Asparagus Tart

Asparagus might have been specially made for the tart treatment—use long spears for a square pan or short ones for a rectangular pan.–Alastair Hendy

LC A Matter Of Course Note

When it comes to entertaining, we’re all for appearance and, let’s be honest here, ease. This asparagus tart recipe has got your back in all of the aforementioned categories. A handy standby for just about any spring occasion, whether first-course, main course, maybe even the only course.

Asparagus Tart Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (about 20 largish leaves), stems trimmed (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 pound phyllo, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Gruyere
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • 2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Plunge the spears into the water for just a moment to blanch it, then remove it and toss it into the ice water. Do the same with the spinach, if using.
  • 3. Meanwhile, brush a 9-inch square tart pan or a 14-inch rectangular tart pan with a little melted butter and line it with a sheet of phyllo pastry, pressing the phyllo against the side of the pan and allowing the excess to hang over the edge of the pan. Brush the top of this sheet with more butter and top it with another sheet of phyllo. Repeat until all the phyllo is used. Trim the edges of the phyllo flush with the top of the tart pan.
  • 4. Drain the asparagus and the spinach, if using, and pat them completely dry.

    If using spinach: Arrange a layer of spinach on the phyllo. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Add the Gruyère, a second layer of spinach, and season again. Beat the eggs, cream, and nutmeg in a pitcher or bowl, then pour the mixture over the tart. Arrange the spears in a row on the tart. Brush the exposed pastry edges with a little butter. Cut a piece of parchment or foil that covers the inside of the asparagus tart but leaves the phyllo edge uncovered.

    If not using spinach: Sprinkle the Gruyère over the phyllo. Beat the eggs, cream, and nutmeg in a pitcher or bowl, then pour the mixture over the tart. Arrange the spears in a row on the tart. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Brush the exposed pastry edges with a little butter. Cut a piece of parchment or foil that covers the inside of the asparagus tart but leaves the phyllo edge uncovered.
  • 5. Bake the asparagus tart, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Cover the center but not the edge of the pastry with the parchment or foil and continue to bake until the center of the tart is just set, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let the asparagus tart rest a few minutes before slicing.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Cristina M.

Apr 18, 2011

I really liked how this tart turned out. Not only was it aesthetically beautiful, the contrast of flavors from the Gruyere and the asparagus in a custard-like layer was so delicious. The phyllo lent a complementary texture without taking over the tart (like a puff pastry would have). I had two 14-by-5 tart pans so I made two tarts, just splitting the ingredients between the two pans. I arranged the asparagus so that it was lined up at both ends of each tart pan. The recipe could include more butter, as there wasn’t enough to layer between the phyllo layers and to butter the exposed pastry when baking. I used 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, but when I make this again, I’ll use the full amount. I also omitted the spinach. If you do the same, add the Gruyère before layering the asparagus. When baking for the first 15 minutes with the inside of the tart covered with foil, some of the Gruyère stuck to the foil because I layered after arranging the asparagus (this probably wouldn’t have happened if I used parchment). Great recipe, and I look forward to making it again with my notes.

Testers Choice
Chiyo Ueyama

Apr 18, 2011

This is the first time I handled phyllo without cursing and, because of that, I recommend the recipe to all phyllo virgins. You’ll still have to work swiftly with the infamously delicate dough (keep it under a damp kitchen towel), but not to worry if the phyllo sheets tear—keep good faith and continue layering, and your tart will still look good. To maintain the momentum, melt an extra tablespoon of butter in case you run out of it during the assembly process. I was too generous with the brushing at the beginning and had to pop more butter in the microwave. Another thing to remember is to drain the asparagus and spinach well after they’ve cooled in the ice water. My tart was baked in a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate (I arranged the asparagus in a starburst pattern with the tips pointing outward), and the custard set in 25 minutes after covering with parchment. The tart was creamy and cheesy, and the asparagus still had good texture. The nutmeg reminded me of moussaka, but if you’re not a fan, halve the amount, omit it, or replace it with your favorite herb.

Comments
Comments
  1. Rachel Kaufman says:

    This tart made me a brunch hero. I was cooking for five on my own, and being able to prep this ahead of time and then just pop it in the oven was awesome. It came out looking so beautiful that everyone wanted to take pictures of it.

    A couple notes: My pound of phyllo came in two packages; I wasn’t really paying attention and so I only thawed one package, which was 20 sheets. That was MORE than enough for this tart (at least in a 9×13 dish, which is all I had). The 4 tablespoons butter wasn’t enough; I used more like 6 or 7, I think. And a bunch of asparagus, which turned out to be about a pound, was too much to fit in the tart pan, but I think that’s because I lucked out and managed to get some of those early-spring thin spears despite it being June. If my pound of ‘sparagus had been composed of fewer but thicker spears, I probably wouldn’t have had leftovers.

    I did use spinach, but the “20 largish leaves” didn’t add much–I’d either use a bit more or just leave it out next time. But all in all–delicious. (I should add that my brunch companions said, after tasting this tart and my other dishes, that “there is not a non-delicious thing at this table.” Yay!)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Rachel, can we be invited to your next brunch? Sounds lovely. And thanks for your tweaks to the recipes, we’re always curious to hear how individual cooks have their preferences, and we always learn from them. Thanks!

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