Fresh asparagus, marscarpone, Jarlsberg, and Parmesan cheeses shine in this rustic homemade tart. Asparagus galette is the fusion of a pizza and a savory pie, perfect for Meatless Mondays or vegetarian families. However, if you just can’t do without, feel free to add cooked sausage, ham, or pepperoni to beef it up.
Jarlsberg cheese is a Swiss-style cheese that is widely available in most markets. Gruyere or Swiss cheese may be substituted, if need be. The flaky cream cheese crust is virtually fool-proof and quickly made in the food processor. It’s a great go-to pie crust for all uses, so worth saving.
If you are in a hurry, you may substitute puff pastry for the homemade pie crust. But do try the homemade crust when you are less pressed for time. It really doesn’t take that long in the food processor and may be made in advance.
The instructions for asparagus galette may seem long and daunting, but they are mostly for clarification. You can pretty much figure out how this goes by the picture. If you’ve ever made pizza at home, it’s a cinch!
The Author Says: ” “I like the idea of changing the way you look at a particular vegetable to make it seem new. Take asparagus, for example. I’ve eaten it steamed, grilled, baked, broiled, wrapped in prosciutto, and puréed in soups. I’ve eaten it so many times that it’s easy to take for granted. Shaving it into ribbons makes for a striking presentation and a surprisingly delicious and unexpected filling.
I promise you there’s no great secret to making good pastry dough. Once you’ve done it a few times you’ll recognize the right balance of wet to dry and the elasticity that makes dough easy to work without being too dense. But no matter how many times I make that promise, I still see fear in the eyes of the novice baker. I usually try to talk them down from the pie precipice with this recipe, because it’s so forgiving. It’s easy as pie! (I couldn’t write this whole book and let that lowball pass by.) “ –Greg Henry
Asparagus Galette with Mascarpone and Jarlsberg Recipe
1 recipe of cream cheese crust (Recipe below)
Flour for rolling
1 pound thick or medium asparagus
6 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more as needed
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 ounces Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated
1 Tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
Prepare the crust dough and shape it into 2 discs about 3/4 inch thick, one about 4 inches in diameter and the other about 6 inches. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze for up to 1 month.
On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the larger dough disc to about a 12 to 13-inch circle, a generous 1/8 inch thick. Transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Save the other disc for another use.
Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the asparagus tips off in 1-1/2-inch-long pieces; set aside. Working with the stalks, lay 1 at a time on a cutting board aligned with the edge of the countertop. Let the tough end hang over so you can grasp it with your fingertips, leaving the stalk flat on the board. Use a Y-shaped peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons, turning the spear as you work; it’s fine if the pieces vary in size. Set the shaved ribbons aside in a medium bowl and discard the tough ends.
In another medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to beat the mascarpone, egg, minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and cayenne, if using, into a smooth and spreadable paste. Scrape the sides often as you work. Spread the mixture evenly over the center of the dough circle, leaving about a 3-inch border all around. Top with grated Jarlsberg, then shaved asparagus, keeping the border intact. Top the asparagus galette with the reserved asparagus tips, spreading them around in an attractive manner. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Fold the dough edge over the filling, pleating as needed to form a neatly rounded package. Don’t worry too much about the shape—galettes are freeform pies. Also, don’t try to make the dough meet in the middle; you want to leave the filling exposed. Brush the pastry with some egg wash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Bake until the crust is golden and the exposed asparagus tips are beginning to brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Transfer the asparagus galette to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 6 first course or 4 main course servings
Cream Cheese Crust Recipe
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 2 Tablespoons European-style (high-fat) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons heavy cream, or more as needed
2-3/4 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place the cream cheese, butter, and cream in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined and fluffy, about 20 seconds. Add the 2-3/4 cups flour and the salt; pulse 5 or 6 times. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and process another 15 to 20 seconds, until the dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides in jagged clumps. If this doesn’t happen, add another few teaspoons of cream, as needed.
Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead 2 or 3 times. If it seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle on another few teaspoons flour and give it a couple more quick, gentle kneads. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 discs about 5 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick, or as indicated in the individual recipe. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze for up to 1 month.
Note: High-fat, European-style butter is essential for a perfect pie crust. Along with the chilling, it’s what makes the dough flaky and minimizes shrinking. Many people swear that adding 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice guarantees a flaky crust. I’m on the fence, but you can add these if you want, adjusting the water accordingly.
Yield: Two 8 to 10-inch pie crusts or one 8 to 10-inch double-crust shell
Recipe Source: “”Savory Pies: Delicious Recipes for Seasoned Meats, Vegetables and Cheeses Baked in Perfectly Flaky Pie Crusts” by Greg Henry (Ulysses Press)
Reprinted with express permission.
Asparagus Galette Recipe Photo © 2012 Greg Henry/Ulysses Press, licensed to Peg’s Home Cooking