Made with puff pastry dough, cheese, and fresh asparagus, this Asparagus Cheese Tart is an elegant but easy appetizer for any occasion. Or enjoy it as part of a brunch spread!
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Asparagus is a vegetable I think is seriously underrated. It has so many healthy nutrients, great flavor, and it’s so easy to cook with. And since it’s not as common as broccoli or green beans, adding it to a recipe adds a bit of a luxurious flare, in my opinion.
This cheese tart is definitely elevated by the addition of asparagus! It takes it from your basic cheese puff pastry recipe to a more sophisticated and savory asparagus puff pastry tart.
Between the lemon and asparagus, this cheese tart is perfect for spring. You can serve it as an appetizer or a light meal. Personally, I think it’s a lovely addition to a brunch table and it is beautiful for special occasions like baby and wedding showers where you may want something a bit nicer than other classic apps.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Puff pastry – It should be thawed but kept chilled. Warm puff pastry dough is difficult to work with, you will want to keep it in the fridge until you need it.
- Flour – For dusting the surface you work on.
- Asparagus – See below for tips on how to select and store asparagus.
- Dijon mustard – Grainy dijon adds a bite of spice and flavor to the tart but you can use any mustard you prefer for this recipe.
- Thyme – Both dried and fresh thyme will work.
- Lemon – The zest is used on the tart and I also like to squeeze lemon over the tart when serving, though that part is optional.
- Grana padano – Finely, freshly grated is essential. Parmigiano Reggiano will work as well, just make sure it is the fresh stuff and not the type you get on the shelf.
- Egg – Helps the pastry turn a beautiful golden brown.
- Milk or water – For the egg wash.
Grana Padano vs Parmigiano Reggiano
Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano are two of Italy’s most famous cheeses. Grana Padano is actually the country’s most-produced cheese!
To be classified as either cheese, they must come from a specific region – Grana Padano from the Po River Valley area and Parmigiano-Reggiano from the region including cities like Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Bologna.
The two kinds of cheese have a similar texture and even appearance but there are some differences. Grana Padano is made with partially skimmed raw milk and is aged for 9 to 20 months.
Parmigiano Reggiano, on the other hand, ages for a minimum of 12 months.
Flavor-wise, Parmigiano-Reggiano is nuttier and more complex with more of a “bite”. While the two can be used interchangeably, Grana Padano is typically used in larger amounts in dishes like this cheese tart, while Parmigiano-Reggiano is spread on top of dishes.
Other Types Of Cheese To Try
Can’t find Brie or Grana Padano or want to experiment with other flavors? There are all but endless possibilities for this cheese puff pastry. Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Goat cheese
- Tips for Choosing and Storing Asparagus
When choosing asparagus at the store, you want to look for the following:
- Stalks that are firm to the touch and not soft
- A Green color that is not faded
- Tips that are closed, not opened or spread
- Smooth texture
Then, once you get the asparagus home:
- Trim the ends (like you would flower stems)
- Place them standing up in a jar of water
You’ll want to use the asparagus within a day or two, to prevent it from softening, but storing it vertically in water is the best way to keep it.
How to Trim Asparagus
Before using asparagus in the recipe, you need to remove the tough, woody end. There are two easy ways to do this:
- Snap the ends. Start bending the asparagus at the bottom and it will naturally snap where the woody part ends.
- Trim it. You can also bend the asparagus to see the point where it is no longer tough and then trim the asparagus there with a knife.
How to Make An Asparagus Cheese Tart
Step One: To make your asparagus puff pastry tart, begin by preheating the oven to 400°F. Then roll the chilled puff pastry into a 9″x13″ rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet (or baking sheet lined with parchment paper). I recommend rolling the dough carefully around the rolling pin, gently lifting it to one end of the baking sheet, and rolling it off the rolling pin.
Step Two: Pierce the puff pastry all over with a fork. This helps it to cool evenly and remain flat instead of puffing up.
Step Three: Spread the Dijon evenly over the puff pastry, leaving a border of about 1” around the edges.
Step Four: Form the edges of the tart by rolling the puff pastry inwards to create a raised edge.
Step Five: Add the sliced brie evenly over the mustard, followed by the asparagus spears. Place them parallel to the short side of the pastry. Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil then season with salt, thyme, and lemon zest.
Step Six: Spread the Grana Padano evenly over the top.
Step Seven: Make the egg wash by whisking the egg and milk (or water) together. Then baste the edges of the puff pastry evenly.
Step Eight: Bake the asparagus tart for 20 minutes, until the edges of the puff pastry have turned golden brown.
Enjoy your cheese puff pastry warm. I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice, though it’s an optional addition.
Proper Storage & Reheating
I think this puff pastry cheese tart is best the day it’s made. However, you can store it for up to 4 days in the fridge. Just wrap it in plastic or foil and place it in an airtight container.
The best way to reheat your cheese tart is in the oven for 10 minutes or until heated through. The dry heat of the oven is the best method because it crisps the pastry up again so you get a flaky crunch with each bite.
If you try to reheat it in the microwave, it will become quite soggy.
More Easy Cheesy Appetizers:
- Italian Cream Cheese Pinwheels
- Crispy Cheddar Cheese Crisps
- Cheddar Cheese Rolls
- Smoky Vegan Chipotle Queso
Savory Asparagus Cheese Tart
- 1 brick frozen puff pastry (14 oz)
- 1 tbsp flour; for dusting
- 1 lb fresh asparagus; washed and trimmed
- ⅓ cup grainy Dijon mustard
- 8-10 oz brie; thinly sliced
- 1 tsp thyme; fresh of dried
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- ½ cup Grana Padano; finely grated
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp milk or water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ lemon squeezed
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.On a lightly floured surface roll our the thawed but chilled puff pastry to a 9" x 13" rectangle.
- Transfer the rolled puff pastry to a non-stick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can do this by rolling the rolled dough up carefully around the rolling pin then gently lifting it one end of the baking sheet and then rolling off the rolling pin.
- Use a fork to pierce the puff pastry so that it cooled more evenly and also remains flat to the baking sheet and not puffing up when baked.
- Spread the dijon mustard out evenly over the puff pastry leaving 1" around the edges.
- Roll the edges of the puff pastry inwards to create a raised edge. Add the sliced brie evenly over the top of the mustard. Top with the asparagus spears. The spears should be placed parallel to the short end of the pastry. Drizzle the olive oil evenly over top.
- Sprinkle the asparagus with the salt, thyme and lemon zest. Top evenly with the shredded Grana Padano.
- In a small bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Use a basting brush to base the edges of the puff pastry. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges of the puff pastry have turned golden brown. Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon juice.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.