- For the shortcrust pastry
- 110 g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 25 g softened lard
- 250 g softened butter, cut into smallish lumps
- For the filling
- 85 ml butter
- 12 prawn tails, skinned and veined
- 1 t garlic, chopped
- 8 coppa or salami, sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 baby marrow, julienned
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 60 ml mascarpone cheese
- 12 asparagus spears
- greens and edible flowers to garnish
To make the pastry: Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sift the flour and salt. Add the lard and butter, then, using a knife, cut the fat into the flour until it looks fairly evenly distributed, then rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle with 5ml (1 tablespoon) water and bring the dough together using a knife.
Then continue with your fingertips – the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean.
Wrap the pastry in clingwrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Line four well-greased dariole moulds with the pastry and blind bake until crispy, about 20 minutes.
To make the tarts: Heat a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the butter and when it starts to sizzle, add the prawn tails and garlic.
Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the coppa, julienned vegetables and spring onion.
Sauté for a further 2 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add half the mascarpone and stir through before
removing the pan from the heat.
Divide the contents of the pan into 4, spoon into the pastry cases and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
Keep the remaining butter and pan juices for saucing.
Plunge the asparagus into boiling water for 2 minutes.
Remove tarts from the oven and place each in the centre of a serving plate.
Trim the asparagus leaving the spears about 5cm long. Arrange three spears in each pastry case so that they extend up beyond the pastry edges.
Reheat the pan juices. Chop the remaining asparagus stems into small pieces. Sprinkle asparagus bits and greens on the plates and spoon the pan juices equally around each tart. Top each with a flower.
Cook’s tip: If you have mascarpone left over, use two tablespoons to shape a spoonful into a quenelle to add to each tart.