Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart

Pies, Tarts, and Crostatas – usually, when I think of pies and tarts they’re filled with something sweet and fruity, chocolate, or other lusciously sweet concoction. That’s part of why I was so excited to be a judge at the American Pie Council National Championships this year. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sit and eat pie for two days? I learned very quickly that you should NOT pick your favorite kind of pie to judge. Why? Because after more than 30 cherry pies (including gluten-free and no sugar added) I think it’s going to be a very long time before I’ll want another cherry pie again. It was really inspirational to see all of those beautiful pies – some were works of art. I don’t usually make pies so I was searching pies and tarts when I came across this pin for Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart by Michelle of The Brooklyn Cook. Ooh, a SAVORY option!

Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart

I hadn’t really thought of savory for pies except for pot pies. There was something very fresh and light looking about this one so I knew I wanted to try it.

The Pintesting:

The ingredients were pretty simple and using puff pastry made the crust a breeze. The only down side is that I couldn’t find fresh for all of the herbs so I decided to use the 1:3 ration and substitute dried herbs. More about that later.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
First, mix the ricotta mixture.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
 Then score the puff pastry around all of the sides. This will help give the crust its edges when it bakes.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
 Spread the ricotta mixture inside the scored part of the crust.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
 Lay the asparagus on top of the ricotta. The recipe called for 1/2 pound of asparagus, trimmed, which is what I used. I suggest using thinner asparagus and perhaps a bit more.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
 Brush the edges with an egg wash.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
Bake it until the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the ricotta mixture is cooked through.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry TartThis is listed as an appetizer, but it would also make a nice vegetarian lunch or dinner dish with a salad.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
 The HH and I both thought it was a bit too herby for our taste. This could be because I used dry herbs rather than fresh, so the next time I’ll definitely use fresh and maybe add just a touch of lemon juice or zest into the ricotta mixture. Lemon and asparagus play so nicely together. I will also use more asparagus and alternate every other one so that there will be tips on both sides, and I’ll also try to measure the cut by the width of the pastry if possible.
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
Pintesting Creamy Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
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After you’ve had your appetizer or dinner, go ahead and have some pie for dessert! Here are a few pie pictures from the competition. If you’re not up for entering a pie, the American Pie Council is always looking for judges. Like I said, it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.
2017 Pro Cream Pie Category Pies

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.3 Pins
Pintesting Seal 4 Pins
Accuracy: The recipe looked just like the original post. Usually you can use the 3 (fresh) to 1 (dried) ratio for herbs, but in this case the “herbiness” was overwhelming when using dried. I wasn’t able to get the fresh herbs but looking at the quantity of fresh herbs in the photos of the original post leaves me to believe that fresh would still be very herby. 4 Pins
 Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins
Difficulty: This doesn’t take a lot of cullinary skill. You do have to trim the ends of the asparagus so there is a bit of knife work. However, it’s rather minimal so I’m giving this 4 Pins.
 Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins
Time:  Start to finish this took just under half an hour and is a great weeknight meal or a quick appetizer. 5 Pins
 Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins
Cost:  Puff pastry and asparagus are the two most expensive ingredients in this recipe. Even so, the total cost was roughly $16. There were 4 entrée-sized portions or $4/serving. You can cut that in half for 8 appetizers. This cost could be higher if you bought fresh herbs at the grocery store (or free if you have an herb garden). 4 Pins
 Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins
Practicality:  This is a lovely idea for an appetizer, side dish, or even as a vegetarian entrée. You can adjust the amount and kinds of herbs used to suit your taste. (I’m definitly going to try some lemon, too) You can even switch up the veggies used if you don’t care for asparagus. The options are pretty open on this one so I’m giving this 5 Pins.
 Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Baked Ratatouille

I have a confession to make – I love Disney movies. I remember going to the Disney summer film festivals each summer as a child. Every week there was a couple of shorts and then a feature-length movie. It was one of my favorite summer memories.My kids loved Disney when they were old enough to watch their first movie, Beauty and the Beast. It’s our all-time favorite, but there have been others that are near the top of the list; like Ratatouille. I think I fell in love with this one because of my love of cooking and my dream to visit France. So when I saw this pin for the BuzzFeed Goodful recipe of Baked Ratatouille, inspired by Marie at Feeling Foodish, it made me think of the way that the rat-chef, Remy, took the traditional vegetable stew and transformed it into haute cuisine.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but this little clip will let you see the dish that I’m referring to – and go watch the movie!

So in an attempt to recreate the dish that piqued my curiosity since it became a movie icon, here is the Pintesting of Baked Ratatouille.

The Pintesting:

There are three main steps to making this dish; the sauce, the veggies, and the herb seasoning.

