When reading about this week's challenge to come up with a tart using ingredients of the season I immediately thought of beets. Why? I love 'em. Anyway you cook them, I love them. My favorite way is roasted, served on a salad with goat cheese. In coming up with this recipe, I had a vague idea of what savory means but needed to look it up. I found terms like "piquant", "pleasingly pungent" and "salty to the taste". I new I needed to include one of my favorite cheeses- Maytag blue cheese.
Because of my work schedule and time constraints, I opted to use packaged puff pastry dough. When it came to roasting the beets, I found many different opinions. Some believe it's best to individually wrap the beets in foil and "steam" them. I took a short cut and placed them all in the same pan and covered them with foil. Another day, when I have more time, I'll try individually wrapping them first.
This has been a fun exercise. My little tartelette turned out delicious! Even better with a big glass of Cabernet. With each bite is a wonderful mix of complex tastes. I can't wait to serve it at my next gathering! Want to come? Martha will be there. ;)
To prepare beets, trim the ends and wash. Place in a small cooking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. They are ready when a fork easily pierces them. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees.
While beets are cooking take out one sheet of puff pastry to thaw. Best if placed on a sheet of parchment paper.
Cut the onion into thin strips. Place a heavy skillet on low to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil. The pan is ready when the oil is shimmering. Saute the onions for about 20-30 minutes until a nice golden brown color. I added a dash of sugar toward the end to add to the sweetness of the onions. Set the onions aside.
Once your pastry dough has thawed (about 40 min.), unfold sheet onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 equal squares. Transfer to a baking sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
The beets should be cooled by now. Peel each beet and dice. Divide evenly among the four tarts leaving about a 1/2 inch border. Do the same with the caramelized onions, blue cheese and walnuts.
In a small bowl beat together the egg and water with a fork or whisk. Brush the edges of each tart with the egg mixture.
Lightly drizzle each tart with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Top each with a light sprinkling of orange zest. Serve hot.