Appetizers and Snacks, Breakfast and Brunch, Eggs

Egg Asparagus Tart (Crostata agli Asparagi)

Nicoletta March 24, 2017

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Egg Asparagus Tart:  one of my family’s most favorite Easter delights, it combines a crumbly, light, shortbread crust, a creamy, flavorful egg salad filling, and beautifully steamed, tender but still crunchy, asparagus. Artistically put together, appealing to the eye, and pleasing to the palate.

Egg Asparagus Tart

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own.]

In Italy, Easter Monday (Pasquetta) is almost as important as Easter day. While the Easter lunch is spent with family around a table sharing incredible food one course after another, Easter Monday is dedicated to friends and outdoor picnics. After all, the mild spring Italian weather makes that possible.

 

 

Many were the picnics I took with my friends in the Italian countryside. River banks, meadows in the mountains, under a huge tree in a wide valley, we tried them all during the years. I have beautiful pictures that are a testimony of the fun we had playing soccer or paddleball (racchettoni), singing and playing guitar, sunbathing on the blankets, and most of all, eating together.

The big feast of the day before, Easter lunch, did not stop us from thinking of what great food to bring to the Easter Monday picnic. Sometimes it worked as some kind of a potluck, where we each brought something; other times, when we knew there was a bbq we could use, it was a mix of something we brought from home and meat (mostly sausages) and vegetables we cooked on the barbecue. Plus, lots of homemade sweets, the colomba (dove shaped Italian traditional Easter cake), the chocolate eggs, wine, and a flood of coffee in the thermos.

If we brought something from home, savory tarts or cakes were a perfect choice. You can eat them cold, you don’t need a plate or cutlery as you can easily eat a slice with your hands, and they are colorful, flavorful and so delightful.

Egg Asparagus Tart is one of the most favorite Easter delights.

During Easter, it is all about boiled eggs (for Easter breakfast, for example, all decorated), and the asparagus are just starting to make their appearance in the markets as a Spring vegetable.

This Egg Asparagus Tart combines a crumbly, light, shortbread crust, a creamy, flavorful, egg salad filling, and beautifully steamed tender, but still crunchy, asparagus. Artistically put together, appealing to the eye, and pleasing to the palate.

Egg Asparagus TartEgg Asparagus Tart

My mother has been making this tart since forever, and it is adapted from a little, old “ricettario“, recipe book, that she tenderly keeps in the kitchen pantry drawer. It is from Bertolini, the maker of the famous Italian baking powder, either for sweets (lievito vanigliato) or savory cakes. We made so many recipes from there, it is now stained and wrinkled, after all, it is from the late ’70s.

When thinking of an Easter recipe to share for the Italian Centre Shop blog, my mother reminded me about this wonderful Egg Asparagus Tart we used to enjoy during Easter time. She was ready to ask my brother to scan the page and email it to me, when, out of curiosity I searched online and I found the pdf of the exact same little book we have. What a surprise!

The recipe is pretty easy and straightforward to make, and a trip to the ICS provided us with all the necessary ingredients, which are not many, by the way.

Egg Asparagus Tart

I made the dough in the stand mixer and it took me a few minutes and a few pulsing, then on a wood board to work it just until it comes together and I formed it into a ball. I refrigerated it for about 15 minutes, then spread it with a rolling pin on the wood board, but it’s very delicate, so I finished spreading it with my hands (thus, the rustic look) in the tart pan with a removable bottom. Before the oven, never forget to prick the base of the dough with a fork, for whatever pastry dough you’re baking without a filling. It cooked in 30 minutes, then it needed to cool down, and in the meantime, I started boiling the eggs and steaming the asparagus. As for the asparagus, after chopping the ends that are usually hard, you will need to cut another chunk so the asparagus can fit in the tart pan in a round design. With the leftover middle parts, we made a risotto, which was delicious I must say. So don’t throw them away, please!

