Joy the Baker

Asparagus and Gruyere Tarts

May 13, 2012

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Things I Like Because of Other Things I Like:

I like black and white striped shirts because they are the perfect compliment to bright pink lipstick.

I like super short fingernails because they are just begging to be topped with bold red nail polish.

I like deep navy blue because it makes me crave the burn of spicy grained mustard.

I like dusty blue hair because it makes beauty feel lighthearted and unexpected.

I like baking with asparagus because it reminds me of nature’s beautifully green and imperfect lines.

It feels like every bit of life can inspire another bit of life.  There’s something endlessly exciting about that… like everything belongs.  The best place to be inspired by belonging?  Pinterest.  Are you obsessed yet?  It’s the spot for food, color, and inspired living.

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Let’s make super simple, mini asparagus tarts.

It’s simple, satisfying, and smothered in balsamic reduction.

… and it all begins with puff pastry.

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Six squares, finger pressed and scored with a pairing knife.

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We’ll use bright green, trimmed raw asparagus for the tarts.

An egg is glue.

Gruyere cheese is salty, melty second glue.

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One of the best parts of this recipe is that it’s just assembly.

Let’s just layer.

Egg on top of pastry.

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Asparagus on top of cheese.

The asparagus needed a good trimming.

I used the trimmings in scrambled eggs the next morning.  Waste not!

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In twenty minutes these bake up like super pastry, asparagus cheese pizzas.

I love an extra sprinkling of salt… because I’m salt greedy.

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This is not a styled photograph.  This is me trying to shove this tart into my mouth as quickly as possible.  It’s a good thing this one shot came out spot on.  The tart was gone in two seconds flat.

This recipe makes 6 lovely little tarts.  You can, however, make one big tart, using one sheet of puff pastry.  Either way you prepare this, this recipe is simple, springy, and humbly impressive.  It’s really the ingredients that shine:  all-butter puff pastry, seasonal asparagus, gruyere cheese, coarse sea salt, and ooooh balsamic reduction.

Asparagus and Gruyere Tarts

makes 6 small tarts

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Print this Recipe!

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold.

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups finely grated gruyere cheese

1 pound slender asparagus

salt and coarse ground black pepper

olive oil

balsamic reduction

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Unfold thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface.  Most commercially made puff pastry sheets are sold folded into thirds.  Unfold the pastry and slice into thirds at the creases.  Cut each strip in half, creating six equally sized rectangles.

Gently press each rectangle with your fingers, flattening slightly.  With a small pairing knife, score a 1/4 inch boarder along the inside of each rectangle.  Arrange 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush each square lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle with salt and coarse ground black pepper.  Top with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese.  Press five to six asparagus spears into the cheese. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with more coarsely ground black pepper.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puff pastry is golden brown and asparagus is cooked through.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with thick balsamic reduction.    Tarts can be stored, well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  


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