A few weeks ago I had every intention of making baked brie. I bought all the ingredients and then they just sat in the fridge, unused. Mainly because I was having a serious mental block with eating store bought puff pastry. I have this thing for ‘homemade’ everything, so why I bought the puff pastry in the first place, I don’t know… I did eat the brie though, like, inhaled it! Just not baked brie. Which left me with a box of unused puff pastry. So, while I try and avoid using store bought things, like puff pastry, I had some in my fridge and I was not going to waste it. Because what I hate even more then processed food is wasted food.
The possibilities on how to use puff pastry are endless and it literally makes my brain hurt trying to narrow down just HOW I should use it. My mind jumps from breakfast, to dessert, to make ahead freezer friendly appetizers, and everything in between. Its a blessing and a curse.
We invited some friends over for brunch and I decided, after a little pep talk I gave myself, “Julia, use it for a savory tart. Stop over thinking it, just make a decision and go with it, mmm, k?!”
Now that I made the commitment to a savory tart ( my pep talk actually worked!), I needed to decide on a flavor. In the fridge I had a small log of goat cheese and aspragus, BAM! Done AND DONE! I put the ingredients on the counter and exited my kitchen so I couldn’t rethink my decision and keep rummaging around for additional or different flavors. I will do that, I’ll change which direction I want to go with a dish, or an entire meal, approzimately 82 times before I a finally HAVE to just choose. My poor husband, he’s a saint and puts up with me.
I hadn’t used puff pastry in a while and, honestly, I was a bit nervous. I knew it was easy to use, but I was psychying myself out, thinking it would be difficult, or unforgiving, or testy. None of those are true. I read some ‘tips’ on how to work with it because I had questions like, should I bake the crust first, then add the toppings and bake it again? Or just assemlbe the entire thing, raw, then bake it all together? In the end, it seemed like both ways produced good results and I just had to choose which way I wanted to go. I chose the ‘assemble raw, then bake’ method. It worked like a dream!
My friends thought so too!
Even though I’m an, ‘everything is better homemade’ kinda girl, puff pastry might be the one exception. It’s quick, easy, versatile, and well, frankly, it’s pretty dang delicious! But, because I am a ‘homemade girl’ I did make some of my ricotta to spread on a loaf of focaccia they brought over. We sat in the backyard under the warm sun enjoying an amazing brunch, it was perfect!
I would be a big fat liar if I claimed to have come up with the idea of an asparagus tart all on my own. I didn’t. About 5 years ago I made my first asparagus tart after seeing one made on TV (probably on The Food Network). Since then I’ve made quite a few variations, finally deciding this particular tart might be my favorite.
An asparagus and goat cheese tart would be a fantastic addition to your Easter menu. Serve it with a side salad, fruit, any variety of meat, and you have yourself a full on feast!