiment bottle and push the pastry down all the way into the indentation. Repeat for the other tartlets.
6. Mix and spoon the filling mix into each of the cases and add an asparagus tip ontop. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the edeges of the filo are lightly browned and the mix is just set. If the pasty is burning before the filling sets, turn the heat to low and continue cooking.
7. Serve warm with a green salad.