For me, spring-time is heralded by the appearance of asparagus. You can only get British grown asparagus for a few weeks, and you have to act fast! I called them "little trees" when I was a child, and refused to eat them. It is sad to think of all those years I wasn't enjoying this crunchy green goodness. In fact, I don't think I really appreciated them until we bought a property that had a big patch already established. As I'm not one to waste, I had to put them to good use. Now I can't get enough!
2 cups water
24 fresh asparagus spears (about 1 pound), trimmed
1 package (8 ounces/250g) reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (17-1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg, whisked
Bacon, cooked and diced (optional). I used about 4 small rashers.
In a large nonstick skillet, bring water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain asparagus and immediately place in ice water; drain and pat dry. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and salt until smooth; set aside.
Unfold the dough on a lightly floured surface. Mine came as a brick, which I cut in 1/2 width-wise and rolled each out separately. I skipped the second next step. If your dough didn't come as a brick you will probably roll it out and then cut it in 1/2, so you have two rectangles.
For each rectangle, spread cream cheese mixture lengthwise over half of the dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Arrange a row of 1/2 the asparagus spears lengthwise in a single layer over cream cheese. Sprinkle with chopped bacon, if using.
|Sorry about this poor picture, but you get the idea|
Brush edges of dough with some of the egg; fold dough over filling and press edges together to seal. I used a fork to seal the edge. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
If making for appetisers or finger food, cut width-wise into 1-1/4-in. pieces. Place 1 in. apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush with remaining egg wash. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Yield: 28 servings.
I didn't cut these into appetiser size portions as I was serving them as a meal. I just cut each folded rectangle into eight pieces (the left overs will be perfect for a picnic tomorrow if the weather cooperates). The kids loved brushing on the egg wash. I served these up next to a big bowl of broccoli soup and it was a great meal.