I am back in Copenhagen, and the first thing I observed was that spring is approximately 3 weeks behind – compared to southern Germany. Lucky me – I get to enjoy the beauty of spring twice 😉 Still, it is hard to get back into a normal work day routine, after two weeks of family holidays which were mostly filled with cooking, eating and relaxing together. But for now, I can still indulge in the reminiscence of the gorgeous food we had over Easter: Part 1 – the asparagus tartlets.
I made these already quite some time ago for my family and the tastes worked very well together. The buttery texture of the puff pastry is perfect in combination with the moist ricotta topping and the pinch of lemon is just nice to give the asparagus something special without overpowering their soft taste. So give it a try! And if you think, making puff pastry yourself just takes a lot of time you don’t have, just cheat a bit and take the one you can buy in the store 😉
Ingredients (yields 4 tartlets, which serves 3-4 as a main dish):
|For the puff pastry:||For the topping:|
|250 g wheat flour||1 bunch of green asparagus|
|1 pinch of salt||250 g ricotta|
|150 g butter||2 tbsp cream|
|125 ml ice cold water||1 organic lemon|
|grated Parmesan to sprinkle|
For the puff pastry:
Start 2 hours in advance with preparing the puff pastry. If you don’t have the time to make the pastry yourself, you can of course also use 1 package of ready bought puff pastry. Divide the butter into 4 parts of equal size. Mix flour and salt together in a bowl and rub in one fourth (37 g) of the butter. Put the rest of the butter into the freezer. Add just enough water such that the dough combines. Transfer to the countertop and knead until well combined. Roll the dough to a 12 x 25 cm rectangle, making sure that the edges are straight and the corners are orthogonal. Turn the pastry rectangle such that the shorter edge is directly in front of you (parallel to your body).
Take another fourth of the butter out of the freezer and grate it evenly onto the upper 2/3 of the pastry, such that there is one envelope-sized rectangle left without butter. Fold the lower third of the pastry (the one without butter) into the middle, then fold the upper third on top. You should now have an envelope-sized piece of pastry in front of you. Turn it around such that the shorter edge is directly in front of you. Carefully roll out the pastry (not pressing too hard), and repeat the folding and rolling procedure once more. Take another fourth of the butter out of the freezer and grate it onto the upper 2/3 of the pastry. Fold in the third without butter, then the other third. Turn the pastry again and carefully roll it out. Repeat the folding and rolling procedure once more, then add the last fourth of butter and repeat the procedure again. Put the pastry into the fridge to rest for at least one hour.
For the topping:
Wash the asparagus and remove the ends, peel if necessary. In a bowl, mix together ricotta, cream and the egg. Season with salt and pepper and the zest of 1 lemon. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Sprinkle the countertop with flour and roll out the puff pastry to a large rectangle until it is 2-3 mm thick. Divide the pastry into 4 rectangles of equal size and transfer them to two baking sheets which are spread with baking parchment. Distribute the ricotta topping evenly across the 4 pastry pieces, leaving the edges empty. Put the asparagus stalks on top of the tartlets and fold in the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, then bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges turn brown. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and grated parmesan.