Egg Asparagus Tart

The filling is easy and it consists of blending a European mayonnaise, double cream, and parsley with the boiled egg finely chopped. This goes into that nice crust we made. Half of a boiled egg gets placed in the center of the tart, and the asparagus are placed emanating from the center egg diagonally to the edges of the tart. When it is finished, you have this beautiful tart with vibrant colors and an eagerness to taste this wonderful creation for Easter. This tart is eaten at room temperature and can be eaten in slices with your hand, or if you prefer in a plate with a fork, but it’s a crumbly affair, whichever works for you.

egg asparagus tart

The texture and poise of the crust holds as you bite into it. The crumbliness is evident as some of those morsels fall from your lips, and the buttery flavor just melts in your mouth flowing nicely with the egg mixture, which is smooth and silky with the familiar richness of egg/mayo, lingering on your tongue. The freshness from the parsley adds a nice touch both visually and in flavor, giving us that bit of pepper that works so well with the egg. This tart is well balanced in flavors and is perfect for Easter, or that Easter Monday picnic if mother nature is willing to participate in this neck of the woods if not, a wonderful brunch at home.

Song of the day: It Might as Well Be Spring – Frank Sinatra.

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Egg Asparagus Tart

Egg Asparagus Tart (Crostata agli Asparagi)

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  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 tart

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 300 g flour 00 (or all-purpose)
  • 100 g salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 medium organic egg
  • 15 g baking powder
  • water as needed when kneading (about 4-5 Tbsp)

For the filling:

  • 15 asparagus (about 200 g)
  • 110 g mayonnaise
  • 60 g panna (or double cream)
  • 4 medium organic eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 15 g parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

Dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, the egg and mix roughly on low speed.
  2. Add the cooled melted butter and mix on low, then add the baking powder. The dough will have a pebble-like consistency. Add the water 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough comes together.
  3. Pour the dough onto a wood surface and knead a bit more, then form a ball, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F and butter a 24 cm round tart pan with a removable bottom.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and spread it with the help of a rolling pin. The dough is delicate so it might break. I usually finish spreading it in the pan with my hands.
  6. Once spread evenly on the bottom and sides of the pan, prick the bottom with a fork and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and let cool on a rack.

Filling:

  1. In the meantime prepare the filling: clean and cut the ends of the asparagus so that they are the same length. Boil them in salted water in a tall and narrow pan so the tips are out of the water, for about 5 minutes if thin, or 8 minutes if thicker. Pass them gently underneath cold water, drain and set aside.
  2. Put the eggs in a pan with cold water and set on the stove. Cook for 10 minutes after they start to boil. Drain, peel and let cool. Reserve one half of an egg, chop the rest very fine.
  3. Wash the parsley and chop it finely.
  4. In a medium bowl add the mayo, the double cream, the chopped eggs and parsley. Adjust with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the crostata (tart). Arrange the egg half in the center, then the asparagus all around.
  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8-10 servings

Egg Asparagus Tart

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop, we’ve been compensated but all opinions are our own.]

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24 Comments

  • Reply Eyecandypopper March 24, 2017 at 8:19 am

    This looks delicious and perfect for spring! It’s very similar to a quiche, which I love. I can understand why this would be a family’s favourite. Beautiful!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      We’re all so ready for spring! Thank you, we love it 😊.

  • Reply Flavour and Savour @flavourandsavour.com March 24, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I love recipes like these that have been passed down from one generation to the next! What a great way to welcome spring, with fresh asparagus shoots! PS: like your song choice!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment and for acknowledging the song, sometimes we think if people listen to our song’s choice 😉.

  • Reply Ginni March 24, 2017 at 8:26 am

    This looks so beautiful and perfect for welcoming Spring! It is so much better than the Asparagus Quiches we normally make, and so much prettier too! Fabulous recipe as always x

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you Ginni! This tart reminds of home, where it is already quite warm and spring looks and feels like “spring”. This is a good alternative to an asparagus quiche 😊.

  • Reply MDIVADOMESTICA March 24, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Simple perfection! It is not hard to see that this is perfect for Easter and welcoming Spring.
    Fresh asparagus is a fabulous treat and a sign of the warmer temperature in our house as well.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Oh thanks so much! Looking forward to warmer temperatures and fresh produce in the markets!

  • Reply Milena | Craft Beering March 24, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Will not be waiting for Easter:) What a cool vivid account of how families in Italy incorporate this fresh tart in their lifestyle. Love foods that are presented with a warming story!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you Milena, hope you try it and love it as much as we do! So glad that my family stories are well received 😍

  • Reply Denise Pare-Watson March 24, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Wow! This is a beautiful tart! This would be perfect for a ladies luncheon. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful way to feature asparagus.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      What great idea, Denise, to have it for a ladies luncheon! Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment!

