A simple asparagus puff pastry tart made in just a few minutes with frozen puff pastry, creme fraiche (or mascarpone, Boursin, cream cheese…) and asparagus. A shower of lemon zest and a brush of maple syrup give this easy tart a distinctive flavor. Serve it as an appetizer or light meal.
I can already see how this whole Corona virus outbreak is going to change the way we look at eating for a long time.
Like dinner, for instance. I’m not taking it for granted like I used to, I’m savoring it more, and I’m doing more with less. I’m also loosening up about what makes a meal in the first place. I had some fresh asparagus and creme fraiche in my pre-lockdown fridge that needed to be used, and a stash (always!) of puff pastry sheets in the freezer, so I came up with this simple tart. A glass of Chardonnay, the last handful of arugula, and a lone surviving tomato rounds it out. This might be the most elegant nosh we have in many weeks to come, but I’ll take it.
We can do this!!
When you’ve got puff pastry in the freezer you’re never very far away from something really delicious.
step 1 Just decide whether you want something sweet or savory. I needed dinner, so I went savory.
step 2 Then take stock of what you’ve got in the kitchen. Do you have something to smear on as a base? That could be creme fraiche, soft goat cheese, mascarpone, Boursin, or grated cheese.
step 3 Choose a topping. A quick cooking veggie like asparagus is ideal and perfect for the season.
Why this recipe works
- Frozen puff pastry is amazing and never fails to impress me. It always bakes up puffy, crisp, and delicious.
- The ‘schmear’ of creme fraiche (or whatever creamy base you choose) gives every mouthful a luxe feel.
- Lemon zest gives the tart a fresh citrus flavor and a light brushing of maple syrup lends a very faint bit of sweetness.
- Everyone craves asparagus at the first sign of spring, and this recipe delivers.
What else can you use besides asapragus?
Lots of other veggies would work, but it helps if they’re quick cooking like asparagus. Otherwise you can cut them thinly, or par cook them first.
- thinly sliced onions
- mushrooms, sautéed first
- par cooked carrots, parsnips, or beets
- sliced tomatoes
The tart cooks up in just 15 minutes!
You’ll get a super crisp crust that puffs up around the edges and it will look like you went to so much more trouble than you actually did.
How to serve this asparagus tart
- cut it into small squares to serve as an appetizer. It can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature.
- Slice the tart into 2- 4 larger pieces to serve as a light meal with a salad or soup.
- For an elegant brunch you can top each piece with a spring salad.
WANT TO TRY THIS EASY ASPARAGUS TART?
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Simple Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 8 ounce tub of creme fraiche (substitute mascarpone cheese, or Boursin cheese)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 lb thin asparagus, trimmed to about 6 inches long
- maple syrup, for brushing (a few tablespoons)
- sea salt
- a handful of fresh herbs like thyme for a garnish, if desired.
- preheat oven to 400F
- Unfold the puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper and gently roll the dough out to roughly a 9x13 rectangle. that's just a little bit bigger than the original size, and don't stress about being exact.
- Transfer the dough, still on the paper, to a baking sheet. Run a blunt knife around the edge of the rectangle, about an inch in from the edge, to form a frame. Don't cut all the way through the dough, just score it. This will create a nice border for your tart once it bakes.
- Spread a layer of creme fraiche over the top, inside your border. You won't need the whole container. Grate the lemon zest over it.
- Arrange the asparagus over top of the tart. Brush the asparagus and edges of the tart lightly with maple syrup. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Top with thyme or other fresh herb, if desired.