I found this recipe a long time ago in a magazine (unfortunately I don’t remember what magazine, so I am not taking credit for this recipe, but I made a few changes to it, so it’s a little healthier). I have been making it a few times a year, especially in spring, when the asparagus is in season.
When asparagus goes on sale, I buy it in bulk and freeze for future use (clean, cut and cook before freezing, so that later I only have to defrost it and use in the recipe- always works wonderfully!). I tried store bought frozen asparagus- didn’t like it, as there are always quite a few tough, not chewable peaces.
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoon cold butter
2 Tablespoons cold coconut oil
3-5 Tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 lb fresh asparagus
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1 cup whole milk (the original recipe calls for cream, but I have been using milk)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 lb ham, julienned or cubed (to your liking)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For more dramatic presentation, use a 10 inch tart form, or just a pie plate (your tart (or in that case- pie!) will be a little smaller but thicker). Wrap foil over the bottom of the tart pan if your pan has removable sides. If not, don’t worry about it!
Cut the asparagus into 2 1/2 inch pieces. Set tips aside, cut remaining pieces in half.
Cook all of the asparagus in a small amount of water until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.
In a food processor or a bowl, combine flour, caraway seeds and salt
Cut in butter and coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle with water, 1 Tablespoon at a time
until dough will be easily formed into a ball. Check with your fingers.
On a flowered surface, roll dough to fit a pie plate. Put dough in a plate, prick with a fork, and freeze it for 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and egg yolk.
Gradually add milk (mixture will be slightly lumpy, don’t worry).
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add salt and pepper.
Beat an egg white a little, and brush the dough so it doesn’t get soggy. Place ham and asparagus pieces (not tips) over crust
Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over the top.
Place a cookie sheet under the tart plate to catch any drippings (if any). Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 375 F. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture over top.
Arrange asparagus tips on top of tart, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Start checking after 30 minutes (if you are using a pie plate it might take a little bit longer, up to 50 minutes, but the ovens vary, so keep an eye on it). I was glad I wrapped the bottom of the form in foil, as it leaked a little, but all remained in:)
Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
And here is how it looks in a pie plate
Put a dollop of sour cream (or plain yogurt) on top!