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

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pintesting Pecan Pie MuffinsThe American Pie Council National Championships are about a month away and this year I get to be a judge! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this honor. So I’m going to be doing some pie-related Pintestings this month leading up to the big event. My Pinterest page, Desserts – Pies/Tarts/Crostatas are all about pie related recipes. Go check it out for some inspiration. The first recipe I’m doing is this pin for Pecan Pie Muffins by Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Even though the recipe has the word muffin, don’t be fooled. These are just like little pecan pies but a whole lot easier. Personally, I like that they don’t have the corn syrup that pecan pies traditionally have. And instead of thinking of them as muffins, you can think of them as self-crusting. Let’s get baking.

The Pintesting:

There are just 5 ingredients and most of them are kitchen staples.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

First mix the dry ingredients.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Toss them together until they’re evenly coated.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Next, mix the softened butter and the eggs.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

It won’t look pretty – mine looked kind of like curdled milk. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to look this way and will smooth out once everything is mixed together.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Now stir in the dry ingredients JUST until mixed. See the bits of butter in the mixture? It’s okay to leave it like that.

NOTE: For the most part, muffins turn out best when they’re not over mixed. It’s better to leave a few lumps in the batter and have a tender crumb than to over mix the batter and have your muffins turn out like bricks.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

According to Christy, you want to grease your muffin pan really well or your muffins will stick. I love to use the “Best Ever Pan Release” recipe by I Am Baker (you’ll find the recipe at the end of the recipe in the Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake post found here).

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Fill the cups 2/3 full. The mixture made more than the mini muffin tin could hold so I made 6 regular-sized muffins, too.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

Bake at 350 degrees until done; see the recipe for baking times.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

The muffins easily pop out of the pan and into my mouth.

Pintesting Pecan Pie Muffins

WARNING! These are incredibly addictive. If you’re not careful it’s easy to pop 4 or 6 of the mini bite-sized pecan pie muffins in your mouth before you realize it. (I have no idea if or how that happened.)

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.7 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy:  These muffins have the taste and texture of pecan pie. In fact, the next time I have the urge to make a pecan pie I’m going to make these instead.They turned out just like Christy said they would. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  These are very easy to make. Just five ingredients and, if you buy the pecans already chopped, the only prep work is to make sure your butter is softened.  You don’t even need to use a mixer. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  According to the recipe, this should make 8 large or 16 mini muffins. When filling my muffin cups 2/3 full, I ended up with 24 mini muffins and 6 regular muffins. Since there were different baking times, I baked the different sized pans one after the other; 12 minutes for the minis and 14 minutes for the regulars. I also let the regular sized muffins rest in the pan for an extra 5 minutes to set after running a knife around the edge; they seemed just a bit soft. Total time was just over half an hour so I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples – all but the pecans. I don’t know if they’re not in season, but they seemed a bit pricey at more than $10.00. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  Not only are these an easier substitute for home-made pecan pie, but they’re quicker to make, too. They make a lot of the mini muffins, and the bite-sized treats are perfect for lunches or, don’t judge, dessert portion control. I’m guessing that they’ll freeze well, too (although I’ll have to confirm and let you know). 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins