The Best Asparagus Tart in the World

May 1, 2014

Fresh asparagus spears…sun-dried tomatoes…a lemon-infused egg custard…there isn’t anything about this tart that isn’t wonderful. And would you believe it’s a cinch to make? The step-by-step recipe:

Note: You’ll need an already-baked tart shell for this recipe. In a pinch, I suppose you could use a ready-made pie crust. As for me, I always use tender, firm Pate Brisee.  My easy method for making and blind-baking this fabulous French pastry dough.

To start, grab 20 fresh, thin asparagus stalks…

And cut the tips 3 1/2 inches in length.  Save the ends for another use.

Cook the tips in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes…

And then chill them off in ice water for a minute or two.

Then pat the greens dry in a light-pink terry towel.

Did you know that a cheap blue terry towel will turn pink if you bleach it? ‘Tis true.

Oh, the useless things you learn from reading this website.

But I’m grateful you read this website! I’d be lost without your company.

Next, drop 10 oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes onto a wooden cutting board, and blot them with a paper towel. We don’t want all of that oil in the filling.

Roughly chop the delicious red morsels.

Then take another dried tomato, and carve it into a 1-inch-diameter circle. This will be the “hub-cap” for your decorative “asparagus wheel.”

Finally, use a micro-zester to grate the peel of one lemon.

To make the custard, crack three large, organic eggs into a medium-size bowl…

And violently beat them with a whisk.

Beat in one 1/2 cup of  heavy cream…

The luscious lemon zest…

And some kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper. I used slightly less than one 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Now take your tart shell, and sprinkle the bottom with one cup of finely-shredded Swiss cheese.

Yes, Lily, you can have a bit of cheese.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes…

And then pour on the lovely, luscious, lemony egg custard.

With their feathery tips facing outward, position the asparagus like the spokes of a wheel. Trim ends as necessary to achieve the design of your dreams.

As a finishing touch, place the red hub-cap in the center.

Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 375° oven until set — about 30 minutes.

The earthy green of the asparagus…the deep, concentrated flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes…the zing of the lemon zest…there isn’t anything I don’t love about this tart.

Care for a taste?

Need a printer-friendly version of the above recipe? Your wish is my command:

The Best Asparagus Tart in the World
Kevin Lee Jacobs (www.kevinleejacobs.com)
Ingredients for one 9-inch tart
3 large, organic eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
The grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Grinds of black pepper
One pre-baked Pate Brisee Tart Shell (directions here)
1 cup finely-shredded Swiss cheese
10 sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed), blotted with paper towels, and chopped
1 sun-dried tomato, cut into a 1-inch circle (for decoration)
20 fresh, young, thin asparagus spears, the tips cut 3 1/2-inches long (save end portions for another use)

Set the oven rack at the middle position; preheat the oven to 375°F.

1. The egg custard — In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Then beat in the cream, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.

2. Assembling the tart – Distribute the shredded cheese over the bottom of the already-baked tart shell, followed by the chopped tomatoes. Then pour on the egg custard. Arrange the asparagus around the tart like the spokes of a wheel, with their feathery tips facing outside, toward the crust. Place the cut out round of tomato in the center.

3. Bake  until set (the custard shouldn’t jiggle at all) — about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes, and then unmold onto a plate or platter. Speaking from experience, this tart is outrageously delicious at any temperature, including cold from the refrigerator.

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Comments

  1. Tina says:

    Looks wonderful and will be making it very soon. But…where is Lily? Did she not know that you were putting cheese into the tart? Well, someone should have told her!

  2. Honor says:

    The edges of the pre baked tart shell don’t burn? Or do you cover them with foil?

  3. Hi Honor – No, the crust’s edges won’t burn at 375°F. Mine didn’t.

  4. Kimmer says:

    I am going to try this one on the weekend!!

  5. Meighan S says:

    Have you got any suggestions for a lactose intolerant version? I know how to substitute for the cheese. But I wonder about the cream. Any thoughts?

  6. Brenda Johnson says:

    Oh how I loved this tart!!! Almost too pretty to eat! (Almost- but I managed to push through and have at it!) The crust is buttery and flaky- the custard is just velvety and smooth- kissed with sunny lemon flavor. Swiss cheese adds a rich nutty back note for the fresh “sings of spring” asparagus and the wonderful addition of the sun dried tomatoes. What a delightful combination of textures and flavors Kevin!!! Thank you for sharing !!!

  7. Kathryn says:

    This sounds amazing. I must have some friends for brunch soon. They will think I’m so clever in the kitchen….not to worry, after I have basked in their adulation for a bit I will pass the credit on to you. Oh and I have a lovely pink towel just like yours which I acquired in the same way. Swoop….my tart should be as good as yours! Love your posts. Kathryn

  8. Teresa Williams says:

    Kevin, I love your writing style. So refreshing! I loved your lemon tart and this sounds equally yummy!

