Serves: 6 to 8
Time: 1 hour
Because you don’t have to make your own crust, this gorgeous asparagus-striped tart is so easy it almost feels like cheating.
As there are so few ingredients in this recipe that each one makes an impact, be sure to buy a good all-butter brand of puff pastry. If you can manage to serve this tart warm, within an hour of baking, it will be at its absolute best, with crisp pastry that shatters into buttery bits when you bite down and still-runny cheese.
It’s also excellent a few hours later, should you want to get all your baking done before your guests arrive.
If tarragon isn’t your favourite herb, you can use chives, basil or mint instead.
225g goats cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
1 large garlic clove, finely grated or minced
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus more for serving
½ tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
240ml crème fraîche, at room temperature
All-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
1 sheet or square all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
225g thin asparagus
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Red-pepper flakes (optional)
45g Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Heat the oven to 220 C / 425 F.
In a medium bowl, use a fork or a wooden spoon to mash together the goats cheese, egg, garlic, tarragon, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Switch to a whisk and beat in the crème fraîche until smooth.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle about 1/2 cm thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking tray, and with a sharp knife, lightly score a 1cm border around the edges of the puff pastry.
Spread the filling mixture evenly inside the scored border. Line up the asparagus spears on top, and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and the grated Parmesan over the asparagus.
Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool on thebaking tray for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours before serving. Then sprinkle black pepper, red-pepper flakes (if using), the shaved Parmesan and tarragon leaves on top.
Drizzle a little oil on top.
You can assemble the tart 1 day in advance; but reserve the sprinkling of salt and grated Parmesan until right before baking. Loosely cover the tart and store it in the fridge until it's time to bake.