Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Asparagus and Cream Cheese Pastry

Asparagus season!  Asparagus season!  Spring time in New England=new posts on How Does Your Garden Grow!

I've been avidly buying as much asparagus as my wallet can handle from Springdell Farm in Littleton.  Yum.  Wait, I need to say that again.  Yum!

I've been roasting it with Parmesan (from my days as a Patch food writer).  I've added it to grilled goat cheese and veggie pitas (from my sister-in-law's super fun Battle: Yum site).  I've made lemony quinoa and asparagus shrimp scampi (a favorite recipe I pulled out of the Boston Globe years ago and love to make every spring with fresh local asparagus).  Finally decided to go through my recipes and try something new.

What I ended up deciding to make was a contest winner from a Philadelphia cream cheese contest.  Can I be a little all-foodie-er-than-thou for a moment?  I kind of hate recipes that are "sponsored" by a specific brand.  I'm usually disappointed.  But this one:  it's asparagus and cream cheese on puff pastry.  Um, delish much?  Yes please!  And I just happened to have a single sheet of puff pastry hanging out in my freezer, just looking for a new recipe.  Cooking destiny!

I had pulled this recipe out of a Taste of Home magazine, but just found it on Allrecipes when I was looking for a link.  I made just a few changes, so feel free to go back to the award winning original if you'd like.  It truly is a spectacular recipe!


1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 bunch of asparagus (not too fat, not too skinny...you want them to cook at the same speed as your pastry!  I cherry picked stalks from two different bunches to try to get similar sized perfect stalks)
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened (I won't force a brand on you, though I must admit I did use Philadelphia!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used real grated, not that green can)
1 teaspoon dried basil (oh  my, the recipe calls for fresh, which sounds awesome to me, but it's still too cold out for basil plants so I only had dried.  Use fresh if you've got it--recipe calls for 5 leaves--I'd double that to 10!)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or knock yourself out and use fresh minced garlic--I didn't have any on hand)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Olive oil to drizzle
More Parmesan cheese for sprinkling


 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together softened cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, dried basil, garlic powder, and lemon juice.

Unfold the thawed pastry and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Cut into thirds along the "fold" lines, then cut each third in half to make rectangles.  Move the piece slightly away from one another.

Spread each pastry rectangle with the cream cheese mixture, leaving a little edge of pastry uncovered.

Trim asparagus to the length of your pastry rectangles.  Place a few asparagus spears on each pastry rectangle.  Original recipe called for 4 spears per rectangle, but I only used three and it was fine. (Note:  I saved the extra stem part that was too long and I had to cut off and used it in a batch of the lemony quinoa and asparagus recipe I linked above.  Don't waste that asparagus!)

Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake for 20 or so minutes, until pastry is golden brown and puffed.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle a little extra Parmesan on top. 

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