rustic asparagus beet tart

I'd like to file this appetizer under "came out good, but lots of room for improvement". Sometimes I go back and forth about whether to write up something that has "significant opportunity" but I think in this case it is worth it. But to be clear, I made a batch of dairy-free banana orange quinoa "muffins" that I'm not writing about yet. In the ever descriptive words of my sister, they are like hard tack for sailors crossing the the Atlantic Ocean.

But the tart is in a much better shape. It needs a lot less improvement than the muffins. I found the original recipe for this tart on Food52 and made some modifications - like swapping asparagus for wilted greens. I served this tart as a "starter" for our book club meeting and followed it with with butternut squash apple soup.

Where this is a good recipe?
  • Nice and light.
  • Great base and can easily be used to swap in and out seasonal ingredients. Hello summer tomatoes and garden fresh basil.
  • Super fast and easy. The hardest part is making sure you have pastry dough on hand - which you should always buy if you see it on sale. Paying $4.99 hurts.
Where it can improve?
  • Not quite hearty enough // The cheese custard part of the tart is much more significant than the other components (beets and asparagus). I wouldn't cut down on that necessarily but maybe if you added some protein (crumbled sausage?)
  • Portion Size // Cut into smaller servings. I cut into 6 even pieces but I think that if the portions were smaller you would have felt like you were eating more veggies and less pastry. 
  • Add more veggies // End of story. Really layer in the beets more aggressively and the asparagus if you go that way.
  1. Roll the puff pastry out until you have a rough 10-inch square. Transfer the square to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Roll in the edges of the pastry about an inch on all 4 sides so that you have a pastry wall. Use a little water to seal the edges. You want to make sure that the custard doesn't leak out when poured into the "shell".
  3. Combine the egg and the goat cheese with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slowly add the milk or cream, stiring until you have a thick but good smooth consistency. It should be no thinner than pancake batter.
  4. Pour the custard into the pastry shell, then lay the beets on top, being careful not to overflow the pastry shell.
  5. Chop off the tops of the asparagus first and then use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices of asparagus. You'll probably want to use about 6 asparagus spears at a minimum - I would recommend going a little bit heavier than I did. Alternatively, just chop the asparagus into like 1 inch bits and put them on the tart. I'll probably go this route next time I make this.
  6. Bake at 400 until the pastry is golden, the custard is set, and the top is just a little brown.
Shopping List
1 can of sliced beets
1/2 package of frozen puff pastry, or equivalent of homemade
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cups whole milk or cream
3 to 5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

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