Beetroot, Brie and New Potato Tart
This earthily scrumptious tart with its stained pink filling is elegantly substantial and satisfying, so a great thing to have waiting in your fridge when there are many mouths to feed, or maybe just one hungry one for a day or two. Cooked in a spring release cake tin for extra depth and eye appeal, it's a bit of a stunner.
It is one of those recipes you can add to or takeaway from, depending on what you have to hand, but for me the potatoes are essential in a rich tart like this and the pine kernels add a pleasing gentle crunch. Of course, the tart should be full to bursting with vegetables.
I pkt. good quality ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 bunch beetroot, approx. 500g
Good handful of fresh breadcrumbs
600g cooked and thickly sliced new potatoes
1 pkt. watercress, spinach and rocket salad leaves
200g Brie, sliced
Good handful toasted pine kernels
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
300ml whipping cream
Salt and pepper
20cm diameter spring release cake tin, greased
In order to prevent "bleeding", cut the beetroot leaves away leaving about 4 cms of stalk still attached and don't remove the thin, hairy root. Wash any mud off the beets, wrap them loosly in foil and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until a knife inserted straight through the foil into the beetroot glides in and out easily. Allow to cool in the foil.
When cool enough to handle, use your fingers to rub away the skin (yes, your fingers will be stained pink, but it washes off easily provided you don't wait too long).
Roughly cut the cooked beetroot into chunks and whizz to a puree in a food processor with the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Unroll the pastry and, keeping it on its wrapping paper, roll it a little wider. You want the pastry to be large enough not only to rise up the sides of the cake tin, but also to flop over the top of it; this way you don't have to worry about lining, baking beans and so on when blind baking it.
Line the greased cake tin with the pastry and, as above, let the pastry fall over the sides of the tin. Use a fork to prick all over the base (important), sit the cake tin on a baking tray and bake blind in the oven just as it is, for 20 minutes.
Slice the leeks into thick chunks, soften in a saucepan with a drop of oil and then tip into the cooked pastry shell
Drop the salad leaves into the warm and unwashed leek pan and toss on a gentle heat until wilted, which will take a matter of seconds. Set aside.
Arrange half of the sliced new potatoes in a layer on top of the leeks in the pastry shell and season with salt and pepper
Now, using a teaspoon, arrange half of the beetroot puree in blobs on top of the potatoes, top this with some of the sliced brie and sprinkle over about half of the pine kernels
Repeat the layers of potatoes and beetroot puree, then this time add the wilted salad leaves and top with the rest of the brie and pine kernels. The pastry case should be full to the top with vegetables.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks and cream. Season with salt and pepper. With the cake tin sitting on a baking tray, carefully pour the eggy cream over the layered up vegetables, making sure it reaches the centre of the tart.
Bake in the oven at least an hour, possibly an hour and a quarter. The custard should be lightly set right through to the centre of the tart.
Serve warm or at room temperature. A dressed green salad is the only accompaniment necessary.
You can experiment with adding extra flavours if you wish; horseradish goes well with beetroot, as does
fennel seed and tarragon, for example. You could add walnuts, chopped very finely, or some cumin perhaps.