This delicate spring quiche keeps its asparagus spears whole—a stunning presentation for a brunch or supper buffet. You begin by making a flaky all-butter tart shell, using the French technique known as fraisage. After lining a rectangular tart pan with the crust and pre-baking it, you make the filling, a simple blend of ricotta, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. Add this to the pastry shell along with the whole asparagus and bake until set.
Special equipment: You’ll need a 7-inch-by-11-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable base for this recipe.
- Yields: 1 (7-inch by 11-inch) quiche
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr 35 mins
- Active: 25 mins
For the crust:
- 8 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
- 12 ounces fresh asparagus spears
- 14 ounces whole ricotta cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 3 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning or dried thyme
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make the crust:
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of ice water and pulse again. Add more ice water if the dough seems too dry. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
- Using the heel of your hand, quickly smear egg-sized portions of dough across the work surface (this fraisage technique yields very flaky pastry). Gather up the dough into a rough square, wrap it up, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pie dough out into a rectangle measuring 14 inches by 10 inches and approximately 1/4 inch thick. Line a 7-inch-by-11-inch rectangular tart pan with the dough, running the rolling pin across the top of the pan to trim excess dough. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
- Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Line the pricked crust with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to overhang the edge by 1 inch, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust on a baking sheet until set and light brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment paper and continue baking until crust is dry to the touch, about 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly before adding filling, at least 10 minutes.
To make the filling and bake:
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears. Peel the stalks, using a very sharp vegetable peeler.
- Whisk together the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning or thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until incorporated and smooth.
- Arrange half the asparagus spears in the tart shell, laying them all in one direction from top to bottom. Scrape about three quarters of the ricotta mixture over the asparagus, taking care that the spears are evenly covered and the mixture is spread out to the tart edges. Arrange the remaining asparagus on top in the opposite direction of the spears below (this will ensure that each end slice of quiche will have both tops and bottoms). Add the remaining ricotta mixture and spread it evenly.
- Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.