  • Reply Marie Breton March 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    This screams “spring”! What a nice tart to make for easter brunch time! Nice set of delicate flavours, plus the al dente asparagus on top gives it this nice crunch i m sure!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      I would love for the weather to scream spring as well! The flavors and textures of this tart are so working together. Thank you Melissa for your comment!

  • Reply acanadianfoodie March 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Looks delicious! … and very pretty. Is this recipe or tart a traditional one in your region of Italy at this time of year, or is it simply a traditional family ode to Spring! I ask, as I have not heard of this dish, and if it is a regional recipe, am always curious to investigate the similarities and difference among the home cooks in the region to better understand it. Of course, I would likely have to know the Italian name to do that kind of search. In any case, it’s on my list.
    🙂
    Valeire

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you, Valerie, so happy this tart is on your list! It is not a traditional recipe, but a family favorite at Easter time, and as you said, our ode to spring 😊. Easter happens to be in spring, asparagus are just starting to make their appearance and in Easter everything is about eggs (boiled, chocolate) symbol of rebirth.

  • Reply diversivore March 24, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    That’s not only gorgeous, it’s so different too! At first it seems like a quiche – and I suppose it does bear some resemblance – but it’s constructed in such a different way. The asparagus is fantastic, and always welcome in my home. And I must say, you really do have a wonderful way of evoking a beautiful and homey feel of your native Italy. I haven’t visited before, but with every post you write, I feel myself more and more interested in exploring it’s intricacies, festivities… and foods! Cheers.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Yes, Sean, similar to a quiche but also pretty different, here the crust is very crumbly like a short bread, the filling is cold, made of an egg salad and topped with steamed asparagus. So glad to have ignited the passion for Italy, my work is complete 😉. Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

  • Reply loveofitaliancooking March 27, 2017 at 3:02 am

    I love old family recipes that have stood the test of time. How wonderful that you were able to find a pdf file of your mom’s Bertolini booklet and share it with us. My mom used to use Lievito Bertolini for all of her baked goods. Unfortunately, I can’t find it in Germany, but whenever I am in Italy, I buy enough packages to last me a while. As I read about how you used to spend Easter Monday in Italy with your friends, it reminded me of the big family gatherings that we used to have at the beach during the summer. There were always 30-40 of us and we spend the day playing bocci, jumping rope, listening music from the getto blaster (back in the early 80’s when I was a kid), and then the best part was the food. Picnic tables were lined up next to each other, covered with tableclothes, and the endless options of food filled the tops of the tables. Meat grilling and wine flowing (for the adults of course), but it was a wonderful time and some of the greatest summer days from my childhood. Thanks for sharing another wonderful post and letting me take another trip down memory lane. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 27, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Thank you Rosa for your nice words! We used to have those summer gatherings, as well, on the beach! Same as you, playing and eating. Oh, jumping rope, that’s a great memory, saltare la corda, beautiful! Surprised that you cannot find Lievito Bertolini, in Germany, we’re so close! I do like you, when I’m in Italy I buy enough packages to last me for a while in Canada 😉 !

  • Reply chef mimi March 27, 2017 at 7:48 am

    You’re very talented – this is one beautiful tart! I love that mayonnaise is in the filling – I use mayonnaise a lot in cooking.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 27, 2017 at 8:39 am

      Oh, thank you so much Mimi, you make me blush! It is a wonderful tart, not too much work and with great flavors!

  • Reply Dawn - Girl Heart Food March 27, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I wish the weather was more spring-like around here. It’s about minus 27 today with the wind chill. Brrrrrrrr!! This tart is absolutely stunning! I can completely understand why it’s a family favourite. I just picked up some asparagus this past weekend (one of my favourite veggies) and I’m definitely going to try this one. What a delicious dish served with a green salad! Pinned! Thanks for sharing another beautiful (and tasty) recipe! Have a great week!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 27, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Oh, wow, Dawn! That is cold! Worse than here in the cold Canada! 🙂 We had actually a very spring-like weather yesterday, although nothing in comparison to Rome’s temperatures according to my mother’s notifications every day (already +20-23)…Thank you so much for your comment. Hope you make it, and yes, we served it with a salad, perfect! 🙂

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