Beetroot Tart Tatin

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This is possibly the most beautiful and most perfectly circular food I have ever made.

Why is it that the large purple winter veg is always the stuff in the veg box that stumps me?  Usually I roast beetroot in wedges along with potatoes and squash and serve with fried eggs or something yummy in pastry.  On occasion I’ve cooked and preserved beetroot in a sweet vinegar jelly, lovely with crackers and nibbles and a fantastic shade of pink… but I didn’t want to just humour these beetroot, I wanted to honour them and thrust them centre stage, making them into the gorgeous show stopper I know they can be.

And then I noticed that pack of puff pastry lurking in the top of the fridge, left over from Christmas and just in date.  So, I have a fully stocked pantry, three large beautiful beetroot and a block of (vegan) puff pasty…. It needs to be tart tatin!

If I’m absolutely honest, I’d never done this before, this recipe has only been tried and tested the once, but it was such a monumental triumph that I feel with all certainty that it needs to be blogged, this beautiful creation needs to be shared with the world.  It was so simple, much more simple than I anticipated, and the end result much more special too.  This may be my first tart tatin, but it most certainly will not be my last.  Any lack lustre fruits and veggies may well be getting the caramelisation and puff pastry treatment from now on.  Even my beetroot suspicious 3 year old told me “…but I like this beetroot mummy”, while the 6 year old polished off a second slice.

Yes, I used shop bought puff pastry for this recipe, I think puff is the best sort of pastry for a tart like this and making your own suddenly turns a simple method into a mammoth undertaking, also most varieties of Jus-Rol pastry are vegan, but obviously not organic.  If you’d prefer to make your own pastry a good flaky pastry or rough puff pastry will do the job and I’m sure there are good dairy free recipes out there.

I’ve just taken the bits I like form various tart tatin recipes and tried out my own ideas, obviously I can’t claim to have created the recipe for (the world famous classic french dish) tart tatin myself, but this is unashamedly my version.

Serves 6

  • 3 large beetroot (1kg ish) (£1.65)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (32p)
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup (18p)
  • 3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary (45p – or from the garden)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil / olive oil (20p)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (10p)
  • salt and pepper.
  • 500g block of puff pastry (£1.25)

Take your lovely large beetroots, mud and all and cover them with cold water in a large pan.  Put the pan on a medium heat and let them come to the boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife slides easily into their tender flesh.  You can go off and do something else while this is happening, you’ve not even really started cooking yet!20160102-201407.jpgOnce they are ready, drain off the hot dirty water and fill the pan with cold water and let them soak for a couple of minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.  This will help the beetroot cool and also help the skins slide off more easily.

Now turn the oven on to 200 degrees c.

In a large (mine is 26cm) heavy frying pan or skillet, which MUST be able to go into the oven, put the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, finely chopped garlic and the whole sprigs of rosemary.  Fry the garlic over a medium heat until it has softened and the liquids have reduced and turned syrupy, this should take about 5-10 minutes.  Now add a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper to the pan.

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This is how the ingredients go in… I’d really recommend a cast iron skillet like this, it’s one of my most recent purchases and I’m not sure how I cooked without it now!
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And this is the ingredients 10 minutes later, with the rosemary tastefully arranged.

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Meanwhile, you should be able to just push the skins off the cooked beetroot, or scrape them with a sharp knife, wash the boiled veg  and slice each beet into thick 1cm-1.5cm slices.  Arrange these slices over the top of your ingredients in the pan without overlapping (you may want to arrange your rosemary sprigs aesthetically before you do this as they will be on the top of your tart when you turn it out).  Cut any difficult slices into wedges and jiggle them into any awkward gaps around the edges until the pan is covered.

Then roll out your puff pastry onto a floured surface.  It needs to be just big enough to cover the pan with a bit of overlap to tuck in the edges, so about 30cm diameter.  Cut the corners off your pastry to make a rough circle and then lay it over the top of the other ingredients and tuck the edges in to the sides of the pan.  There is no need to glaze the pastry as this will be the bottom of your tart.

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Don’t worry if your pastry goes on all lumpy bumpy like this, just tuck it in and…

Put the whole pan into your hot oven and just leave it there to bake and puff up and caramelise and work wonderful magic for about 20 minutes.

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… Voila! it will come out looking glorious like this, all puffy and golden and perfect.

When you take the pan out of the oven, you will then need good oven gloves and a large plate, at least as large as your tart!  Place the plate upside-down on top of your pan and turn the whole thing upside down, offer up a little prayer to the tart tatin fairies – and lift your pan away…  Hopefully, and most probably, you will have a wonderful, fully intact tart with caramelised vegetables on top.  (if not, just carefully pick them out of the pan with a palette knife and arrange them back onto your pastry – nobody will know!)

20160102-201117.jpgI think I actually gasped with delight when I revealed this beautiful glossy thing, the deep purple, almost black, shiny tender slices of beetroot surrounded by perfectly round crisp golden pastry.  It really is that simple and that effective.

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I served this with my Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw and a little dollop of horseradish sauce, which goes perfectly with the sweet earthy beetroot. This would also be amazing with a dollop of Sour Cashew Cream on top.

This whole tart costs £4.15 to make from mostly organic ingredients, and would be a glamorous addition to any dinner table or as a party offering.  That works out at 69p for a generous portion, which is beautifully frugal and not at all glamorous or showy.

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