These delicious vegetarian cheese and asparagus puff pastry tarts are ready in minutes! Simply bake the puff pastry shells, fill with cheese, top with blanched asparagus and bake. Serve as an appetizer or starter.
The blog has been so quiet lately, I may as well have tumbleweed blowing past the screen… I was away for a whole week in Cornwall and then immediately horribly busy with freelance work. Last week passed in a busy blur and all plans to create recipes for the blog were forgotten. If I am being totally honest, I didn’t even want to do any cooking for me or the family either!
Today I went to an early yoga class – a very rare occurrence – and on my slow stroll back home I went past the local grocery store. The fresh spring produce FINALLY jolted me out of my blog inertia and I returned home laden with asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli and lots of herbs.
Initially I was all set to make risotto – so easy in the Instant Pot – but in the end I decided to make my quick puff pastry tarts. I make these often, varying the fillings and toppings depending on what’s in season. They are really child’s play provided you have some pre-rolled puff pastry about – I always seem to have at least two packs in my fridge!
Asparagus may well be my favourite topping – the bright green stalks contrast so nicely with the creamy cheese filling and crispy flaky pastry. I decided to go Italian for the filling: mascarpone, Parmesan, buffalo and grated mozzarella. But you can also use blue cheese, cream cheese, ricotta or whatever else takes your fancy. Check the recipe notes for an alternative topping.
To make the tarts, cut your pre-rolled puff pastry into quarters. Score a thin border around the edge of each square with a sharp knife. Prick inside the border with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden. Once the tarts cool a little you need to press on the middle to flatten.
While the tarts are in the oven, cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes until al dente and then drop in a bowl of cold water – this will help retain the bright green colour. Dry the asparagus and set aside and mix your cheese filling.
Take the tart shells out of the oven and lightly press down to flatten the middle. Fill with your cheese mixture and top with asparagus and bake for another 8 minutes or until the cheese is melting. Add a sprinkling of chopped nuts and a drizzle of olive oil or honey and serve immediately!
- 1 pack pre-rolled puff pastry
- 30 stalks asparagus (1 large bunch)
- 300 g | 10 1/2 oz mascarpone cheese
- 100 g | 3 1/2 oz mozzarella pearls roughly torn
- 100 g | 3 1/2 grated mozzarella
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp onion granules
- 5 mint leaves finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp grated (veggie) Parmesan to sprinkle
- Salt and pepper to season
- Handful chopped walnuts
- A little olive oil to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Unroll your puff pastry and cut into quarters. Place the pastry on the tray, spaced slightly apart.
Score a thin border around the edge of each puff pastry piece with a sharp knife.
Prick inside the border with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden.
While the tarts are in the oven, cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes until al dente and then drop in a bowl of cold water – this will help retain the bright green colour. Dry the asparagus and set aside.
Put the mascarpone and two types of mozzarella in a bowl. Add the olive oil, honey, onion granules, mint and lemon zest.
Use a fork to mix it all together (it might help if you microwave for 10 seconds).
Gently press down the middle of the tarts to flatten and fill with the cheese. Top with the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Return to the oven for 8 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and serve.
You can use broccoli spears (broccoli rabe) instead of asparagus if you prefer, or a mix of the two.
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