Knead the flour, salt and butter together, adding a little water to make a paste. Prepare this 1 hour before cooking, if possible.
Prepare the asparagus very carefully, peeling off the dry outer skin of the stalks. Put them tied in a bunch and heads uppermost into boiling salted water, to which you also add a teaspoon of sugar and cook them for 10 minutes (a little longer if they are very large ones). Drain them and cut each asparagus into 3 or 4 pieces, discarding the hard part at the ends.
Roll out your pastry, line a flat buttered pie-tin (23-25cm/9-10in) with it, cover the inside and the edges with kitchen paper and put the usual beans into the paper to keep the pastry flat. Bake it in a hot oven (200C/gas 6) for 20 minutes.
Heat up the bechamel gently while the pastry is baking. Now add the grated cheese to the prepared bechamel and, off the fire, the asparagus.
Take the paper and the beans off the pastry, fill with the asparagus mixture, put it into the oven to brown, and serve hot.
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