Overlapping layers of dark red beet root and deep orange sweet potato make a beautiful tart that also happens to be really good for you.
Ten years ago it would have been impossible to find raw beets in the Paris markets, now they seem to be everywhere. In France, beets are traditionally sold cooked as they are seldom eaten on their own, but cut up and added to salads. Although beets come in a range of colors, it’s the dark red ones that are packed with the most nutrients. If you have a hard time finding beets in your local market, try one of the health food stores. I always have good luck finding them there.
The tart is a great vegetarian option and can also be served to vegans if you switch out the regular butter in the crust for chilled vegan shortening.
This recipe was adapted from one shared with me from The British Larder.
Beetroot and Sweet Potato Tart
- Crème Fraiche garnish:
- 100 g (3.5 ounces) fresh broad beans (or fresh peas)
- 100 g (1/3 cup) crème fraiche
- salt and pepper
- For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the pan
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for tossing beet and sweet potato slices
- 4 med size raw beetroots
- 2 medium sweet potato
- 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 50 mls (1/4 cup) Raspberry Vinegar (or Balsamic)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- For the shortcrust pastry:
- 200 g (1 1/2 cup) plain flour
- 125 g/ (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and in a solid block
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 22 cm (9 in) tart pan, parchment lined baking sheet
- For the Pastry:
- Mix the flour with the salt. Dip the block of butter in the flour, then using the course side of a hand held grater, grate the butter directly over the flour. Next use your finger tips to lightly mix the grated butter into the flour so that the pieces are evenly distributed and completely covered in flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the egg and the cold water; lightly whisk to combine. Again, using your finger tips, gradually combine the flour and wet ingredients together eventually using your hands to form a rough, shaggy ball. Do not overwork he dough.
- Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten it into a disc. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
- For the broad bean Crème Fraiche:
- Cook the beans in boiling lightly salted water for several minutes. Drain, refresh in ice cold water and drain again. Pop the beans out of their tough outer skin and set aside.
- Put half the fresh beans into a bowl and crush with a fork. Reserve the extra to garnish the final dish. Season the crushed beans with salt and pepper and stir in the cream. Cover with cling film and transfer to the refrigerator till needed.
- To make the beetroot filling:
- Preheat oven to 180°c/ 350°f.
- Peel and slice two of the beetroots to obtain ten, 5mm (1/4 inch) slices. Do the same with one of the sweet potatoes. (You will want enough slices to line the base of the tart pan, you may need more or less slices depending on the size of your vegetables.)
- Put the slices in a bowl and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared baking tray and roast in the oven until tender. (The sweet potatoes may cook faster than the beetroots, if so, take them out first and return the beetroots to the oven for a few more minutes.) When done, set aside to cool.
- While the slices are cooking, peel and coarsely grate the remaining beetroots and sweet potato. Measure out 300 g (2 cups) of each. Peel and finely slice the red onion. Measure out 300 g (2 cups)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter plus the olive oil in wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the grated vegetables. Toss to coat with oil, then cover, turn the heat down to low and sweat for 10 - 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to caramelise, stirring regularly. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add the vinegar to the pan. Cover, and continue cooking over low heat for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but not too dry. Stir in the thyme and set aside to cool.
- To finish:
- Butter the base and sides of the tart pan.
- Arrange the cooked beetroot and sweet potato slices in the base of the prepared pan in a single layer, overlapping pattern. Spoon the cooked, grated vegetables on top of the slices, and press down.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 5mm/1/4 inch. Cut out a circle of pastry slightly larger than the outer rim of the tart shell. Place the round of pastry on top of the beetroot filling patting it down and tucking the edges inside the pan and down the sides to encase the vegetables. Prick the pastry then place the tart in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the tart rest for 10 minutes. While still warm, take a serving dish that is larger than the tart pan and place over the tart. In one quick move, invert the tart onto the dish so that the pastry is now on the bottom and the beetroot filling is on top. Serve with a dollop of the broad bean cream, garnish with herbs and any extra beans.