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Asparagus & Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart
It’s no secret that I have been having a long-term affair with puff pastry. When I’m in a pinch and need something delicious to serve quickly, it’s probably my most frequently used ingredient. Sweet or savory, it doesn’t matter, it (almost) always works. Today I'm sharing with you one of my favorite puff pastry tarts to make in the springtime. 💐
When I first got serious about cooking and baking, I would generally bring desserts to family gatherings. The idea of bringing an appetizer was somewhat off-putting to me, knowing it would be the first thing people would be sinking their teeth into when they first arrived. In my 20-something brain, that was too much pressure. I figured by the time dessert rolled around they would likely be too intoxicated to accurately critique what I’d spent hours putting together. As I gained more confidence, I started tackling elaborate main dishes like wine braised short ribs, still foolishly intimidated by bringing a first-course dish for everyone to share. It wasn’t until my grandmother’s health began to quickly decline that I was forced to cook outside of my comfort zone if I wanted to cook and entertain to her standards. And let me tell you, there’s no harsher critic than a German woman who could cook damn near anything to perfection.
After experimenting with various flavors and textures thanks to my handy copy of The Flavor Bible and overcoming my dislike of asparagus, I literally stumbled into this delicious asparagus tart that is savory and sweet. I often joke that this is the one dish that makes me crave a nice citrusy glass of Sauvignon Blanc (Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc if I'm being completely honest with you)—just whatever you choose to drink alongside, make sure it’s not too oaky or tannic because you with get a harsh metallic taste in your mouth.
This is one of those recipes that come in handy in the springtime when asparagus is in season locally (read: affordable) and you find yourself doing more entertaining outdoors. It can be served hot out of the oven, or at room temperature (my preference). It’s also a great tart to serve at brunch when you’re looking for something that’s light and flavorful and feeds a lot of people but doesn’t take half the morning to put together.
I like to make two 9x9 square tarts, which generally saves space on the table or counter when it’s a free for all for food. If you don’t have a square tart pan, simply roll out the puff pastry the length of a cookie sheet. You can also use any other shape of tart pan you might have hidden in your cupboard of misfit baking dishes.
Variations: if you’re looking for more variety in texture and flavors, don’t be afraid to add truffle oil, sautéed leeks or shallots, hollandaise sauce or prosciutto to the tarts. Burrata or ricotta can be used in place of the goat cheese.
For special occasions, I like to also add dollops of mascarpone in addition to the goat cheese and thyme as the flavors all come together effortlessly.
- 1 pound, ends trimmed asparagus spears
- 1 sheet, thawed and rolled out puff pastry
- 6 ounces, thinly sliced goat cheese
- to taste salt and pepper
- for brushing olive oil
- to taste pecorino cheese
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- to taste fresh chives or tarragon