Quick and easy recipe for French asparagus puff pastry tart with parmesan and a creamy lemon base. Baked in only 25 minutes, it celebrates Spring season.
Had this tart tonight and all family members agreed that it was absolutely scrumptious. Will definitely cook it again! - Danni
Can Puff Pastry Be Used as a Tart Crust?
Ever rustle up a family lunch so fast that it doesn't even seem like a recipe? This is my best example and the reason why I haven't even posted it on le blog before. I have been making this for years without a recipe as a guide, nor have I thought much about the proportions! Until now, to be able to share this.
The best part of this tart recipe is that it's so quick to make thanks to using ready-made puff pastry.
Puff pastry is ideal as a tart crust as it doesn't even need a tart tin. Just use it flat, score with a knife in from the sides to create a little outside crust. Then it's so easy to spread over a thick lemon and parmesan cream and top with halved asparagus spears.
Here I use ready-made rolled round puff pastry but if yours is square or rectangular, then this tart is great in all shapes! If using frozen puff, then simply defrost before using.
French Asparagus with Nuts
As soon as our French asparagus season arrives at the local markets, we love all the varieties - from white, purple and green to the little bundles of wild spears. All kinds work well on this tart.
What's more, top the tart with a handful of slivered nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts and the taste is taken to another level.
Ever tried them together? So simple yet so elegant, it adds that little bit crunchy texture that makes it all the more French.
How to Make Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
- First roll out a sheet of ready-made puff pastry.
- This almost feels like cheating but, as ready-rolled puff (pâte feuillétée) is such a regular item to be found in the supermarkets' chilled sections, why not make use of our 'fast food' à la française.
Ensure you buy 'pure beurre' - the butter version of puff pastry is so much better.
- Using the back of a sharp knife, score a light line about 1cm from the edge of the puff. This will help raise the puff pastry to create a natural tart edge in the oven.
How to Prepare the Asparagus Spears
- Prepare the asparagus spears by snapping off the bottoms about a quarter up, where they snap naturally. If green asparagus, trim off the triangular pedoncules (this makes it easier to digest).
- If white or purple asparagus, thinly peel of the tougher, outer skin.
For much more about this Spring vegetable, how to prepare, roast and seasonal recipes,
see the market's French asparagus page.
Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart with Cheese
To make a quick sauce, just stir together a couple of egg yolks, crème fraîche, lemon zest and add some freshly grated parmesan. Please don't use the ready prepared sachets of grated parmesan.
For the full flavour to make this tart extra special, grate from a block of fresh parmesan (even better, Reggiano).
We have tried this on many occasions using grated Gruyère or Emmental (these are also easy to find ready-grated in the French supermarkets). While the latter is also good, as it's lighter than the others, anything like Gruyère or Comté are a little too overwhelming for asparagus, in my humble opinion.
If you love cheese with asparagus, then try these mini asparagus clafoutis served in a puddle of silky parmesan sauce. The combination is divine. Asparagus Clafoutis Recipe with Parmesan Sauce is also on video.
What to do with the extra whites?
Keep them aside in the fridge and make any of these egg white recipes.
Easy Recipe for Asparagus
As well as the lemon zest, I like to add a touch of turmeric. It's not only a cheaper version of saffron, but it's also healthy too and an excellent match with lemon. Try it in this savoury white asparagus and lemon clafoutis.
My husband, Antoine, has been adding ground turmeric to so many dishes to help naturally rebuild knee cartilage (don't get me started!) The addition is totally optional but it's such a subtle touch that adds that je ne sais quoi too.
- Season with a grinding of a little salt and pepper.
- Spread the lemon parmesan cream on the puff pastry. Push it towards the scored border, leaving a 1cm space at the edge all the way around. Scoring the border just puffs up the pastry on the sides.
How Long Do you Bake Puff Pastry?
For this asparagus tart, first sprinkle with a little more grated parmesan and some nuts. Ready-made puff pastry only takes about 20-25 minutes to bake.
So this beauty not just bakes the puff pastry in 25 minutes but roasts the halved asparagus spears at the same time.
How to Serve
Serve the tart hot or warm from the oven for either a starter if entertaining or as a light lunch or supper.
Top with a little fresh chervil or other light aromatic herb of your choice.
More Easy Recipes With Puff Pastry
Ready-made puff pastry is such a handy ingredient to have in the fridge - especially as it's easy to whip up a quick tart with it, both savoury and sweet. Here are our family favourites:
- Quick French Apple Tart (Tarte fine aux pommes)
- Onion Tarte Tatin with Cheese - recipe also on video
- Tarte Tatin - the classic French dessert
Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
- 8 Asparagus spears
- 230-280g (17oz) pack ready-rolled puff pastry (or defrosted if frozen)
- 2 egg yolks organic *
- 200 g (7oz/ ¾ cup) crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt if unable to find)
- 100 g (3.5oz/ 1 cup) parmesan grated
- 1 lemon, grated zest only unwaxed, organic
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon slivered almonds or hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoon chervil or other fresh herbs to garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
- Roll out the sheet of puff pastry (either if ready rolled or roll out) and, using the back of a sharp knife, score a border 1cm from the edge.
- Snap off the bottoms of the asparagus, where they break naturally about ¼ up from the bottom and trim off the pendoncules. Cut the spears in half horizontally to make 16 halves.
- In a bowl, mix together the yolks, crème fraîche, turmeric, grated parmesan (leave some for later) and lemon. Season with a few turns of the salt and peppermill to your taste. Spread evenly over the tart pushing to the scored edge. Top with the asparagus and top with remaining parmesan and sprinkle over the almonds or hazelnuts.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. Before serving, top with a crowning bundle of fresh chervil or any other of your favourite fresh herbs.