Asparagus Custard Tart

An asparagus tart that's simple to make but impressive in appearance. Perfect for spring brunches and light suppers.

Asparagus Custard Tart, light and lovely

A great horned owl has taken up a perch on the next block.

He’s big: two feet tall and wings aspan, four feet wide. And loud: since the mating season commenced in February, neighbors have asked, Did you hear The Owl last night? He woke me out of a dead sleep!

Two years ago, a pair of owls took up nest in a tree hollow a block the other direction. Soon there were little owls, owlets they’re called, all fluff and famish. Good neighbors, these owls, if a tad noisy. Family folk too, it’s nice to have little ones around. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Somehow this tart is light and rich at the same time. Still, it’s not hearty like a thick and eggy quiche so serve it with fruit salad or greens dressed with a year-round favorite, Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette.

ORANGE & CUMIN VINAIGRETTE is a simple, bright dressing that pairs beautifully with the creamy, woodsy custard tart. Just whisk the juices of an orange and a lemon with 2 teaspoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and a tablespoon of good olive oil. Stir in a clove of minced garlic and some chopped green onion. Just delicious!

ALANNA's TIPS If you’re born to pastry skills, do make your own crust. (See my recipe for Flaky Tender Pie Crust, including Pie Crust Tips and photo instructions.) Fresh tarragon is a lovely complement to both the asparagus and custard, try not to skip it. When arranging the cooked asparagus, alternate slightly longer spears with slightly shorter ones. This tart makes ahead and travels beautifully.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite use for spring asparagus to e-mail.

ASPARAGUS CUSTARD TART

Visually impressive but oh-so-easy
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 8
  • 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • Flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed
    CUSTARD
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup good cheese, grated (something flavorful such as Gruyère or Parmesan)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450F. Bring crust to room temperature. Open onto a floured work surface, turn to lightly coat with flour, then turn again. With a rolling pin, working from the center out, gently and evenly thin the crust. Transfer to a lightly greased quiche pan. Double over the edge to form the sides, then pinch the top edge to form an attractive crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool.

Reduce oven to 350F.

Steam asparagus til cooked. Drain on paper towels to absorb moisture. Trim the spears to fit (see TIPS), spoke fashion with tips pointing out, atop the pastry.

Whisk custard ingredients and gently pour over asparagus. Bake for 20 minutes or until center jiggles slightly but is fully cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature. Also good cold!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice: 214 Calories; 14g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 16g Carb; 1g Fiber; 315mg Sodium; 83mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers Old Points 5, PointsPlus 5

More Recipe Ideas for Asparagus

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy-to-Elegant Asparagus Soup Roasted Salmon & Asparagus Lemon Asparagus Pasta

More Brunch Recipes

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Tomato Basil Quiche Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake Mom's Blueberry Coffeecake

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~ Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette ~





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Hi Alanna -- This looks good but 1/8 of the pie has over 4 WW points and I'm sure gonna want a bigger piece than that! What do you think about subbing fat-free half and half?

5/05/2006
 
Oops - I see it has 5 WW points. Does anyone make a pre-made low-fat crust? How many points would that, and fat-free half and half save, or do I just need to eat a bigger salad with it ;-)

5/05/2006
 
Hi Heidi -

I've only experimented with fat-free half n half (which I love) once and it was such a disaster (see Survivor Soup) that I can't recommend it. But that said, I would try it, though not with perfect asparagus or company coming for brunch!

re: 1/8 a pie, trust me, the tart's good enough you might want to eat the whole thing! But with a salad, 1/8 a piece is very satisfying, creamy and warm and flavorful. I started WW almost four years ago and learned, no matter what, that portion size truly matters.

Good luck! If you try the fat-free version, report back on how it works out for you!

5/06/2006
 
That looks beautiful, Alanna.

5/07/2006
 
OOH that looks so good! and so pretty...this one I have to try.

5/07/2006
 
Beautiful, Alanna. In reference to your earlier comment about the fat free half and half, I have used it before with good results. I haven't done a baked potato type dish, as you referenced, but in place of a bit of cream in soups and in baking (muffins and such), it's always worked out well for me. I agree with you that it's worth a try!

5/10/2006
 
ooh that looks so pretty. I love that you used pilsbury crust. I am terrible at making crust and have used that many times!

5/11/2006
 
I just cooked asparagus for the first time and I love it! This sounds and looks simply wonderful! Perfect for spring!

4/26/2007
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna