Asparagus and Ricotta Tart

Nothing says “spring!” like an asparagus tart.  Maybe tulips, but nothing else.  Maybe strawberries. Fresh peas.  Rhubarb.  Tree pollen allergies…Well look, it is way up there on the list.  Asparagus tart equals spring.  This one is nice and simple and lovely enough for a dinner party or just for a nice Sunday brunch.  This is my final recipe for the Saucy Mama Fab with Five blogger contest, and since I tried this with two subtle variations, I thought I would show you both and let you know the pros and cons of each.  For the first tart I used a sheet of puff pastry and cut strips from all sides to build up four edges.  I layered this with a schmear of Lemon Tarragon Mustard, fresh asparagus, and dollops of fresh ricotta cheese.  I baked this until golden and sprinkled with fine salt and fresh tarragon.  And it was good:

I felt that it needed something, however, and I did not like the visual “blobs” of the ricotta.  Plus, frozen puff pastry comes in boxes of two sheets, and who am I to waste a perfectly good sheet of puff pastry?  For the second version I layered the mustard, then the ricotta, then the asparagus.  I sprinkled on a little salt and ground white pepper and baked this up until nicely browned.  Then, instead of the fresh tarragon, I sprinkled the finished tart with some fine strips of fresh grapefruit zest.  Why grapefruit?  Because we were out of lemons.  Having said that, the grapefruit zest added a really nice, slightly sweet citrus burst to the final version.  It was a winner.  You will note that for this one I left the short ends of the pastry open, for a longer, more rectangular shape.

Here’s the recipe for the second version:

Asparagus and Ricotta Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
3 tablespoons Lemon Tarragon mustard
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used the whole milk type)
12-14 spears fresh asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
freshly grated grapefruit or lemon zest (about a teaspoon)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Unfold the pastry sheet onto an ungreased cookie sheet and trim the edges as desired–for the second version I simply cut about an inch off of the two long edges and placed them on the top edges to form a “wall.”

Spread the mustard over the base of the pastry, and top with dollops of the ricotta cheese.  Press the asparagus spears into the cheese in a pretty pattern.  Sprinkle with salt and white pepper, and bake for 25-35 minutes (at altitude this took 25), or until the edges of the pastry are golden and the mustard has started to develop that nice caramelized color at the ends.  Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes, then slide a knife under the base to loosen the tart.  Slide the tart onto a serving plate and sprinkle with the fresh citrus zest.  Serves eight as an appetizer tart, or four as a light brunch.

Thanks for reading,


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  1. I love that you used grapefruit because you were out of lemon. You made me laugh. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Your recipes sound and look fabulous.

  2. Thanks Karen! I was just busy editing out the fact that I had misspelled asparagus as "aspargus," like a Roman mythological figure. Sigh.

  3. Yum… that looks and sounds delish! Allergies…. yes…. asparagus…. yes! Spring is here and your tart looks just awesome. I think the grapefruit zest rocks… you are on to something!

  4. I love that you showed us both versions. I have to admit that when I saw the first one, my first thought was, "What are those blobs?" I do like the shell that you created with the pastry though. It's very avant garde. The second tart is a winner though. I love the spears nestled in the ricotta and sauce. Wow.

  5. The real irony being that I submitted both versions to Foodgawker and they preferred the blobs! It is a better-composed photo, however, so I guess I see their point.

  6. Simply gorgeous!

  7. This screams SPRING out loud and clearly! I love the combination of flavours.

  8. This is an absolutely stunning spring recipe. I love puff pastry but it has only been recently that I have been able to get it in my small town.

  9. This is just lovely. Bet it’s real good, too!

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