I guarantee that this easy to assemble Asparagus and Red Pepper Flan will become your next Brunch favorite. To save on time, use store-bought pie dough and jarred roasted red peppers. Snap off the tough woody ends of the asparagus spears and peel the stalks to reveal their beautiful bright-green color. Crunchy asparagus spears and sweet roasted peppers provide a delicious colorful contrast to the flaky pastry filled with the egg mixture. Bake the flan to the golden perfection and garnish with a few dill sprigs on top. Serve it barely warm with a side of greens dressed with simple tangy lemon vinaigrette. A glass of chilled medium-body white wine like Sauvignon Blanc will complete the meal!
Ingredients: asparagus spears, roasted red peppers, eggs, heavy cream, nutmeg, dill springs, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Trim 1 ½ inches from the bottom of the asparagus and peel the spears using vegetable peeler. Cook in boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, refresh, then drain thoroughly and pat dry. Trim the asparagus spears to the width of the tin.
I took the short cut and used the store-bought sweet Fire Roasted Red Peppers (garlic free). Cut the peppers into thin strips and then finely dice them.
Drain the diced peppers well and pat with kitchen pepper to sponge off the oil.
Scatter the diced peppers in an even layer in the pastry case. Mix the whole egg, yolks and heavy cream together in a bowl using a whisk and season with little nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour three-quarters of the mixture over the peppers.
Lay the asparagus spears over the peppers, tip to tail in pairs along the length of the tin.
Carefully spoon the remaining egg mixture over the asparagus. Immediately bake the tart for 30 minutes. Slide on to a wire rack and leave for 20 minutes before unmolding.
Use a palette knife to lift the flan on a serving platter. Garnish with the dill and serve warm. Use a knife with a long, sharp blade to slice the flan.
Asparagus and Red Pepper Flan
recipe detailsServes 6-8
IngredientsPâte Brisee (or store-bought flaky pie dough)
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, very cold
- 30 medium asparagus spears
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 oz. roasted red peppers
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 200ml heavy cream Pinch of nutmeg
- 8 dill springs
- Pâte Brisee: Cut up a stick of butter into smallish (about 1/2-inch) cubes, and put it into the freezer. The colder the butter the better luck you’ll have with creating a flaky crust. Freeze the butter at least 15 minutes, better an hour, best overnight.
- Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.
- Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called “fraisage”. Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky. Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (At this point you can freeze the dough disk for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
- When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough on top of a loose-bottomed oblong tart tin, measuring 14 inches x 4 inches, and 1 inch deep. Gently unfold and press down to line the tart tin with the dough. Chill for about 20 minutes.
- To Make the Flan: Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Prick the base of the pastry case. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with a layer of ceramic baking beans or dried pulses. Bake ‘blind’ for 20 minutes. Lower the oven setting to 170C/340F. Remove the beans and paper and return the pastry case to the oven for 10 minutes. Leave in the tin and set aside while you prepare the filling.
- Trim 1 ½ inches from the bottom of the asparagus and peel the spears using vegetable peeler. Cook in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, refresh, then drain thoroughly and pat dry. Trim the asparagus spears to the width of the tin.
- Finely dice the peppers, drain well and pat with kitchen pepper to sponge off the oil. Scatter them in an even layer in the pastry case.
- Mix the whole egg, yolks and heavy cream together in a bowl using a whisk and season with little nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour three-quarters of the mixture over the peppers.
- Lay the asparagus spears over the peppers, tip to tail in pairs along the length of the tin. Carefully spoon the remaining egg mixture over the asparagus. Immediately bake the tart for 30 minutes. Slide on to a wire rack and leave for 20 minutes before unmolding.
- Use a palette knife to lift the flan on a serving platter. Garnish with the dill and serve warm. Use a knife with a long, sharp blade to slice the flan.