In anticipation of summer (as we seem to skip right over spring here in Canada) I find myself craving light, fresh and simple meals. At this time of year (spring) newly harvested veggies like asparagus is both plentiful and full of flavour. When they are paired with fresh herbs these simple ingredients speak for themselves.
I love pairing crisp, buttery, puff pastry with fresh veggies. Puff pastry is so versatile but sometimes gets stuck in the sweet category. As a kid my mom use to fill puff pastry cups with tuna salad and it was one of my favourite meals. Dinner somehow felt like a treat when puff pastry was involved.
This recipe features light and fresh ingredients. There is a balance between the buttery pastry, the fresh vegetables and the lightly flavoured ricotta with a tad of lemon zest to bring it all together.
- Puff Pastry
- Ricotta Cheese
How To Make a Pea and Asparagus Tart
Step One: Okay lets talk about this tart. First step and always the first step to remember when baking a large tart with puff pastry; bake the puff pastry on its own before you start adding toppings. This is a mistake that seems to happen a lot but you need those super light buttery layers to puff right up. If you add all your toppings before it’s baked you won’t get those layers and your tart won’t be fully baked through.
Step Two: Now that we have the base, next comes the filling – a mixture of leeks, parsley, garlic and lemon juice chopped together creating a little zing to top the flaky pastry. After the filling is made you alternate the leek mixture with smooth ricotta cheese for a light softness and mild flavour which lets the herbs and veggies be the focal point.
Step Three: Now lay the charred asparagus and peas on top, adding fresh parsley and drizzle with a little more lemon to finish it off. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect spring time tart?
Let’s not forget just how stylish-chic this pea and asparagus tart looks but with little effort. It’s the optimal show stopper to impress and as pretty as it looks, it tastes even better!
Pea and Asparagus Spring Tart
This tart is perfect for spring! It’s made with puff pastry which makes it crisp and buttery and then it’s filled with fresh peas and asparagus, making it a perfect appetizer for sharing (or for a light lunch).
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: feeds 4
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Canadian
- 320g all-butter puff pastry ( or one package puff pastry)
- 1–2 Tablespoons milk, for brushing the pastry
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1 large leek, sliced (white and light green part only)
- 1/4 cup peas
- 1 garlic clove
- bunch of fresh parsley, stems trimmed
- 1/2 of a fresh lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup smooth ricotta cheese, (approximately)
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Unroll the puff pastry onto a large baking sheet or onto parchment paper and using a rolling pin roll out into a large rectangle approx. 8″ x 10″. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a smaller rectangle into the pastry, leaving a 1″ border (this is where you are making the crust layout for your pastry). Brush the entire puff pastry with milk and bake in the centre of an oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and pastry has puffed up. Set the pastry base aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the asparagus and leeks together for 3 minutes (just until they are starting to cook through). Remove asparagus and leeks with a slotted spoon and cool under cold running water, then pat dry. Keep the pot of water boiling and add peas, cook for 2-3 minutes until they float to the surface. Drain and run cold water over peas, pat dry and set aside.
- To make the filling, add cooked leeks to a food processor, a handful of fresh parsley (approx. 1/4 cup) 1 medium to large garlic clove and pulse to chop. Add fresh lemon juice (approx. 1 Tablespoon) and salt and pepper to taste. You don’t want the filling to be completely pureed, just chopped making sure there are no large garlic pieces.
- Heat a griddle pan or bbq until hot, then add a little oil and char the asparagus for approx. 1 minute until the asparagus has sear marks all over. Remove from the heat.
- To assemble the tart, use your hands to push the middle rectangle of the pastry down, leaving the raised border. Spoon chunks of ricotta and leek filling over the bottom. Top with the charred asparagus and peas. Add a few more dollops of ricotta then garnish with the rest of the parsley leaves, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Enjoy immediately.
Once toppings are assembled on the puff pastry consume the tart the same day. You can make the puff pastry a day or two ahead and when ready, add toppings to enjoy. Store baked puff pastry in an air tight container at room temperature.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 338
- Sugar: 2.9g
- Sodium: 183mg
- Fat: 21.6g
- Saturated Fat: 3.5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 30.1g
- Fiber: 2.1g
- Protein: 6.7g
- Cholesterol: 6mg
Keywords: Spring, Tart, Puff Pastry, Asparagus, Peas, Savoury
Serve this pea and asparagus tart as light lunch, an appetizer to friends or as a social meal (also called a picky plate). Pair with a spring soup, a charcuterie board of cured meats and cheeses.
In Ontario asparagus is ready from May to the end of June.
Although it’s fine to consume the entire asparagus stalk itself, some find the ends a bit too woody to enjoy so they are trimmed off. Simply use your hands and break the stalk where it easily wants to break, this is where the woody part will end. It’s best to do one stalk at a time as every stock will be different. If you don’t mind a bit of woodiness in the ends, use a knife and trim 1-2 inches of the asparagus.
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