Puff pastry is one of those indispensable pantry staples. It keeps forever in the freezer, thaws in a snap, and can be used in both savory and sweet applications. It's perfect for throwing an elegant appetizer like an asparagus and mushroom tart together at the last minute.
This tart from the April issue of Bon Appétit looks and tastes great. Airy puff pastry is topped with a mixture of spring vegetables, crème fraîche, and gruyere, with a hint of lemon peeking through. The recipe originally called for shiitake mushrooms, but white button mushrooms were all I had on hand and the tarts still tasted great. Also, if crème fraîche is expensive at your local store, then feel free to make your own. There are a ton of recipes on the interwebs that you can use, but I found the one combining equal amounts of sour cream and heavy cream the easiest to do and the only one that fit within my short time frame.
- 1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 12 ounces white button mushrooms, halved and then sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about two ounces)
- Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
Roll out each pastry sheet on work surface to 10-inch square. Cut each into 4 squares. Using small knife, score 1/2-inch border (do not cut through pastry) around inside edges of each square. Arrange squares on 2 rimmed baking sheets. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to large bowl; cool 5 minutes. Add asparagus, chopped thyme, lemon peel, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mushrooms. Mix in crème fraîche and cheese. (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Mound filling atop pastry squares, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.
Bake tarts 12 minutes. Reverse sheets. Continue to bake tarts until crusts are puffed and golden and filling is cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to plates; garnish with thyme sprigs.