1. The Sauce:

The sauce starts with fresh aromatics. I found it cheaper to get a potted basil plant at the grocery store than to buy a small packet of basil leaves in the herb section. Not only does the basil stay fresh longer, but it lasts longer and looks so pretty on my kitchen counter.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Sautee the onions and peppers in extra virgin olive oil.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

When they start to soften add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Minced garlic burns rather quickly, so I wait a bit before adding it.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Add the crushed tomatoes. By the way, this would be great over pasta.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Add the basil and take it off the heat.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

2. The Vegetables:

Now for the veggies. Try to find similarly sized vegetables. This is one of the first times I’ve ever cooked eggplant, and I should have chosen more wisely. You’ll find out why in a moment.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Slice the vegetables thinly. I used a mandoline (seen above) for the yellow squash and zucchini, but the eggplant was too wide and the tomatoes didn’t slice well so I used a knife on them.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille - Veggies

As you can see, the eggplant was MUCH larger than the rest of the veggies. Not one to give up, I knew there had to be a way to make this work.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

I used double everything other than the eggplant, and it seemed to fit well. Voilà!

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Layer the veggies in a pattern.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Continue this all the way around the pan making concentric rings. I ended up cutting the eggplant in order to make it fit in the center ring.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

3. The Herb Seasoning:

This calls for fresh herbs; thyme, basil, and parsley. The store didn’t have fresh parsley so I used dried.

NOTE:  When substituting dried herbs for fresh, remember that they are more potent when they’re dried. You usually need about 3 times the amount of fresh herbs as you would dried herbs. In this case, 2 Tablespoons of fresh parsley would be about 2 teaspoons of dried parsley.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Mix the herb seasoning. It smells incredible!

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Brush it on the arranged vegetables.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

See how pretty that looks!

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Bake it covered for 40 minutes in a 375-degree pre-heated oven. Remove the cover and bake another 20 minutes.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Give it just a minute to cool and then dig in. We had eaten lunch not too long beforehand, so this was a separate vegetable course. It smelled and tasted so good that I had two small “just-to-taste” servings while my HH had three.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

We ate the leftovers the next day with some oven-baked fish – so delicious! The flavors have longer to get to know each other and play more nicely together; similarly to how lasagna or chili tastes better the next day.

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

Fin (The End):

The number of vegetables called for in the recipe was nearly double of what would fit into the pan. We didn’t complain since most of the prep work was done and I just made another batch. If eating veggies the same way too many days in a row sounds boring, I found some ways to do a ratatouille makeover. Check here and here for inspiration.

A French foodie friend told me that the ratatouille on the movie is not really ratatouille, which is a simple vegetable stew. So I searched for the Ratatouille version of ratatouille and found that it’s actually called Confit Byaldi. In the image below, the Disney Pixar version of the dish is shown at the top with a real version shown beneath (one being mine).

Pintesting Baked Ratatouille

I want to leave you with some inspiration; a quote from the illustrious Chef Gusteau, “Anyone can cook but only the fearless can be great.” Be fearless. Be Great. Try this recipe.

Anyone Can Cook

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.0 Pins

Pintesting Seal 4 Pins

Accuracy:  The dish turned out looking like the recipe picture and tasted delicious, but the number of vegetables was nearly double of what the pan could hold and that’s a lot of extra veggies. Also, the recipe didn’t specify the kind of eggplant to use in order to get similar-sized slices for uniformity. For these reasons, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Difficulty:  This recipe requires a lot of prep work for all three parts. If you don’t have a mandoline and need to slice all of the vegetables with a knife, it will take a bit of time, too. You will use the chop, slice, and chiffonade knife techniques; not hard, but not easy enough for kids. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  There are about 15 minutes of prep work to get all the veggies done, plus about 15 minutes to cook the sauce and an hour of baking time. That’s an hour and a half. Don’t get me wrong – it’s absolutely worth the time and you can make extra to freeze or you can get it layered early in the day and cook it for supper, but it’s not going to be a 30-minute meal.  3 Pins

Rated 3 Pins

Cost:  If you have a garden and need to use up a bumper crop of vegetables, then this is a cheap dish to make. However, if you need to hit the grocery store for everything it could get costly depending on what’s in season and on sale. Since produce prices fluctuate substantially by regions and seasons, I’m not going to give a specific price, but I will give this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  If you have or know kids (little or big ones) who don’t care for vegetables, this might be one way to get them to eat them. First, it’s delicious. Second, it’s from a movie. Let the Disney magic work in your favor here. That the flavor is even better if you have leftovers is a big plus. I also love that leftovers can be transformed into everything from quiche, omelets, sauces, quesadillas, soups, and so much more. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins