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My very favourite party contribution. Quick, versatile, pretty and yummy! Perfect for the culinarily challenged or time pressed. Serve straight from the oven or cold from a picnic basket. Make 1 large tart, several individual tarts or bite sized canapés ….. it really is simply quite wonderful.
One big tart
1. Preheat oven to 200º C.
2. Combine goat cheese, zest, garlic and tarragon with a fork.
3. Trim 2cm from each edge of puff pastry sheet. Roll out the remaining puff pastry sheet until it is a bit bigger. Place one of the trimmed off strips of pastry around each edge – you are making a double layer pastry border, like a picture frame. Then, prick the interior of the rectangle with a fork to keep it from puffing up as much as the outer border.
4. Bake in a moderately-hot oven (200º C) until lightly golden. Remove and place little crumbles of your goat cheese mix within the border of the tart. Pat it down a little.
5. Trim the asparagus spears so that you remove the tough ends and make them about the same length as the tart interior. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer over the cheese, alternating direction so it looks pretty.
6. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven, sprinkle evenly with gruyere cheese and put back in over for about 5 minutes.
One bite canapés
Replace the puff pastry sheet with a packet of pretty and perfect pre-prepared cases (or make your own if you are Deidre, my very talented mother, and just must!).
1. Preheat oven to 200º C.
2. Trim the asparagus and chop into ½ - 1 cm rounds - a bit larger for the spears.
3. Gently fry asparagus with olive oil and garlic over moderate heat 3-5 minutes.
4. Mix in tarragon and lemon zest (or juice) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and remove it from the heat. Let it sweat and cool. *
5. Stir in the cheeses with a wooden spoon (I do this straight into the frying pan).
6. Spoon the mixture onto the cases, topping each with a touch more goats cheese if desired, and bake on baking paper lined biscuit trays in a 200º oven until tops are slightly brown (about 10 minutes).
7. Taste test several before allowing guests to see them. Accept compliments graciously.
* You can prepare the asparagus mixture the day before (up to step 4). Keep it covered in the fridge. Add cheeses and fill cases up to an hour before baking.
*For canapes, you can prepare the asparagus mixture the day before (up to step 4). Keep it covered in the fridge. Add cheeses and fill cases up to an hour before baking.
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