Baking Tarts for Dummies

“Baking Tarts for Dummies” could easily be a sequel to all the books with similar titles that are already on the shelves. I sometimes wonder where all these titles are coming from?  “Chewing food for Dummies”, “Parenting for dummies”, “Photoshop for dummies” and heaven forbid “Pimpin for Dummies”.
By choosing this title I am in no way referring to my loyal visitors as dummies, but I just want to show you how incredibly easy it is to bake a tart.
Sweet or savory, tarts always wow your guests. It says “I cared enough about you to bake  something really delicious!” At the same time, I find people to be intimidated by baking tarts. I always hear: “but you are good at baking and that’s why your tarts always taste so good!” Let me tell you, I WANT you to make a delicious tart too. I WANT you to experience the oohs and aaahs from your guests. I have made so many delicious tarts over the years by just following the same basic principals…….the best pastry ( yes, you can buy it) and good quality ingredients as toppings.  The following tarts are all easy do-able tarts, I invite you to have a look and try some today! You will never again be intimidated by the idea of baking your own tarts and you will no longer feel like a total dummy!!

On the Sweet side

I think today’s tart is easier than any of the above and whether you live in the Northern part of the world and have it with a hearty soup or here in the southern part of the world as part of an Al Fresco lunch, it will be a winner I can assure you!
When making tarts, I think the part of the recipe that people are most intimidated by, is the pastry element. Let me tell you, I seldom venture into the art of pastry making, I make sure that I buy a very good quality puff pastry and when I do find it, I buy a few rolls and keep it in the freezer for emergencies. Shortcrust pastries I will make any day! So let’s get down to today’s tart.
Asparagus and Truffle Tart
Ingredients
1 roll good quality puff pastry
1 bunch of fresh asparagus – woody bottom ends cut off
2 large onions – finely chopped
olive oil
salt/ pepper
egg wash
fresh truffle
125gr bacon bits – optional ( fried until very crispy)
Parmesan shavings
Preheat oven to 200 C. On a floured surface,  roll the puff pastry out into one big rectangle or make 4 individual tarts. Crimp the pastry between your thumb and index finger all along the sides to make a nice pattern. Place pastry on a baking sheet.  In a frying pan, heat some olive oil and saute the finely chopped onion until it is translucent but not brown.Season and cool the onion. Steam your asparagus in a steamer or blanche for one minute in boiling water. Remove from the water and cool. Spread the onion onto the puff pastry. Now lay the asparagus ontop of the onions. Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil to prevent them from drying out. Brush the pastry around the edges with egg wash and bake in a hot oven for 15-20  minutes.

When the tart comes out of the oven, sprinkle with some the bacon bits(if used), some fresh truffle and  Parmesan shavings.   Serve this simple yet extravagant tart with a simple green salad.

Cook’s note: Truffles are hard to come by and a bit on th eprice side. It can however easily be replaced with a boiled egg, blue cheese f just the bacon bits. Enjoy!

As you all know by now, I am forever involved in some kind of charity work. Every now and then there are some big fundraisers for worthy causes such as the Haiti Fund or The Blogger Aid fund doing the rounds here on the blogs. I am always amazed at the effort  that bloggers put into making these fundraisers successful. I like to be hands on and I suppose God answered my prayers by opening my eyes to the needs around me. I see children dropping out of school because they do not have the right books, stationary or clothing. I see children as young as 8-9 years using alcohol or other substances just to make their daily existence more bearable. These are the kids I want to help and mentioned this on my other blog a while back. A fellow blogger friend of mine Tandy came on board and decided to donate a percentage of each on of her cookbooks sold to my “nameless” charity drive. I was so overwhelmed and I am extremely grateful for this act of  kindness. Thank you Tandy. The book is called Lavender & Lime and consists of 80 of her favorite recipes. I had a sneak preview of this book and will most definitely try a few of her tasty recipes. You can visit Tandy here and order the books from her site or just click on the logo below. Thank You again Tandy!!