Thursday, May 4, 2023

Parmesan Asparagus Puff Pastry Tarts

 

Puff pastry can really elevate any dish. It's light and flaky and bakes up golden brown. I've always loved its versatility. It's the star of multi-layer desserts like a French Napoleon. Or twist it with parmesan for simple and thoroughly delicious cheese straws. Recipe developer Lily Ghodrati recently posted a video on TikTok featuring honey, nectarines, and puff pastry. She baked the tarts with the puff pastry on top and flipped them over after baking, very much like what you would do with the classic French dessert tarte tatin. Her video went viral, garnering over 45 million views. It has since spurred many other creators to share savory and sweet puff pastry videos using the same method with the puff pastry on top. The benefit of baking with the puff pastry on top of the filling is that the puff pastry stays flaky and crisp without the filling making it soggy.


I decided to hop on the upside down puff pastry train as well with parmesan asparagus tarts. I started with a layer of parmesan cheese, topped with asparagus and prosciutto, and then slathered in compound butter before finishing with a strip of puff pastry. When baked upside down, the parmesan forms a crispy crust. And the compound butter infuses everything while allowing the puff pastry to remain crispy. I used Challenge Unsalted Butter to make the compound butter. Challenge Unsalted Butter is 100% real cream butter—nothing artificial or synthetic.

There are a few things to keep in mind when working with puff pastry:

  • You can make your own puff pastry, but the only time I've done that is in culinary school. If you buy puff pastry, look for all butter dough. It makes a big difference.
  • Make sure the puff pastry is thawed, but it still needs to be cold. It shouldn't be room temperature. You want the buttery layers to remain separate. Work quickly once it is thawed.
  • Make clean cuts so you don't crush the layers, which would prevent it from puffing.

Parmesan asparagus puff pastry tarts

Yield: Makes about 12 tarts

Time: About 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the compound butter

  • 1 stick of Challenge unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chives, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the tarts

  • 1 roll puff pastry, thawed but still cold
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (you’ll need about 1 cup)
  • 12 asparagus spears, woody ends removed
  • About 3 slices prosciutto, cut in fourths
  • Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Cut puff pastry into 12 equal pieces. Return to refrigerator.
  3. Mix compound butter ingredients together. Set aside.
  4. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. Sprinkle parmesan cheese in strip about the length of an asparagus spear in one corner of parchment paper. 
  6. Place 1 asparagus spear on top of parmesan.
  7. Place 1 piece prosciutto on top of asparagus.
  8. Place about 1 Tablespoon compound butter over prosciutto.
  9. Remove puff pastry from refrigerator and lay one strip over prosciutto. Brush with egg wash.
  10. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and flip each tart over before serving.

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