I had asparagus left over from last night, so tonight... Something that is a little more involved. Asparagus in a gruyere custard tart crust of Sour cream and cracked peppercorns... I found this recipe online about 8 years ago... It has been copied and re-copied so many times, I have NO idea who or where I originally got it from. But I make it a lot (When I can afford Gruyere) because it is absolutely delicious. The crust is a little refrigerator intensive thus I recommend preparing the tart crust the night before and letting it hang out in the refrigerator until the next evening.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp sugar
13 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 TB sour cream
2 1/2 TB ice water
Blend together flour, salt, pepper, sugar, butter, and shortening with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with remainder in small (roughly pea-size) lumps.
Stir together sour cream and ice water then stir into dough with a fork until incorporated. Gather dough into a ball.
Flatten dough into a 6-inch square on a lightly floured surface.
Roll out into a roughly 18- by 6-inch rectangle and fold into thirds (like a letter) to form a 6-inch square.
Turn dough so an open-ended side is nearest you, then roll out dough into an 18- by 6-inch rectangle again, dusting work surface with flour as necessary.
Fold into thirds same as above.
Repeat rolling and folding 1 more time, then chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.
Roll out pastry dough on a floured surface into a 14 inch round.
Transfer to 11 inch tart pan by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling it across pan.
Roll the pin over the rim of the pan to trim the crust to fit.
Immediately gather the scraps and press together into a cohesive ball, wrap in plastic and return to the refrigerator.
Prick bottom of shell all over with a fork and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or over night.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or raw rice.
Bake in middle of oven until sides are firm, about 20 minutes.
Remove foil and weights carefully and bake shell until golden, about 10 minutes more, then cool.
While the crust is cooling, make the custard filling.
1 lb green asparagus, trimmed to 5 inches and peeled
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
2 cups heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp Finely ground White Pepper
Pinch of Kosher Salt
3/4 tsp Mace -or- 1/2 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 1/4 cup finely grated Gruyère
Blanch asparagus in salted water for 1 minute, remove from boiling water to an ice bath to stop the cooling.
Lay the asparagus out on paper towels to dry.
Finely grate the Gruyere.
Whisk together cream, eggs, kosher salt, and nutmeg, then season lightly with pepper.
Pour custard into the cooled tart shell.
Sprinkle custard with two thirds of cheese, then arrange spears in custard, tips out (like the spokes of a wheel).
Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
Bake tart in middle of oven until custard is set, about 25 - 30 minutes.
Then broil tart 2 to 3 inches from heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes -or- use your kitchen torch and brown the top (It's a little quicker)