In case it hasn’t been clear: I loooove puff pastry. Especially for entertaining. It makes for easy and delicious appetizers and dessert. This Carrot & Pesto Puff Pastry Tart takes my obsession into a savory route that is slightly more complex. I’ve had the concept of this recipe in my head for a looooong time, ever since seeing this gorgeous Carrot Tart with Ricotta & Feta from NYT Cooking. After a few different attempts at different combinations of layers, I decided that a combination of pesto, roasted carrots, and parmesan on top of buttery and flakey puff pastry was the best.
Important Notes: Carrot & Pesto Puff Pastry Tart
Carrots: While I can’t always find them, I prefer to use rainbow carrots for presentation. They add such a beautiful color. Maybe I’m eating with my eyes, but I swear they add a complexity of flavor too. You 100% need to take the time to roast them prior to baking them with the puff pastry because they take longer to cook than the puff pastry will. They essentially should be fully cooked when you add them on top off the pastry.
Pesto: For the pesto, you can use storebought or homemade. In my experience, storebought is equally delicious but often more expensive. For homemade, see below for my arugula pesto recipe. I often will make a big batch and then freeze leftovers. To thaw out the pesto for this recipe, place the pesto in the fridge the day before.
Reheating: This can easily be made ahead of time and then either serve at room temperature or put in the oven for about 10 minutes to warm up. The color of the pesto may become slightly less vibrant over time, but usually it will lose some of its color during the baking process anyway.
Tips for Puff Pastry
- Make sure to defrost in the fridge beforehand- it need about 3 hours in the fridge. If in a rush, you can defrost on the counter for about 1.5 hours and then place in fridge for another hour.
- Keep it COLD.
- Have everything out and ready to go.
- Don’t be afraid to put it back in the freezer/fridge to cool down for a second. If at any point it is getting too soft/wilty to handle or to sticky, just place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Don’t roll it out too much and when rolling it out, roll it on parchment paper or silpat and frequently check it hasn’t stuck by gently picking it up off of the counter. If it gets too sticky, place it in the freezer or fridge to help cool it and then it will be less sticky.
- Use a fork to punch holes so it doesn’t puff up like crazy.
- Place in the freezer for 10ish minutes before baking to keep its shape a bit more.
- If you can, buy a butter-based dough like this one by Dufour.
Jumping on board the puff pastry train with me? Be sure to check out these recipes.
Carrot & Pesto Puff Pastry Tart
- 5-6 rainbow carrots, sliced lengthwise into matchsticks (around the same length)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- diamond kosher salt (if using any other salt, use half the amount), to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup pesto, see below for my favorite arugula pesto one! (but store bought works too)
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- Roast the carrots: Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add carrots and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat in oil. Bake until caramelized and slightly charred, about 30 minutes- halfway through, flip carrots and shake pan a bit.
- Prepare the puff pastry: Lightly roll out puff pastry on a parchment paper until it takes up most of the parchment paper. Prick with a fork. If at any point it feels like it is warming up too much or getting sticky/soft, place in freezer or fridge for about 5-10 minutes.
- Spread pesto onto puff pastry, leaving a 1/4'' border. Add carrots on top. Sprinkle lightly with half of the parmesan cheese.
- Bake in oven until puff pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle with reamining fresh parmesan. Let puff pastry slightly cool before cutting and serving.