9 April 2012

A bit of a failure of an Asparagus Tart - but then, Cheese straws!

Definitely not enough bacon or asparagus
As you probably know by now, I do like to both make and eat tarts.  Doesn't matter whether it's a puff pastry tart (as this was) or a quiche-type tart, I like them all.  I've done many variations over the years and they've all been brilliant.  (Well, apart from a Lentil tart which I made aeons ago and is probably best kept there).

I'd seen, in the back of a BBC Good Food magazine, a puff pastry tart made by laying asparagus spears across several other ingredients.  It resembled a louvre door and looked very interesting.

So I got to thinking about making a tart like that and pondered on what to use for the other ingredients.  Some sort of cream cheese is always a good base, as it doesn't go all wet and soggy in the baking and forms a good stage upon which the other ingredients can play.  I looked at Asda's online shopping website to see what sorts of cream cheese they were offering (as we were ordering online, that particular Tuesday) and spotted their Sundried Tomato & Basil Philadelphia.  Seemed like a good start - now I just needed something salty to balance the richness of the cream cheese and bring out the flavour of the asparagus.  Streaky bacon was the immediate answer to that question.

Busted! Yes, those are shop-bought salads. Oh, the shame!
When it came to the making of the tart, for some reason, I included some fresh tarragon on top of the cream cheese and before the bacon.  It didn't detract from the other flavours, it just sort of disappeared!  Either I didn't include enough, or it couldn't make itself heard above the sundried tomato and basil.

Don't get me wrong, the tart was nice in that the flavours were pleasant - but no more than that.  Also it was a little bit light in the foodstuffs bracket, i.e. you didn't really feel as though you'd had a main course, it was really more of a starter.

I think, to have made it into a much nicer proposition, I'd have used a lighter weight of cream cheese (Philadelphia is really quite a heavy cream cheese) without the additional flavours, used LOTS more streaky bacon and two bunches of asparagus - and crammed them in - instead of the one.

The asparagus was cooked through, but hubby wasn't impressed by how it went somewhat fibrous and stringy.  I drizzled it with extra virgin olive oil before baking and this helped, I think.  To be honest, I felt that the asparagus was the best part of the whole tart - so it just goes to show how different people's preferences can differ!

I wasn't at all happy with this one, so won't be passing on the recipe.

However, there was a bright spot on the horizon, in that with the offcuts of pastry I made some little cheese straws which were yummy to the max!

Cheese straws!  We are saved!

I just rolled the offcuts out very thinly, grated on some strong cheddar and added a few grinds of black pepper, then folded them over - side to side - and rolled them out thinly again.  I grated on some parmesan and pressed it into the top of the pastry, then cut out the straws and baked them at 180deg for around 25 minutes, or until they were golden and risen.

The straws made a lovely "naughty nibble" for persons passing through the kitchen for the next two days!



  1. It's a shame you didn't like your tart, the potential was there for sure! I made an asparagus tart ages ago so I'd best make one again. Excellent lack of wastage with the cheese straws!

    1. I completely agree in that the tart had potential. I am quite sure I, primarily, just got the percentages wrong with the quantity of ingredients. Still, the good thing with cooking is that there's always a next time. :)


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