Asparagus, Leek, and Goat Cheese Tart

Exams are over! My housemates and I have survived an arduous week of writing paper, stressing out about tests, eating badly, and not sleeping. In other words: I haven’t been cooking all that much, and, when I have, it hasn’t been particularly good. My mom was kind enough to provide my friends and I with a giant tray of biryani and some salad, however, so our bodies don’t totally hate us.

In celebration of Senior Week and in anticipation of graduation, our house has been spending quite a bit of time together–cooking, watching movies, and just relaxing. Today, we decided to have a house picnic in one of the nearby parks. Ena made a wild rice salad; Doria made a quinoa salad with black beans and corn, and I contributed an asparagus, leek and goat cheese tart.

Tarts are one of those things that seem to intimidate a lot of people, but they are actually one of the easiest things to make. Plus, if you have a good recipe for the dough, the possibilities are endless, and you can make a wide variety of savory and sweet dishes. Once I made and chilled the dough, this dish came together really quickly, and the asparagus and leeks bring together some of the season’s best flavors.

I had a wonderful time at our picnic today, and I wish we had been able to have more of them this semester. I suppose that is what the summer is for… Here’s hoping it is a lot sunnier than spring has been!

Happy eating!

Asparagus, Leek, & Goat Cheese Tart
Adapted from Everyday Food’s Fresh Flavor Fast

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 6 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 2 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 leek
  • ¼ to ½ bunch of asparagus, cleaned and sliced into ¼ inch rounds (about 6 to 7 spears)
  • ¼ cup asiago, shredded
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  • First, make your dough. In a large bowl, combine your flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in your butter with a pastry blender or with two forks until only small, pea-size pieces remain. 

  • Add in your ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork until the dough is just moist enough that the crumbs stick together. Be careful not to overmix!
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a sheet of plastic wrap to form a disk. Wrap your dough and chill for at least an hour.
  • In the meantime, prepare your filling. In another bowl, mix together your goat cheese, cream cheese, egg yolks, salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix until smooth.

  • Chop the white part of your leek into thin rounds. Place in a bowl of cold water and allow to sit for a few minutes. This allows all the sediment trapped inside the leek to sink to the bottom of the bowl. After about five minutes, remove the leeks and dry. Set aside.
  • Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 10-inch tart pan and trim off any extra dough.
  • Beat the egg white and brush the tart shell. Bake in the oven for about 3 minutes, until the egg whites have set. This helps to keep the crust from getting too soggy.
  • Allow to cool for about five minutes, then, sprinkle half the asiago over the shell. Transfer your filling to the tart crust and spread evenly. Top with the chopped leeks and asparagus. Sprinkle the remaining asiago on top.

  • Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the leeks and asparagus are tender and the filling and crust just golden.
  • Serve warm.

Serves 8.

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