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Prep time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

This tart makes a good starter, or a light lunch with a salad. You could even take it on a picnic or a fishing trip, or pack the kids off to school with one.


– 320g ready-rolled

all-butter puff pastry – 500g medium


– 30g grated mature

cheddar or Parmesan – 50g butter


Unroll the pastry sheet and cut it into four rectangles sized 10-12cm x 6-8cm (reserve the rest for another dish). Lay them on a baking sheet.

Cut four rectangles of cardboard the same length as the pastry pieces but 2cm narrower. Wrap each card in a layer of foil and place in the centre of the tarts. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Trim the asparagus spears to the length of the pastry pieces. Bring two pans of salted water to the boil, cook the tips for 3-4 minutes until tender then drain and refresh in cold water to stop them discolouri­ng. Cook the trimmings for about 7-8 minutes until soft, and then drain and coarsely blend in a liquidiser or food processor with the cheese and two-thirds of the butter. Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.

Bake the pastry bases (still topped with foil-topped card) for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden, then remove from the oven. Remove the foil rectangles and spread about a tablespoon of the asparagus purée in the middle of each tart (don’t overload them; save what’s left as a dip or sauce).

Lay the asparagus tips on top of the purée, keeping them as close together as you can. Reheat for a few minutes if necessary, melt the remaining butter and brush on the asparagus, and season with sea salt and pepper.

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