In this chapter of, “Puff Pastry Makes Everything Better,” I bring you this spring pea ricotta tart.
I love puff pastry. I forget how much I love it until I use it again. It’s a little pricey but it’s so worth it. You buy a pack, let it defrost in the fridge overnight, brush it with some egg wash, and bake it in the oven. Then you have a beautiful, buttery, flaky, delicious base for whatever you want to put on top.
It’s also good to use when you want to make something that looks more impressive than it actually is. I’m thinking dinner parties or impromptu get togethers, but maybe you have other occasions where you want to use it. Maybe it’s just about impressing yourself. Whatever you need, puff pastry will deliver.
This tart could not be easier to make. You make the puff pastry, then you spread a ricotta/cream mixture on top, sprinkle on some cooked peas, and carefully place a few egg yolks on top.
The egg yolk part is my favorite. Yeah, it’s a little challenging, especially if you’ve never worked with eggs. But once you master it, it’s fun and relaxing. You crack an egg into the palm of your hand. Keep your fingers slightly open so the egg white can drop through like quicksand. Then you use the palm of your hand to gently place the yolk onto the tart.
I topped my tart with microgreens, salt, and pepper, but you could get creative. Scallions, ramps, or even some chopped nuts would work well. I wanted to keep mine simple because the real star of this show is the puff pastry.
A word about the peas: I used frozen peas and warmed them up in a pot of boiling water. Then I rinsed them under cold water so they’d retain their bright green color. You could use fresh peas if you have them or find them at the store. But honestly, there’s nothing wrong with using frozen peas. Maybe I’ll regret saying this one day, but for now I think it’s true.
Here’s a song to get you started on your spring pea ricotta tart journey. It’s also good for days when you’re stuck in traffic and you need a sing-a-long to get you through.
Spring Pea Ricotta Tart
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup green peas, cooked and cooled
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
1/4 cup microgreens
salt and pepper for topping
Defrost the puff pastry by placing the whole box (with the dough still wrapped) in the refrigerator overnight. The next day when you’re ready to use it, take it out of the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes. Don’t let it sit out at room temperature for too long, though. You want slightly chilled dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk one of the eggs with a pinch of salt in a small bowl until frothy. Place the puff pastry on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fold down the edges a 1/2 inch to make a border. Prick the middle of the dough with a fork, making rows of tines. Brush the dough with the egg, making sure to coat the crust and middle.
Bake the crust for about 22 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Remove from the oven and once it’s cooled slightly, gently press down the middle (don’t worry if it’s very puffy at first).
Mix the ricotta and cream. Spread it onto the middle of the crust. Top with the cooked peas. Make four small wells in the cheese/pea mixture for your egg yolks.
Crack an egg into your palm and let the white drop through your slightly-opened fingers into a bowl. Gently place the yolk into one of the holes. Repeat this process three times until you have four egg yolks on your tart.
Place the tart back in the oven on the bottom rack and bake for 15 minutes, or until the yolks are barely set. Remove from the oven and serve. Enjoy!