It’s hot in Toronto.
The heat and humidity have come full on and it’s just far too hot to even contemplate turning on the oven and baking. But being closed inside begins to feel a bit like being trapped, so of course I’ve turned to my cookbooks and magazines and am sitting here enjoying them with a coffee.
But just because I can’t bake it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bake either. I turned to my blog bank (the file of recipes that I’ve tried but haven’t posted yet) and pulled out this little gem.
Asparagus season has been glorious this year and I made these little treats after seeing them in the spring issue of the Donna Hay magazine (Issue #29). These little tarts are very easy to make and would be perfect as an appetizer or even as a main course along side a lovely summer salad.
Basically you’re rolling out some puff pastry, spreading on some ricotta and laying a few asparagus spears over the ricotta. A brief visit to the oven and these babies are ready to go.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to bake today, enjoy! As for me, I’m waiting for the rain to stop so I can hit the lawn chair under the pear tree and suck back a few mojitos!
From the Donna Hay magazine, Issue #29
puff pastry (enough to roll out to produce at least four rectangles that are roughly 5 x 2 inches at about a 1/4 inch of thickness)
1 cup ricotta
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 to 2 bunches asparagus (trimmed and washed – how many asparagus bunches you use will depend on how many spears in each bunch)
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out the puff pastry and cut out at least four rectangles that are 5 x 2 inches. The puff pastry should be about a 1/4 inch thick. Place the rectangles on the prepared baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, the salt and pepper, the lemon zest, the Parmigiano Reggiano and the basil. Mix well. If the mixture is too thin, add a bit more Parmigiano. It should be thick almost like a cream cheese.
Spread some of the ricotta mixture over each puff pastry rectangle. Leave a border of about half an inch all the way around. Lay two or three asparagus spears over the ricotta. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the asparagus and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes and check the tarts. The puff pastry should be golden and the asparagus should be soft when pierced. If not, bake for a few more minutes. (When I made these, I used thick asparagus spears so it took about 16 or 17 minutes to bake.)
Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!