Beetroot tarte tatin with rye crust

This jewel-toned beetroot tarte tatin is as impressive to look at as it is to eat.
This jewel-toned beetroot tarte tatin is as impressive to look at as it is to eat. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Vegetarian

Although tarte tatin is typically a dessert, this version is decidedly savoury. Sure, there is sweetness in the honey and beetroot but I counter that with acidity from the vinegar, nuttiness from the rye and creamy sourness from the goat's curd. I would serve this as a wintry vegetarian lunch with a hearty rocket or radicchio salad.

Ingredients

26 to 35 baby red beetroot (about 6 bunches)

100g honey

4 tbsp chardonnay vinegar

about 100g goat's curd to serve

For the dough

200g plain flour

140g rye flour

1 tbsp sugar

225g cold diced butter

1½ tsp salt

130-140ml cold water

Method

1. To make the dough place the flours, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Drop in the cold butter and, using your fingertips, rub the pieces of butter into the flour until you are left with shaggy pieces of butter mixed with flour. The biggest chunks of butter should be no larger than a pea. Add in the water a little at a time. When you have added nearly all the water, stop and give the dough a good knead. If it holds together well and there is no flour left in the bottom of the bowl, stop there. If the dough still looks crumbly, add a bit more water and knead again. The goal is to have a dough that holds together without looking cracked or dry while not being over-kneaded. If you still see bits of butter in the finished dough, that's a good sign. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. You can even freeze the dough for later.

2. To roast the beetroot, preheat oven to 200 degrees and place a baking stone in the oven, if you have one. Wash and trim beetroot and place in a shallow baking tray. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a good splash of water and some salt, shake everything around so the beetroot are nicely coated. Cover the tray in aluminium foil and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. Check doneness by piercing with a small knife. A knife should go through fairly easily, but you don't want them to become mushy. Remove the foil and allow to cool. When cool, rub to remove the skins (or peel if they don't come off easily). Trim the top and root end of the beetroot so they are flat and roughly the same height.

3. In a 20-centimetre ovenproof cast-iron pan, heat the honey and vinegar until bubbly, then place all the beetroot into the pan, flat sides down. Squeeze in as many as possible – the tart is more impressive if the beetroot are packed in tightly. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt.

4. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out as thinly as possible. Place over the beetroot with the pastry edges hanging over the pan. Using scissors, cut around the edge of the pan (be careful as it will still be hot), leaving a 2-centimetre overhang. Save this excess dough for another use or discard. Tuck the overhanging pastry around the beetroot into the pan. Cut a small slit in the centre of the dough to allow steam to escape.

5. Immediately bake for 35 to 45 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes, loosen the edges with a knife, and carefully flip on to a serving platter to unmould. Serve warm or at room temperature, dotting the top with goat's curd.

Tip: Save the beet greens, too. They make an excellent addition to a frittata or sauteed as a side dish alongside the protein of your choice.

More sweet and savoury twists on tarte tatin