Beetroot & Goats Cheese Tart

Beets are still on the menu in Happy Food Baby’s kitchen, don’t worry. There’s been some trial and error going on this week, namely with my latest attempt at a beetroot and goats cheese tart – in homage to my delectable lunch at The Cake Café, and with recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Don’t be thinking that Happy Food Baby always gets it right. Read on…

Well. Hugh is a divil, he really is. His recipe asks for beets, roasted and peeled, but he doesn’t indicate how long they need to be roasted for. Forgive my terrible ignorance here. What happened with the Beetroot Tart, Part I, was that the beets weren’t roasted for long enough so they had a terrible bite to them – I was so upset! I’ve resorted to boiling them as I had better luck with that method before. Also, the mammy – god bless her – picked up spreadable goats cheese and I really wanted the log which can be cut into slices and crumbled. Never send a mammy to do a food baby’s work! I’m kidding obviously. I appreciate her help. As for the beets: top and tail them, peel the skin and cut into large chunks, about half the size of your fist. Boil them for 20mins in water or in this mixture: 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar + 1 cup water + 2 tblsp orange juice.

So we are in the midst of Beetroot Tart, Part II. Here’s Hugh’s recipe, which serves 4-6. I’ve halved the recipe.

For the pastry:
100g flour
50g cold butter
Pinch of salt, pinch of sugar
Enough water to bring the flour mix together

1. The butter needs to be super cold so, first things first, measure it, wrap it, then bung it in the freezer while you measure the flour. Crumble the butter into the flour using your fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the water, a big splash at a time, until the flour mixture comes together and cleans the side of the bowl. Don’t overwork it or your pastry will be tough. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for two hours or so, or put it in the freezer for about an hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F . Take an 8″ / 20cm round pie dish and lightly grease it. Grate the ball of pastry, using the coarse side of a cheese grater, directly into the dish and spread it out evenly – or you can use the traditional rolling pin method. Use the clingfilm to press the pastry into the tin and up the sides to insulate it from the heat of your fingers and stop it sticking to you. Line the pastry with foil or baking paper and bake blind for 20-25mins, until it has slightly browned and is relatively firm when pressed.

For the filling:
250g beetroot, cooked, peeled and cut into 1cm / ½ inch pieces
15g butter
1 small onion / 2 small red onions, roughly chopped
75ml red wine
1 tblsp cider vinegar, plus an extra splash
1 tblsp honey
1/2 tblsp thyme (use fresh if you have it, I didn’t, sad face)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g goats cheese (if you’re a big fan of goats cheese, you can use 160g and layer it on the bottom of the tart and crumble some more on top)

1.  Heat the oven to 200C / 400F. Melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the onion and gently fry for 3-4 mins until soft.

2. Combine the wine, cider vinegar, honey, thyme, salt and pepper and pour over the onions. Stir it up, increase the heat then add the beetroot. Cook until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed, stirring frequently.

3. If you’re going heavy on the goats cheese, throw down some rounds on the pastry case and tip the beetroot and onion mixture over it. Crumble some more goats cheese on top.

4. Cook for 25-30mins, until the cheese has begun to brown. Serve with a yummy rocket and sweet pepper salad.

In theory, this is what the tart should look like:

In reality, this is what my tart looked like with the cheese quite browned. It smells and tastes mega. As you can see, there is an absence of dill in my tart, because I sort of dislike it.


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