I can confidently say that puff pastry is one of my best friends in my kitchen. Whether it’s dolled up to be savory or sweet, this indulgent, buttery dough can make a dish taste so good, you may even feel a bit naughty. I adore store bought puff pastry. As much as I love baking, I frankly do not have the time or patience to put together this incredibly time-consuming dough, in which time is necessary for this dough to turn out perfectly flaky. This asparagus-tart recipe is one of my favorites because of how beautifully elegant it looks, incredibly delicious it tastes, and how very simple it is to make. Throw this recipe together for a dinner party or Sunday spring lunch and you’ll unquestionably impress everybody, visually and flavorfully.
1 bunch asparagus
4 ounces bleu cheese
1 puff pastry sheet
a few springs of thyme, chopped
1 beaten egg for egg-wash
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim the ends of the asparagus so they are an even length. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus for 40 seconds. Shock the asparagus in ice water and dry off with a kitchen towel.
On a floured work surface, roll the puff pastry into a rectangle to fit a cookie sheet, about 16-by-10 inches. Trim the edges and score the puff pastry with a knife, just enough to make about a 1/2 inch-1 inch border, but make sure to NOT cut all the way through the dough. Pierce the inside of the bordered puff pastry with a fork to prevent air pockets from developing. With a pastry brush, brush the border of the puff pastry with egg-wash. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden-brown.
*Note: If air pockets do form during baking, just open the oven and puncture the dough with a fork.
Once the puff pastry has cooled a bit, cover the inside of the puff pastry with slices or crumbles of bleu cheese. Line the asparagus up in a row. With a pastry brush. brush the top of the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt and freshly-cracked pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and asparagus is tender.
*Note: if the edges of the tart start to get too dark while baking during the final step, wrap the edges with some foil.