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Asparagus tart

Sat, 20 April, 2024

Fresh asparagus tart on puff pastry, cheesy and flavoured with dill, is the perfect springtime comfort food: indulgent but quick and easy.

asparagus tart

Puff with no huff

Puff pastry is such a life saver! True, it’s hugely calorific and not very nutritionally appropriate, but if you want something delicious quickly, it has no equal.

It’s one of those ingredients that are perfectly respectable to use shop bought: not even the biggest domestic snobs will look down on you for buying Jus-Roll. That’s because it’s a serious challenge to make your own.

Puff pastry is a type of laminated dough together with croissant and Danish.

It is made by wrapping a sheet of dough over a flattened rectangle of butter, then rolling and folding, rolling and folding, chilling, rolling and folding. Eventually butter and dough are interspersed in dozens of layers, and when baked, the hot butter makes the dough layers separate and become flaky.

If it sounds daunting, it certainly is: all I can show to my credit is a rudimentary rough puff.

So it’s immensely reassuring that for £1.50 and within half an hour you can create a delightful puffy result.

puff pastry tart with asparagus

What toppings for a tart?

Puff pastry is so forgiving, you can really top it with anything you like, as long as it’s not too watery. That’s why a tomato tart is best made in the Tatin version, upside down.

You can cover the puff with slices of ham and cheese for the simplest tart, going all the way through to leek, cheese and bacon or sweet potato, onion and goat’s cheese where you need to precook and elaborately prepare the topping mix. Here today we’re not talking about any such complicated stuff: it’s spread and bake.

cheesy asparagus puff pastry tart

Asparagus for a tart

Asparagus cooks quickly and it doesn’t leach liquid whilst cooking so it’s perfect for a quick bake.

Trim the ends – various schools of asparagus thought tell you to bend and break off the ends, others claim snapping is not much use and you should just trim them with a knife. Either way, wash them and pat dry.

If you have a bunch of thin, spindly asparagus (at the beginning and very end of the season), use them whole. If the spears are fat and stocky, slice them lengthwise in half.

sliced asparagus spears

Cheese for the tart base

I usually spread some cream cheese over the puff pastry, to stop it from getting soggy. I also use cream cheese to brush the edges: recipes that tell you to waste a whole egg to brush about two square inches of pastry are idiotic.

But cream cheese is only an insulation, the cheesy bed for asparagus spears is better made from hard, grated cheese. I use whatever I have at home: Cheddar, Gruyere, Emmental, an unidentified chunk, with Parmesan coarsely grated too.

pastry base

Most of that cheese goes onto the pastry base, underneath the asparagus. You can arrange them any way you like: for a standard sheet of Jus-Roll pastry you’ll need about a dozen thin asparagus or halves of fat ones. And the remaining cheese will be scattered on top.

assembling asparagus tart

Don’t skip the dill!

I have only recently discovered how wonderfully well it goes with asparagus. I’m a little biased because it’s my favourite herb but other people agree with me: a sprinkling of chopped dill over buttered asparagus is fabulous.

In this case sprinkle the dill generously over the cream cheese at the bottom of the tart, and scatter any remaining over baked tart.


More puff pastry recipes

Fig and prosciutto tart with ready-rolled puff pastry takes about five minutes to prepare and twenty to bake. A divine, seasonal lunch or starter dish, best made with gorgeous Bursa figs.

Mini party rolls, filled with chipolata sausages or ham and cheese filling. They are easy to prepare and invariably the biggest hit with party people.

Burger wellingtons with mushrooms and shallots wrapped in puff pastry, an easy version of beef Wellington. It’s a fancy dish for dummies, it’s your Valentine’s Day dinner this year.

More asparagus recipes

Fresh green asparagus cooked gently in butter, served with some shavings of Parmesan, are a delicious spring treat. To snap or not to snap the ends, but make sure you cook them quickly and get them as local and fresh as possible.

Filo wrapped asparagus with Parmesan are a crunchy, golden, irresistible vegetarian snack or appetiser. Asparagus filo parcels rolled up like cigars are a must before the asparagus season ends.

Pasta fritta, fried pasta with asparagus, garlic and mint, the best thing to do with leftover pasta. Any pasta shape can be made into pasta fritta either without eggs, or frittata pasta with eggs mixed in.

easy puff pastry tart with asparagus

Asparagus tart

Servings: 2-4Time: 35 minutes


  • 320g (14 x 9 inch) sheet ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 large bunch (300g or 10 oz) asparagus
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 120g (1 cup) grated cheese (Cheddar, Emmental, Gruyere or a mix)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • salt and black pepper


1. Have the pastry at room temperature for half an hour to make it pliable. Spread it on parchment, it can be the parchment it was wrapped in.

2. Make a rim by folding an edge of the pastry inwards all around. Prick it all over with a fork.

3. Spread the cream cheese over the base and rim. Sprinkle with most of the dill, reserve some for later. Place the pastry in the fridge for 10 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/gas 7 with a large baking tray on a middle rack.

5. Wash, pat dry and trim the ends of the asparagus. If they are super thick, cut each lengthwise in half.

6. Spread most of the grated cheese over the chilled pastry and arrange the asparagus spears in whatever pattern you like. Scatter the remaining cheese and transfer the tart with the parchment onto the preheated tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and brown around the edges and the asparagus is wilted.

7. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved dill and cut into portions with a pizza cutter.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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