When the local asparagus pops up from the ground, it should be required that everybody gets a piece of this Asparagus Tart. The snappingly fresh stalks of asparagus deserve a royal treatment, framed by golden pastry and resting on a bed of creamy, tangy cashew cream. I’ve made many versions of this over the years, with different crusts, different fillings, and different herbs and seasonings. but I really think this is one of the best.
Asparagus Tart Is a Classic
Every Spring, you’ll see asparagus tarts on magazine covers and in the food section of your paper. It’s a classic because asparagus is one of the first vegetables to harvest in the Spring, and because it looks so good in a photo. The curb appeal of a golden, crispy crust filled with gracefully tapering spears is truly off the hook. Most of those tarts will feature a hefty amount of dairy, whether in the form of cheese or creme fraiche. That’s why I wanted to make a purely plant-based asparagus tart for all of you.
Plant-Forward and Savory
Instead of cheese, we start with a simple puree of soaked raw cashews, and just enough water to make it creamy. A squeeze of lemon and some salt is all it takes to create a rich, creamy topping for the puff pastry. You can always get more complicated if you want to start adding garlic, nooch, miso, kimchi juice, or some other embellishments, but I wanted to keep it simple. The most common brand of puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm, is “accidentally vegan,” and doesn’t contain butter. I’m sure that has more to do with cost-cutting than any ideology, but it makes it a great convenient pastry base for plant-based cooks. We will brush the rim with a mix of agave and water to give it that golden brown look of an egg wash.
Roasted Asparagus and Carrots Are Sweet
The crust and the vegetables can go into the oven at the same time, and be assembled while still warm. That way you can nestle the tender vegetables into the creamy cashew puree and put it back in the oven to heat through. Don’t overbake the tart once the cashews are spread on top, or the puree can become rubbery.
And there you have it, a delicious Asparagus Tart, that everyone will love!
Asparagus Tart with Creamy Cashew
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt plus a pinch for the asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 2 large carrots
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and get a sheet pan with a rim for the vegetables.
- Drain and rinse the cashews. In a blender, place the lemon juice and water, then add the cashews. Blend, using the tamper, if you have one, until creamy. This will take some scraping down and repeating, but stick with it!Transfer the creamy cashews to a medium bowl and stir in the lemon zest and salt, reserve..
- Cut the asparagus into 3-inch pieces, discarding the tough bases. Place the pieces on the sheet pan with a rim.Slice the carrots into quarters lengthwise, then cut into 3-inch pieces. Place on the same pand and drizzle the vegetables with olive oil.Roast for 20 minutes, then let cool.
- Place the puff pastry on a floured counter and use a rolling pin to roll out to an even rectangle without seams. Place on the parchemnt-lined pan and use a paring knife to score the dough parallel to the edges to make a 3/4-inch rim.
- Stir the agave and water and brush the rim of the pastry.
- Bake for 20 minutes. When the pastry is baked, let cool slightly, then spread the cashew mixture inside the rim of pastry. Arrange the roasted vegetables on top, as shown.
- Return the pan to the oven for 10 minutes. Cut in 9 squares and serve warm. Keeps for 3 days, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.