Asparagus, Mushroom and Cranberry Cheese Tart

Sorry for the title, I know it’s a mouthful. But you need to appreciate just how much is in this beautiful puff pastry tart.When I make things with pastry, I tend to place any unused pastry in the freezer, to use at a later date. I don’t want to throw away bits of pastry if there is enough to make at least one tart or galette with it.

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Because of this, I had some puff pastry (I thought it was just plain dough for galettes until it came out of the oven, woops). I also had some mature cheddar with cranberries in the fridge, that I’ve had since Christmas. Don’t worry, it’s been sealed in wax and unopened. But, I know how good strong cheeses go with tarts, so decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to open it up and crumble over the top. I cannot describe to you how amazing this tart was when I took the first bite.

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I can’t help but explain that a smile spread across my face and I proceeded to shovel the rest of the tart into my mouth. It was freaking delicious. Ah man, please…. make this tart so that you can enjoy it too.

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The good thing is that with this tart, I was able to buy a few vegetables (asparagus and mushrooms), but I used them all up with this tart, so there aren’t any leftovers. And all the onion, asparagus and garlic scraps are in the freezer with the rest of my veggie scraps. They’ll become a veggie stock after summer, I think. I don’t believe I’ll make stock before I go away, as it’ll just be sitting in the freezer not being used.

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Now, promise me, when you make this you will use butter when you cook down the onions and mushrooms. Not olive oil. Not coconut oil. Not cooking spray. Butter. It needs to be butter to get the onions beautifully caramelised and brown. There’s just something about butter that makes sauteed veggies just pop. Say it with me. Butter. Butter. Butter. A little butter never hurt anyone, it’s not like you’re drowning the vegetables in it. You’re just using it to enhance the flavours. Trust me.

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Okay, now that we’ve established the importance of butter. Let’s get on with it shall we?

Ingredients

100 grams puff pastry
1/2 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
150 grams mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
150 grams asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
50 grams cheddar cheese with cranberries (or cranberry Wensleydale)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large pan, over medium high heat, add the butter, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook them down, stirring occasionally, for about 10 – 15 minutes; until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the onions have browned and softened.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to form a large circle. Place it on a lined baking tray.
  4. Add the onion and mushroom mixture, leaving 1/2 an inch around the edge. Place the asparagus on top, and crumble the cheese over the whole thing.
  5. Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl, and brush over the exposed dough.
  6. Place the tart into the oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
  7. In the meantime, over a low heat, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer gently until the liquid has halved, and thickened.
  8. When the tart is cooked, take it out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  9. Place the tart on a plate, and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top.
  10. Dig in.

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