Beet Tarts with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions
These beet tarts are the savory version of rose-shaped apple tarts. (Recipe Credit: Aube Giroux of Kitchen Vignettes)
Yield: Makes 10 small 3-inch tarts
- 14 oz of puff pastry (store-bought or homemade)
- About 4 medium-sized beets (1 1/4 pound)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 large red onions (about 1 pound)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 6 oz soft goat cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- For the optional garnish:
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- A few sprinkles za’atar spice
- Roast the beets: Place the cleaned beets in a lidded ovenproof pot and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil, massaging it over each beet with your hands to make sure they are evenly coated. (Do not peel or remove the roots from the beets, this helps to preserve the nutrients and flavor as the beets roast). Bake the beets, covered, at 375F for about 45 minutes (smaller beets may take less time and larger ones may take longer) until a knife can be easily inserted into the centre of the beets. Don’t overcook or the beets will shrivel. If you wish, you can peel the skins off the cooled beets, or leave them on. Cut the cooled beets in half, then slice them as thinly as you can, to obtain half moon shapes. It’s very important to slice them very thinly otherwise you will have a hard time rolling up the tarts.
- Caramelize the onions.: Trim the tips and roots from the onions, cut in half, peel, slice the onions thinly (about 1/4 inch wide). Melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat and then add the sliced onions, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and a small pinch of salt. Cook the onions over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, checking and stirring every 5 or 10 minutes to make sure they aren’t burning. Around the 20-minute mark, when the onions are soft and turning golden, add 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar followed by 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Stir well and continue cooking for about another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onions have reached a good level of caramelization. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Mix the cheese filling: Blend the goat cheese and egg together until evenly mixed and easily spreadable in consistency. Add a small dash of salt and a generous dash of black pepper.
- Prepare the dough: If using store-bought puff pastry, thaw out overnight in the fridge the night before. Make sure the puff pastry is cold before you roll it out. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a large rectangle and get it as thin as you can. (If your dough is too thick, the tarts will be doughy, and the dough may not cook through to the center). Cut into strips 12 inches by 2 1/2 inches long. You should easily get 10 strips. Keep these in a cool place until ready to assemble (if your dough warms up, it will be harder to assemble the tarts).
- Assemble the tarts: Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoon of cheese filling across the center of each pastry strip, staying away from the edges. Scatter about 1 Tbsp of caramelized onions and if using, 1 Tbsp parmesan across the centre of each strip. (This is a tiny bit more than what is shown in the video, but go with this). Place the beet slices down along the upper half of the pastry strip, letting their rounded edge top poke out just above the top edge. Fold the dough in half, lengthwise, to cover about 3/4 of the beets and press down gently. Roll the folded strip inwards on itself, until you have a little spiral round of dough and beets. Use a bit of water or egg wash to “glue” the end of the strip to the main body of the tart. (You can make an optional egg wash if you wish by whisking 1 egg and 1 Tbsp milk together and brushing it all over the outside of the pastry before baking to give it a nice golden luster).
- Place the tarts in a large-sized buttered muffin tin to help them hold their shape as they bake, or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375F for about 50 to 60 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn. To ensure the tarts are done, break one open to check if the center of the spiral is cooked through.
- For the Presentation: Make the balsamic reduction by placing the vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the vinegar has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Don’t overcook as it will get thicker when cooled).
- Serve the tarts warm, with a generous drizzle of balsamic reduction and if you wish, a sprinkle of za’atar spice.