It's asparagus season and we love having asparagus tarts. I know I have a thing for puff pastry, but the asparagus makes it that much better! Here's how:
Preheat oven to 400F
Defrost and roll out pre-made puff pastry. Trim the edges for more even rise. Egg wash or wet with water and a brush around the perimeter of the puff pastry (careful not to drip down the sides as it prevents the tart from rising evenly.
Fold 1 cm of the edge on all sides inwards to create a border.This will help to keep the sauce in when baking. Gently prick the dough all over with a fork or docker and place back into the fridge. Keep the puff pastry cold at all times.
10-12 pieces of raw asparagus pre-peeled and ends trimmed off (about 2cm from the bottom)
2 knobs of salted butter
1 small clove of fresh garlic
Heat the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Grate with a microplane a small piece of garlic and sauté. Do not let the garlic brown, let it sweat in the butter a bit.
2 Tbsp./20g flour all purpose is great
Add in the flour and cook on medium for about 30 seconds. It will be a paste. Stir to smooth out, no lumps.
Ladle in a bit of milk at a time and whisk the mixture. You want a smooth paste. Keep adding more milk until everything is added.
50g gruyere cheese grated
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring the mixture to a boil to thicken and take off the heat. Add in the cheese. Pour into a shallow and covered pan or container and let cool to room temperature as you don't want to spread this on the puff pastry while hot, it will ruin the puff pastry, stop it from rising and will become soggy.
Once room temperature, take the prepared puff pastry that is cooled out of the fridge. Spread the bechamel onto the puff in a thin layer about 1 cm thickness. Place the peeled and trimmed asparagus on top.
Place into the oven and bake for about 20-30 mins or until fully risen, golden brown and lighter in weight if lifting up the corner of the tart off the baking tray.
20-30g parmesan cheese for grating over top of the baked tart
Grate some parmesan over the top and ready to serve. Its wonderful hot, warm or room temperature. You could take it with you to a picnic later that day!