Springy Asparagus And Lemon Ricotta Tart Recipe

Savory tarts are not only delicious and eye-catching but make perfect warm weather fare. This springy asparagus and lemon ricotta tart — courtesy of recipe developer Julie Kinnaird — highlights the best of early harvest produce with tender asparagus stalks, peppery radishes, and fragrant tarragon. The tart comes together quickly with the use of frozen puff pastry, which bakes up light and flaky to contrast the creamy lemon and black pepper–flavored ricotta filling. A layer of aged Spanish Manchego cheese adds a tart and nutty flavor that ties all of the components together.

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Working with puff pastry might seem intimidating at first, but it's a breeze once you know a few key pointers. This recipe also serves as a perfect template for changing up ingredients and flavors. This tart is a perfect brunch centerpiece and tastes divine straight out of the oven or at room temperature. It can be sliced and transported for picnics or prepared in the morning when the weather is cool and served later for dinner!

Gather the springy asparagus and lemon ricotta tart ingredients

The crust for this savory tart is made from a sheet of frozen puff pastry. The puff pastry can be thawed overnight in a refrigerator or simply left at room temperature for about 40 minutes in its package. You will create an egg wash from 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water. This is brushed on the outer edge of the tart to create a golden brown finish to the crust. The filling is made from whole milk ricotta, finely chopped lemon zest, fresh chives, black pepper, and sea salt. Aged Spanish Manchego cheese is layered over the ricotta filling, and then topped aromatic fresh tarragon. Tender asparagus spears and vibrant red radish slices are tossed with a little olive oil and then arranged atop the tart. If you have an abundance of asparagus, try this great tip for keeping it fresh!

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Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 2: Lay out the puff pastry

Unfold the puff pastry and place it on a sheet of parchment paper.

Step 3: Roll out the puff pastry

Roll out the pastry to a 13x9-inch rectangle.

Step 4: Score a border on the pastry

Use a sharp knife to score a ½-inch border around all sides of the pastry. This helps to create a crust that can rise.

Step 5: Prick the pastry with a fork

Prick the inside of the pastry all over with a fork.

Step 6: Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet

Carefully lift the parchment paper and pastry onto a baking sheet.

Step 7: Egg wash the outer edges

Use a pastry brush to add a little of the egg wash to the outer crust.

Step 8: Bake the puff pastry

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and lightly browned on the outer crust.

Step 9: Cool the baked puff pastry

Cool the pastry completely (about 20 minutes).

Step 10: Make the filling

While the pastry cools, make the filling by mixing together the ricotta, lemon zest, chives, pepper, and ½ teaspoon sea salt.

Step 11: Toss the asparagus and radishes with olive oil and salt

In a large, shallow bowl, toss the asparagus and radishes with the olive oil and remaining ½ teaspoon sea salt.

Step 12: Shave the Manchego

Use a vegetable peeler or knife to thinly shave the Manchego into slices.

Step 13: Spread the filling over the cooled pastry

Carefully spread the ricotta mixture over the baked and cooled pastry.

Step 14: Add a layer of shaved manchego

Add the Manchego in an even layer over the ricotta.

Step 15: Add the tarragon

Sprinkle on the tarragon.

Step 16: Add the asparagus in rows

Arrange the asparagus in rows over the tarragon.

Step 17: Finish with the radish slices

Finish with the radish slices.

Step 18: Bake the tart

Bake the tart for 15–20 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the asparagus and radishes are tender.

Step 19: Cool the tart and serve

Cool the tart for about 20 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.

What are some tips or tricks for working with puff pastry?

Whether from-scratch or pre-packaged, puff pastry is an exquisite dough that makes any preparation seem fancy. It can be used for both sweet and savory dishes and has a light and airy texture with a rich, buttery flavor. The pastry consists of a basic, flour-and-water dough that is repeatedly rolled and folded over a layer of butter. Hundreds of layers are created by the steam that's released while baking without the pastry leavening. The dough is chilled between turns, so although the process is relatively simple, it is laborious and time-consuming. 

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Kinnaird enjoys making this dough from scratch but finds that having a package of frozen puff pastry on hand makes it easy to produce bakes with short notice. Thawing frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight makes the dough workable, but Kinnaird has had great results with a 30–40 minute countertop thaw. Just make sure that the dough is thawed enough to unfold without it cracking or breaking but that it's still chilled enough to avoid the butter melting within the layers. Using a chilled rolling pin and even a chilled work surface (such as a marble slab) will create even better results. Kinnaird suggests using a sharp rolling pizza cutter or thin knife for scoring and cutting the dough. When blind baking puff pastry, prick the dough with a fork to allow extra steam to escape and prevent large bubbles from forming. 

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What other ingredients can you add to this puff pastry tart?

Although this springy asparagus and lemon ricotta tart has a perfect pairing of flavors, there are many ways to vary the ingredients. For the filling, consider a combo of ½ cup ricotta and ½ cup fresh goat cheese blended with the lemon zest and pepper. Add some fresh thyme or garlic powder to give the filling an extra boost of flavor. Instead of aged Manchego, use a grated aged white cheddar, gouda, or asiago cheese. 

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In place of radishes, sauteed mushrooms would add some extra earthy flavor to the verdant asparagus topping. Saute the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until the juices are released and evaporate in the pan. Make sure the mushrooms are as dry as possible before adding them as a topping so that the delicate tart doesn't become soggy while baking. Fresh basil or chervil would be a delicious substitute for the tarragon, as would a bit of chopped Italian parsley or chive blossoms. If you want to make the tart extra hearty, crumble some cooked smoked bacon or finely chopped ham with the shaved cheese layer.

Springy Asparagus And Lemon Ricotta Tart Recipe

4.7 (3 ratings)

Seasonal spring produce (namely, asparagus and radishes) top Manchego cheese and a lemony ricotta spread for a picnic-perfect puff pastry tart.

Prep Time
1
hour
Cook Time
25
minutes
servings
8
servings
Springy asparagus and lemon ricotta tart slices on table
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water for an egg wash
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large lemon, finely zested (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2 ounces aged Manchego cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed of tough stalks
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced radishes (about 6 medium radishes)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Unfold the puff pastry and place it on a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the pastry to a 13x9-inch rectangle.
  4. Use a sharp knife to score a ½-inch border around all sides of the pastry. This helps to create a crust that can rise.
  5. Prick the inside of the pastry all over with a fork.
  6. Carefully lift the parchment paper and pastry onto a baking sheet.
  7. Use a pastry brush to add a little of the egg wash to the outer crust.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and lightly browned on the outer crust.
  9. Cool the pastry completely (about 20 minutes).
  10. While the pastry cools, make the filling by mixing together the ricotta, lemon zest, chives, pepper, and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  11. In a large, shallow bowl, toss the asparagus and radishes with the olive oil and remaining ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  12. Use a vegetable peeler or knife to thinly shave the Manchego into slices.
  13. Carefully spread the ricotta mixture over the baked and cooled pastry.
  14. Add the Manchego in an even layer over the ricotta.
  15. Sprinkle on the tarragon.
  16. Arrange the asparagus in rows over the tarragon.
  17. Finish with the radish slices.
  18. Bake the tart for 15–20 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the asparagus and radishes are tender.
  19. Cool the tart for about 20 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 129
Total Fat 9.0 g
Saturated Fat 4.1 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 42.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 1.4 g
Sodium 266.9 mg
Protein 6.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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