Simple and deliciously easy Asparagus and Cheese Mini Tarts are a favorite for me this year.
As a spring Seattle rain beats against my windows, it’s sometimes hard to believe that summer and blue sky will ever arrive. But arrive it will, soon. Even now, fresh veggies are beginning to arrive from the eastern slopes of our Cascade mountains.
A harbinger of spring, for me, is asparagus. A lovely veggie, healthy and so versatile.
This year, however, I am loving the treat of these easy asparagus and cheese mini tarts. It’s pungent, herbaceous flavor partners so well with cheese and with store bought pastry, it’s minutes in the making. Perfect for spring parties and brunches, but delightfully easy enough to make anytime.
Easy Asparagus and Cheese Mini Tarts
mini tart shells, 1 ready made pie crust or 3-inch tart shells
1 bunch asparagus
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-12 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere Cheese or Cheddar
Note on tart shells:
1. 9-inch Pie Using Ready-Made Pastry
The easiest way to make this tart is to use a ready-made pie crust. Preheat oven to 450°F. Open crust on work surface. Press out any cracks. Rub with flour. Arrange dough, flour side down, in 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough into pan. Fold excess dough border over to form double-thick sides. Pierce dough all over with fork. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
2. Ready-Made Mini Tart Shells
You can use ready-made mini tart shells made either from pastry or filo. These are most often found in the freezer section of your market. If the shell is unbaked, bake according to package instructions. If it’s already baked, simply portion the filling, cheese, asparagus and cherry tomato into individual shells.
3. Make Your Own Mini Shells Using Ready-Made Pastry
It’s easy to make your own mini tart shells using ready-made pie crust. Heat oven to 450°F. Spray back of 12-cup regular-size muffin pan with cooking spray. Remove pie crust from pouch; unroll on work surface. Sprinkle crust with sugar; press in lightly. Cut 6 rounds from crust with 4-inch round cookie cutter, or trace 6 rounds with top of large drinking glass and cut out with sharp knife.
4. Make Your Own Pastry
FineCooking.com has a basic savory tart recipe that’s really good.
Cook asparagus in pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes, depending on thickness. Drain well. Place on paper towels. Mix milk, cooled melted butter, beaten eggs, salt, and cheese in bowl. Season with pepper. Arrange asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Pour custard over. Bake until tart puffs and top browns, about 35 minutes for whole pie, about 15 minutes for mini tarts. Check at about 10 minutes; cooking time will vary depending on the size of the tart. Cool slightly.