Roasted Beet Tarte Tatin with Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Feta is a fabulous party dish. With the holidays approaching, we love serving a delicious show-stopper. Cooks welcome any dish that can be assembled in advance then bake while entertaining. Serve this tarte as an elegant appetizer or a savory dessert for your parties. It is so delicious, you might just eat the entire tarte for dinner by yourself or share with a friend.
4 servings. Baking time is 30 to 35 minutes at 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6 for a 10-inch (25-cm) pan; 25 to 30 minutes for an 8-inch (20-cm) pan; 23 to 25 minutes for a 6-inch (15-cm) pan. Baking time depends on how cold the ingredients are when the pan is put into the preheated oven. Avoid burning the edges of the dough or beets, so check at 20 minutes, then monitor.
Roasted Beet Tarte Tatin:
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound (454 g) peeled cooked beets (4 large)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (1 ounce or 28 g)
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (1 ounce or 28 g)
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (1 ounce or 28 g)
Ground black pepper, optional
Fresh Herbs: chives, chive blossoms, parsley, savory, tarragon, thyme, optional – be generous
Crumbled bleu cheese, Maytag Bleu, Roquefort, Stilton, or Mountain Gorgonzola placed on top while warm and just before serving
Fresh Herbs: Choose any herb. A combination of chives, chive blossoms, parsley, savory, tarragon, and thyme is delicious.
1. Preparing the Cooked Beets: Remove any outer peel and tiny roots. Cut into evenly thick slices of about 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thick (6.35-cm to 9.5-cm). Lay out on paper towels; the paper absorbs the juice so the puff pastry does not get soggy.* Probably the entire pound of sliced beets will not be used for any-size pan. But it is important to have a selection of slices, to choose similar diameter, since beet size varies.
Preparing the Walnuts: Break apart or chop into large pieces. Example: one whole side of a walnut, quarter it. This size provides a delightful unexpected crunch since the filling is soft and moist, plus it elevates the puff pastry so it bakes better and a little drier. Toast lightly. When cool to the touch, rub lightly-toasted walnuts between paper towel sheets to remove walnut skins. Discard skins, reserve toasted walnuts.
Thaw frozen puff pastry sheet for about 40 minutes, or just until easy to handle while cold. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6.
2. The Pan: Pour the olive oil into an ovenproof, non-stick pan. Tilt the pan or use a pastry brush to evenly distribute across the pan. The oil coating should be light so it flavors and prevents the beets from burning. Try to not add more to avoid it becoming oily.
Place one large beet slice in the center of the pan. Arrange the beet slices, overlapping, in the pan. Probably it will be 2 circles of overlapping slices. Crowd together, overlapping slightly because the beets are already cooked. *If you layout the beet slices without overlapping, just side-by-side, there won’t be enough for balance after baking.
Layering: Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, goat cheese, and crumbled feta cheese. Sprinkle over fresh herbs – be generous because their flavors tend to dissipate. If you want, grind black pepper over all.
3. The Puff Pastry Topping: Carefully place the thawed sheet of puff pastry over the beets, nuts, cheese, and herbs. Drape the puff pastry over them in an even layer without folds, allowing it to fall into place naturally during baking. There will be a few hills and valleys, that is fine, because the trapped air helps to bake the pastry. Using a kitchen shears, or sharp paring knife, trim the edges so the pastry completely covers the beets and touches the side of the pan. During baking the pastry shrinks by about 1/2-inch (12.7-cm) or more, which could expose the beets.
Prick the pastry intermittently with a fork or sharp tip of a paring knife so it rises slightly and evenly.
Do not slash the top of the pastry with a knife because it presses down on the pastry and the pastry does not bake evenly.
Do not brush any wash on top of the pastry.
*Using a damp paper towel, wipe inside the pan, above the tarte, removing any flour or ingredient bits that could burn during baking.
4. Baking: Place the pan in the center of the preheated 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6 oven. During the first 15 minutes, the beets begin to absorb heat and cook. The puff pastry is rising now. Each time this tarte is made, it is a bit different.
After 15 minutes baking time, partially turn the pan around, by simply moving the pan’s handle from one side of the oven to the other side for more even baking and rising of the puff pastry. Do not pick up the pan, or remove it from the oven, the pastry would collapse.
Begin monitoring the tart, when it has baked for 20 minutes. It may look done with dry golden brown puffed pastry on top, and can be removed now, or leave it in up to 15 minutes more. *Listen. If you hear the pan’s juices drying out, a crackling sound, or if you even begin to smell a hint of burnt beets, nuts, or goat cheese, remove immediately.
5. After Baking and Plating Roasted Beet Tarte Tatin: Once removed from the oven, allow the tart to cool down for 5 to 10 minutes so the ingredients settle into themselves, making it much easier to transfer to a plate.
*Just before cutting and serving, sprinkle with crumbled bleu cheese. It may soften but should not melt.
Using a flexible silicon spatula, gently and carefully slide it along the sides of the pan releasing any beets that may be sticking. (I go up-and-down with the spatula rather than swirling it around the inside of the pan. Up-and-down tends to leave the beet intact and in place, while swirling or scraping, tends to move them out of place.)
Place a broad plate over the top of the pan, wider than the diameter of the pan. Pick up the handle of the pan, holding the plate over it, and quickly but smoothly turn over. Place the plate down on the counter top with the pan above it and gently lift up the pan. While all the ingredients should fall out onto the puff pastry, do not be surprised if a few obstinate ones remain inside the pan. Using forks or spoons, lift out the beets, nuts, cheese. The pastry shows their indentations so it is easy to put them in the right place.
Allow a few minutes more to cool. Use a very sharp knife or sharp kitchen shears to cut through the tart. Garnish your Roasted Beet Tarte Tatin with crumbled cheese and fresh herbs.