Sheet Pan Asparagus Tart
This is a favourite Test Kitchen throw-together spring tart after shopping at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. The filling features chopped and whole asparagus spears enriched with eggs, cream, goat cheese and Parmesan, all baked in a quarter sheet pan. It makes a perfect centrepiece for brunch or lunch, paired with a tossed green salad. Keep in mind that the color of the filling will vary, depending on the brightness of your egg yolks. We love using eggs from chickens that were fed marigold petals, which lend a lovely orange hue. You can make your own tart dough with the recipe below or purchase ready-to-use pie dough.
For the tart dough:
- 3 cups (12 3/4 oz./400 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 20 Tbs. (2 1/2 sticks) (10 oz./315 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) ice water
For the filling:
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) milk
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) crumbled goat cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbs. packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and chives (optional), plus more for garnish
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Small pinch of ground nutmeg or a few gratings of whole nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) chopped asparagus (1/4-inch/6-mm pieces) (optional), plus 8 to 10 whole asparagus spears, ends trimmed
To make the tart dough, in a large bowl, using a fork, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter and, using your hands, toss the butter with the flour, just to coat the pieces. Gather the flour mixture in your hands and rub it between your fingers and thumb, letting the pieces drop back into the bowl. Repeat this quickly until the mixture resembles coarse meal; some larger butter chunks are okay.
Add the ice water, 1 Tbs. at a time, and using your hands, toss to distribute the water until there are no longer dry spots. Add more water until the dough becomes tacky and you can gently press it into a small ball in your hand, a total of about 4 Tbs. water, but you may need more depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Using floured hands, fold the dough once onto itself, then form into a ball and flatten into a disk about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. The dough should come together easily and not feel overly sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place on a floured work surface and sprinkle both sides lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin and starting from the center of the disk, gently roll out the dough to the edges, applying gentle, even pressure and turning the dough a quarter turn after every few rolls, until you have a 16-by-12-inch (40-by-30-cm) rectangle about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Sprinkle the dough with more flour if it begins to feel sticky.
Carefully transfer the dough to a quarter sheet pan. Using your fingertips, gently push the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, making sure it is smooth. Using scissors, trim off any overhang that is longer than 1/2 inch (12 mm). Fold under the excess dough to form a double crust and crimp the edges as desired. Using a fork, gently poke holes all around the bottom crust. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).
Line the tart crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans; make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pan. Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to turn light golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the crust is starting to brown, 15 to 18 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the crust cool while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (165°C).
To make the filling, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and milk. Gently whisk in the goat cheese, Parmesan, herbs, lemon zest, nutmeg, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and a few generous grindings of pepper. Stir in the chopped asparagus.
Transfer the filling to the tart crust and top with the whole asparagus spears. Bake until the crust is light golden brown and the edges of the filling have just lightly set, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with herbs and cut into slices. The tart can be baked up to 3 days in advance; let cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. To reheat, bake in a preheated 300°F (150°C) oven until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 4.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen