Spelt, smoked salmon and asparagus tart

Spelt, smoked salmon and asparagus tart

Scandinavian Baking
Columbus Leth

My favourite spring tart. The combination of coarse spelt flour and fromage frais gives both a great texture and an interesting acidic tang to the pastry. I never really make shortcrust pastry using only butter for savoury dishes, as the resulting crust is too soft for me.


Quantity Ingredient

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
50g plain flour, plus more to dust
150g wholegrain stoneground spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
75g butter, chopped, plus more for the dish
75g quark or fromage frais

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
200g baby spinach leaves
1 shallot, finely chopped
knob butter
20 asparagus spears
200g smoked salmon slices
6 eggs
200g creme fraiche
200g cottage cheese
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste


  1. Begin with the pastry. Mix both flours and the salt together in a large bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingers. Mix in the quark or fromage frais. Knead the dough lightly with your hands just until the ingredients are amalgamated. Or just put everything in a food processor and pulse-blend it together. In both cases, if the dough does not come together, sprinkle in a little water.
  2. Roll the pastry out on a floured work surface and butter a 28cm (ish) pie dish. Line the dish with the pastry, then leave it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Cover the pastry case with baking parchment and pour in some dried beans or raw rice to weigh it down. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for five minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Rinse the spinach in cold water, then place in a saucepan over a medium heat and allow it to wilt. When it is just wilted, drain really well in a sieve.
  6. Sauté the shallot in the butter for three or four minutes without browning. Turn off the heat and add the spinach to the pan.
  7. Snap each asparagus stalk; it will break at the point that the stalk becomes woody. Discard the woody bit, or keep it to use in stocks or soups. Cut each remaining spear into three smaller pieces, then cut each piece lengthways.
  8. Cut the salmon into 1cm squares. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then add the crème fraîche, cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well with a wooden spoon. Now add the salmon, asparagus and spinach mixture and mix again. Season once more with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour the mixture into the blind-baked pastry case and return to the oven to bake for 30–35 minutes or until the filling has set but retains a slight wobble in the centre. Serve warm, with a green salad.
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