I feel a little disappointed in myself for not having posted anything since early October. Well I have a really good reason for that now! I felt a little out of sorts a few days before I stopped writing, and lost my way with inspiration, cooking and the adventures we were getting up to. The only time I remember having a lack of interest in food and cooking was when I was pregnant back in 2009. So there you are…I found out just before Thanksgiving weekend that I was pregnant again!
Anyway, to get me going again I thought I would post this recipe now for our friends Nicola and Steve who we enjoyed it with this weekend. I reserve this recipe for entertaining, because once you find out how good it tastes, you will find it hard to stop at one piece!
Beets have been marching into the stores in droves. They are well and truly a favourite fall produce pick of mine. Leading into winter, they are a vegetable loaded with cold fighting properties; and honestly I think they taste good in just about anything; juices, in burgers (it’s an Aussie thing), baked with your favourite roast beef dish, relish, warm winter salads and this tart recipe by Valli Little which was published in the March issue of delicious. magazine, 2011.
This tart is delectable and although you may think by looking at it that there could be a degree of difficulty because of how amazing it looks, there isn’t! Just follow the recipe and you will be rewarded with this beautiful dish which I would not change in anyway…it’s almost perfect! I have tested it out on guests and we all politely held back from being the first to dive in for another serving. If you are fortunate enough to still have some left, it will just last till the next day – it is best served on day of cooking.
Beetroot and goat’s cheese tart (serves 6)
1 bunch of beetroot (about 400 gm) trimmed
30 gm unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 red onions. thinly sliced
1/4 cup (60ml) balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons thyme leaves plus extra sprigs
1 Tablespoon caster sugar
150 gm soft goat’s cheese (I bought Salt Spring Island’s creamy goat’s cheese – it’s divine)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150 ml thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (ground is fine if you can’t find whole nutmegs)
250 gm creme fraiche or sour cream
1 Tablespoon bottled horseradish
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/3 cups (200 gm) plain flour
100 gm chilled unsalted butter chopped
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1. Place beetroot in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, topping with water if necessary, until tender. Drain. Refresh under cold water and leave to cool. Peel and coarsely grate. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, for the pastry, place flour, butter, thyme and a pinch of salt in a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) chilled water, then process until the mixture comes together in a ball. Enclose in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Lightly grease a 30 cm loose-bottomed tart pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 5mm thick, then use to line the tart pan. Chill for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 180 C / 355 F. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and the weights, then bake for 5 minutes or until dry and pale golden.
4. Heat the butter and oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until softened. Add beetroot, vinegar, thyme and sugar, then cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until thickened and syrupy. Spread beetroot mixture over the tart base, then crumble over the cheese.
5. Whisk egg, cream and nutmeg together, then pour into the tart case. Scatter with extra thyme. Bake 35 minutes or until set.
6. Meanwhile, combine the creme fraiche, horseradish, Dijon and lemon juice, then season. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
7. Cut tart into slices and serve warm or cold with horseradish cream.
I like serving this tart with a fennel salad on the side. Enjoy!