About 30 years ago, I made puff pastry from scratch in
culinary school. It came out really, really well, and I haven’t made it since.
Why? Because frozen puff pastry is so readily available, so consistently
perfect, and so easy to work with, that the thought of going through all the
time and trouble to make my own seems kind of crazy.
Of course, that’s a poor attitude for a cook, and one I’ve
been fighting against all these years as I convince people that making your own
bread, dressings, cheese, crème fraiche, etc. is a worthwhile pursuit. So,
eventually I will show you how to make puff pastry, and hopefully somehow
reconcile this obvious hypocrisy, but for now, we defrost.
By the way, I realize that berry season is probably over
where you live, but fresh California blackberries were still around a few weeks
ago when I filmed this video, and so I’m posting it anyway, seasonality be
damned. This is really about the technique for making little puff pastry tart
shells anyway, and I’m very confident you’ll figure out how to fill them.
Speaking of which, don’t limit your brainstorming to sweet
treats. These lovely little cups make for a stellar base for all kinds of
savory bites. I’ve filled these with sautéed mushrooms, chicken salads, and
smoked salmon, just to name a few. Regardless of what you fill them with, they
will be very well received. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 12 tartlets:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, partially thawed (you should get
12 tartlets if you use a 2-inch cutter like I did)
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup lemon curd, vanilla custard, chocolate mousse,
whipped cream, or other appropriate filling
12 fresh blackberries
powdered sugar, as needed
*Bake puff pastry at 400 degrees F. for 13-15 minutes, allow
to fully cool before filling.
I don’t often buy puff pastry to make asparagus tarts, but when I find a piece in the back of the freezer, it’s one of my all-time favorite things to do. My only real regret with this video, was not finishing it with a poached egg, and calling it a Mother’s Day brunch special. As great as this was, it would have been even more so accessorized with a runny egg.
As long as you’re pretty good at making rectangles, and trimming things to the right length, this recipe is a breeze. By the way, I’ll give the specific ingredient amounts I used here, but this really depends on how much asparagus you have, and how long you want your tart to be.
The width of your tart is always going to be a little wider than the asparagus are long, as you see above; but the length is up to you, and you can use as many spears as will fit across your pan. If you’re not quite clear on what I’m saying, simply Google “asparagus tart” and you’ll see what I mean. They’re like snowflakes.
While we got a surprisingly positive response on our raw asparagus salad recipe (I really should have more faith in you), I did want to do a more classic, hot preparation as well. Asparagus is bountiful and beautiful right now, and I really hope you pick some up, possibly along with some eggs, and give this a try soon. Enjoy!
6 x 9 inch rectangle of puff pasty, thawed
6 asparagus spears, blanched in well-salted wated
2 tsp melted butter
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano as needed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp crème fraiche
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste– Bake puff pastry shell at 400 F. for 10-12 minutes, or until puffed and golden-brown.– Fill and bake another 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is browned and asparagus are tender (but not mushy!).
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