I was so happy to see beets this week, so I could make beet tartes tatin with gorgonzola pesto sauce. I used to absolutely abhor beets. I blame it on the rise of the monoculture: it wasn’t until I moved to Oregon in my early thirties that I realized that beets actually come in varieties. I first encountered both golden beets and chiogga beets in a CSA basket, and from then on, I was sold. Both of these beets are more mild – they don’t have the overwhelming dirt taste of a red beet. Once I became accustomed to the more mild varieties, I was much more open to experimenting with good old red beets. It also helped to learn that beets don’t have to be boiled to death to be edible. They can be eaten raw, sliced thinly and baked into beet chips, roasted, salt roasted, tossed into baked goods….and sure, boiled. Beets are incredibly versatile.
A quick CSA re-cap before we get into the recipe. This week’s CSA brought us more peas, carrots, and broccoli, along with kale, spinach, and the beets featured in this recipe. I’ll be featuring the peas in a recipe later this week. The carrots and broccoli are still hanging out in the fridge. The kale, spinach, and beet greens all went into this saag paneer recipe – we had several volunteers from one of the community groups my husband works with over for dinner. One of the women had never had Indian food before, so I made saag paneer and garlic naan. It all was going pretty well until the paneer decided to melt as I was gently browning it, so we ended up having saag paneer with slightly melted paneer. The naan turned out just fine, though, so all was well. Plus, I used up all the greens.
The beets, however, I roasted and used in these beet tartes tatin with gorgonzola pesto sauce. Tarte tatin is traditionally made with apples, but has been adapted to make use of various fruits and veggies. Beets lend themselves really well to this adaptation. I roasted the beets with a little olive oil and salt first, then peeled and sliced them and placed them at the bottom of a large sized muffin tin that was well oiled (also with olive oil). I tossed a few walnuts in each muffin tin cup on top of the beets. I placed rough puff pastry on top of each of the beets and baked. Thirty minutes later, I flipped the muffin tins over onto a baking sheet and out came six perfect beet tartes tatin.
In the spirit of lazy summer cooking and keeping it simple, I made a quick buttermilk dressing with pesto and gorgonzola cheese to spoon over the beet tartes tatin. This makes a lovely lunch, but could also grace a tapas table or be served as an appetizer at a farm-to-table gathering.
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons cold butter
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 4 small beets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Grate the butter into the flour/salt mixture. Stir until the butter is well coated with the flour. Make a small well in the middle and add the water. Mix until all the flour/butter/salt mixture is incorporated into the water. Gently knead the mixture until you have a shaggy dough – don’t over knead or over mix.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out a rectangle about 8 inches by 4 inches. Fold the dough letter style – the top third comes down and the bottom third comes up. Turn ¼ turn. This is the first turn. Roll out again into a rectangle about 8 inches by 4 inches. Fold the dough again – top third comes down, bottom third comes up. This is the second turn. Do this process (roll, fold) at least two more times. Work fairly quickly – the butter shouldn’t start to melt all over your surface. If it starts to get too soft, throw the dough into the freezer between turns and let it firm up a bit.
- Once you’ve turned and rolled at least four times, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour to rest.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the beets in a small roasting dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until soft.
- Drop the temperature of the oven to 365 degrees.
- Once the rough puff pastry has chilled for an hour, take it out and roll it into a long rectangle. Cut out 6 circles the size of the muffin tin you'll be using for the tartes tatin.
- Peel the roasted beets and slice. Oil a muffin tin with the remaining olive oil. Divide the beets and walnuts evenly between the tins and top each with a circle of pastry. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Place a baking sheet over the muffin tin and carefully flip the tin. Let the tartes tatin cool.
- Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.
- Serve the pesto gorgonzola sauce drizzled over the tartes tatin. Serves 6 as an appetizer. Enjoy!