By Issy Macdonald
This is a true lock-down recipe, grown from the need of finding another way to cook asparagus. We’ve had it with and without smoked salmon – both equally satisfying.
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
2 bunches of asparagus (with thin stalks if possible)
1 small pack of smoked salmon (optional)
1 egg, beaten in a medium sized bowl
2/3 of a regular tub of cream cheese
Zest of one lemon – you could add the juice if you want it more lemony
Salt and pepper
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry owl
Heat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
Roll out the sheet of pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife etch a border of 1.5cm all the way around the pastry. Glaze this border with beaten egg.
Trim the woody ends off the asparagus. Cut 1 bunch into 1cm chunks, keep the remaining best looking stalks for the top of the tart. Blanch both sizes of asparagus separately, and cool under running water.
If using salmon, cut into small pieces.
Add the cream cheese into the remaining egg, along with the lemon zest, salt and pepper, the cooled pieces of asparagus and smoked salmon. Mix everything together.
Spread the contents of the bowl onto the pastry, keeping within the border. Top with the good looking stalks of asparagus like a line of soldiers.
Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the border is golden and crisp, and the filling just set.
Read all about how cooking recipes like this with her Mum helped Issy adapt to living at home during the lockdown here.
Discover another delicious recipe from Issy's kitchen: Crab Linguine