Saturday, 14 January 2012

Beetroot Crust Caramelised Onion & White Carrot Tart

I've been dreaming of this little tart for a few weeks now. I made a carrot pastry for an onion and beetroot tart as part of Christmas festivities, and it got me thinking about other vegetables that would work in a pastry. The colour the beetroot gives to this tart makes me give a little gasp (the photo doesn't do it justice). It's gorgeous, and gives a lovely backdrop for a filling. I made a couple of smaller ones for later use as well because they were just so darned cute. So what to put in this brightly hued case? I have an abundance of white carrots growing at present, and what better way to use some up with some caramelised onion. And no, I'm not confused with parsnips - we have been growing an heirloom variety that dates back to the 1500s called White Belgian. While my favourite carrot is Purple Dragons, the white caramelise beautifully with the onion. I used some eggs laid by our hens, but if you don't eat them, tofu will work just as well. Wilted spinach and almond fetta would go beautifully in this, or some goats cheese and spinach if you eat dairy.

The smell of this cooking in my kitchen was a lovely way to spend the afternoon...although it got somewhat marred by the Beloved who decided it was a good time to use some spray paint in the mudroom and the smell wound its way into the kitchen. Sigh. I had a good wedge of the tart for dinner with some greens,  potatoes, and peas straight from the garden. The crust was crisp, and slightly sweet from the beetroot, so I was right to add a little salt to back it off. I would definitely make this again.


For the Crust
3/4 cup plain flour either white or wholemeal
3/4 rolled oats
1 medium grated beetroot (about 1 loose cup)
200gr margarine
pinch salt and pepper to taste

For the Filling
3 large onions
3 large carrots
fresh dill chopped finely
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 tsp salt 
pepper to taste
If you eat eggs, use 3 beaten with 1/2 cup milk of your choice- if you don't, use the equivalent in egg re placer, or 1 cup firm tofu pureed with a splash of soy milk or almond milk.

Preheat the oven to 180C
You can either use your fingers to rub the margarine through the flour and oats as if making scone dough,  into coarse crumbs, or use a food processor to pulse )I used the latter method because as per usual I was making a few things at the same time). Add the beetroot and gently press together, distributing it evenly. Your pastry should turn a very bright pink!
Grease a quiche or tart tin and press pastry into the tin. You can roll it out, but I have found it easier to press it in as it is quite a rustic dough. Prick the bottom randomly with a skewer or fork.
Par bake with or without weights (it doesn't puff up much) for about 15 minutes, until the crust feels a bit dry.

While the case is baking saute onions and grated carrot in some olive oil with sugar, salt, and pepper until caramelised (takes 20 -30 minutes) and cool  a little. Add the dill, and eggs (or tofu), and pour into the pastry case. Bake for a further 15 -20 minutes or until set.

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