  9. Helga G says:

    Will definitely make as long as there is fresh Asparagus.
    Kevin! Do you grow your own? I wonder how hard it would be to start. Love all your recipes. Keep them coming

  10. Helga G says:

    Oh I forgot to say Hello to your Sous Chef Lily

  11. Lana says:

    That looks like it will taste as good as it looks. Next time I have visitors for lunch that will be on the menu.

  12. Tree Ethington says:

    Looks interesting. I will have to try this.

  13. Katie Zack says:

    Made lemon tarts again for coffee hour at church today. Now I will make this tart for dinner one night this week. You really do make things simple with your step be step style. Thanks so much!

  14. Katie S says:

    Yum! I will try this!

  15. Suzanne K says:

    When I have WAY too many tomatoes, I slice them and put them in my dehydrator. Voila, ‘almost sun dried’ tomatoes. I just store them in bags in the fridge (just in case there’s any moisture left, don’t want mold…). I wonder if these would work/be the same as the ones in oil?

  16. Hi Suzanne K – I can’t say for certain, but I should think your dehydrated tomatoes would be marvelous in this tart. Let me know how the dish turns out for you.

  17. Ardell Barr says:

    YUM!! Must try this real soon. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes….so decadent looking but you make them sound so simple.

  18. Diana Posthuma says:

    Alas, being down under, Asparagus season is gone and will not return for a while, but I plan to store this recipe for when it does! Will try the base recipe too!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Diana in New Zealand.

  19. Maria Clark says:

    Kevin this is a perfect and timely recipe as I need to make something for the breakfast the PTA is putting on Thursday morning. I was planning on making just an ordinary quiche but this is a much better idea! I love asparagus and lemon together but had never thought of adding lemon to my asparagus quiche. great idea! – Maria

  20. kathy says:

    Chopping died tomatoes is OK, but I am much faster when I use my “food dedicated” scissors for this job.

  21. Linda Stone says:

    To the lactose intolerant person, sometimes yoghurt can be substituted for cream. I add enough water or other liquid to ensure correct consistency. Hope this might help.

  22. Dana Hutchinson says:

    I so want to make this ‘ASAP’. My family loves asparagus all year round and the different flavors in this recipe just sound so delicious together. I’ll let you know the verdict as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing, you are amazing! :)

  23. Ann says:

    Made your tart with asparagus from my garden. It came out perfect. Delicious!

  24. Ann – So glad you tried and liked the tart! Thanks for letting me know.

  25. Sheryl says:

    Due to a nice run of sunshine and warm weather here in northern Vermont, I have been blessed with a sudden abundance of asparagus from my garden. AND I dehydrated a bunch of tomatoes last year to take backpacking and use in my chili mix…I just put those in and am waiting for the tart to come out of the oven.

    Do you think I could mix the tart dough by hand and get the same consistency (I used my food processor this time, but it’s such a pain to clean and I like getting my hands in the dough…)?

    Thanks again for all the great stuff on your site!

  26. Shirley Park says:

    Hi there, Just printed off your Rhubarb Pie recipe and got sidetracked reading this one as well. When, oh when is this cookbook of yours going to be available? I hope all your lovely pictures that you use to explain how you do all this stuff will be in them?? – please –?
    Keep up your great work!

  27. Toni Kitchen says:

    Hi Kevin…
    Tonight I made the asparagras tart and it was heaven. Thank you for the recipe, however i had no double cream so used low fat yogurt and it was divine.
    I did just for making sure, use an extra egg, not knowing what the yogurt would act like.
    Just wanted to let you know. Sooo good and my hubby is having it for his lunch tomorrow, cold. he really liked it too. A win win all round. : )
    Hugs to you,
    Toni and Simon Kitchen
    Sleaford, England

  28. Sheri Rice says:

    Hi Kevin! I’ve been wanting to thank you for the asparagus tart recipe! I have a good story for you about it.

    I got married in May and had several family members coming from out of state for the celebration. While I kept insisting I wanted a simple event, one which I could enjoy without too much stress, naturally that was easier said than done. After struggling to get a seating chart done and meal choices to the chef the week before our wedding, I got a call from my NY cousin asking if we were having a gift opening the next day, or a brunch – so out of town family could gather before flying home. Although my fiancé suggested I say “no,” I decided we’d host brunch at our house in Sunday. (Yeah, I know….the morning after our wedding.) I said the only way I’d host is if someone would help warm food up that morning – I had planned to either cook in advance or have it catered. How fortuitous your tart recipe showed up that same week! I made three of the asparagus tarts four days before our wedding and froze them, and all we had to do was warm them up the morning of brunch. My family is a tough audience – it includes a couple chefs – but they devoured them!

    I truly wanted to thank you for a recipe that helped me start married life able to relax on a busy day while looking like a skilled cook at the same time. :) Nobody could believe I had whipped these up myself! I paired them with a fantastic cheesy potato casserole, bacon, bagels and plenty of champagne.

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