Second course on the Valentines Day vegetarian menu is a Beetroot Tarte Tatin. Confession time, this was my first time ever making a tarte tatin, beetroot or otherwise. I'd always put it off because when you think of a tarte tatin, I immediately think of Classic French cooking which terrifies me because there's normally lots of steps involved. So when I saw Yotam Ottolenghi's simple Surprise Tarte Tatin recipe from his book Plenty I knew I had to try it! And with going vegetarian for Valentines Day, and the rest of February, it seemed like the perfect occasion to lose my tarte tatin virginity.
This recipe is an adaptation of Ottolenghi's tatin, substituting potatoes, tomatoes and onions for beetroots and blue goats cheese. Roast beetroot is nothing like the pickled version that lives in the salad section of your supermarket. It's sweet with an incredible earthy flavour that you can only get from beetroot. As it's such a strong flavour, beetroot can stand up to a lot of other flavours, be it mustard, horseradish or a strong blue cheese. I decided to pair the beetroot with a soft and creamy 'blue' goats cheese. It's such a wonderful dish and served up in a heart shaped tin it makes for a pretty loved up centrepiece to serve this Valentines.
The cheese I used isn't a real blue cheese but it's as close as you can get to blue without making it in a separate room to other non-blue cheeses - not a blue cheese law expert but this is what I've heard makes a blue cheese officially blue! Nut Knowle Farm are the producers behind this cheese, they make a wide range of cheeses including a couple of new 'blue' cheeses which are absolutely delicious, and the best news is they are all made with vegetarian rennet so everyone can enjoy them.
Except vegans. Sorry.
I've raved about Nut Knowle Farm before (in this post about Brook Green Wild Food Market) and this won't be the last time I do it. Apart from our green grocers they are the only producer which I have complete loyalty to. They're goats cheeses are the best I've ever had and they go well in so many different meals, like this Lemon Pepper Goats Cheese Salad with Maple Pecans. And if you think all goats cheese taste the same, or you don't really like goats cheese, get down to one of their markets are try some. Honestly I have had two goats cheese haters convert to lovers when faced with a plate of Nut Knowle Farm's finest. I like to think it's my cooking but I think we all know who the true star is.
Of course if you can't get hold of Nut Knowle Farm's cheese or any blue goats cheese you could use any goats cheese but it might be better to forget the goat and go for a strong creamy blue instead.
Beetroot Tarte Tatin
250g puff pastry
3 large beetroots
1 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary or dried
100g blue or ash coated goats cheese
Salt and pepper to season
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel the beets and slice them into 1cm thick rounds. Roast the beetroot in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, the rosemary, and salt and pepper for 20 minutes. Line a baking tin with baking paper.
Step 2. While the beetroot is roasting, roll out the puff pastry to 0.5cm thick and cut it to the shape of your baking tin. Cut the goats cheese into rounds and set aside. I used 'blue' goats cheese as it has a stronger flavour but you can use whatever soft goats cheese you can get a hold of.
Step 3. To make the caramel, which will stick the beetroot to the puff pastry, heat the butter and sugar on a high heat stirring with a wooden spoon until the caramel is golden brown.
Step 4. Pour the caramel into the lined tin and tilt so it covers the entire base of the tin. Lay the roasted beetroot in the caramel so the rounds overlap, then dot the beetroot with the goats cheese before laying the puff pastry on top. Press the puff pastry into the beetroot and then bake the tart in the oven for 35 minutes.
Step 5. Once done, remove the tarte tatin from the oven and flip it onto a plate. Serve the tart with lots of salad and a horseradish dressing (3 parts yoghurt, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part horseradish, and salt and pepper) for a balanced Valentines Day main.