I was at a loss for what to make this month, a lot of the seasonal veg I had already used or didn't think was exciting enough but there was one lingering in the list that I was too afraid to use…beetroot. I've never eaten beetroot and I assumed it would have a horrible dirty, sour taste, but as usual, I was totally wrong. My boyfriends mum just randomly brought it up in conversation and I took that as a sign to use it, and I’m so glad I did! This tart recipe from BBCGoodFood is a little grown-up but it's simple to make and I was shocked at how diverse the flavours are, but we’ll get into that later, we have to make the dish first!
175g Plain Flour
100g Porridge Oats
100g Carrots, grated
3 Large Red Onions (the original recipe used white onions but I had an inkling the red onions would give a sweeter flavour, and I was correct!)
500g Raw Beetroot, peeled and grated
To start with we’re going to make our tart pastry from scratch! Don’t worry, I was scared too as I’ve never made tart pastry before but this one is beyond simple. The recipe said to use a food processor to blend the oats, flour, butter and carrots together; I really do think you could do this without a food processor it's just the consistency is a bit more even if you use one.
So, add your flour, oats and butter into the food processor and whizz until it resembles stiff breadcrumbs.
Now, add in your grated carrot and whizz again until you see the mixture start to clump together to form a loose ball.
Take the pastry out of the food processor and onto a lightly floured surface, make sure you bring all the little bits together until you have a tightly-packed ball.
Gently roll out the pastry into a rectangular shape (if you didn’t know, I'm clearly useless at rolling out pastry and dough into an even shape, but it's ok I just patchwork-ed it back together before cooking and it all stayed together just fine) before laying it in your tart case. Press the pastry into the sides and grooves of the case so that it stays sturdy in the oven. Put the tart in the fridge to chill and harden the pastry.
Now onto the filling! Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160 Fan/ Gas Mark 4. Roughly slice up your onions and add them to a frying pan with a drizzle of oil, have the heat really low and let them caramelise for 20-25 mins.
Take your pastry out of the fridge and add the grated beetroot to the bottom, spread it out so it covers the entire bottom of the tart.
Whisk the eggs and milk in a jug until combined, put the onions on top of the beetroot and then pour the milk and egg mixture over the top, give it time to sink to the bottom before adding more.
Put the tart in the oven and let it cook for 15 mins before lowering the temperature to 160C/ 140 Fan/ Gas Mark 3 and letting it fully cook for 40 mins until the liquid is firm and it resembles a quiche.
I know this doesn't look the most appetising ( I almost didn't want to eat it, I'm not going to lie) but I’ve never tasted anything I’ve made and it tastes as good as this! The caramelised onions are just the right amount of sweet that help to cut through the delicious savoury, earthy flavour of the beetroot and the pastry cooked really well too, it was thick but still crunchy but not in the least bit dry. I cut a slice and served it with rocket/arugula and also spread a little sun-dried tomato pesto on top which I had from another recipe, this tasted so mature compared to what I usually make, I can imagine serving it up as a side/starter at a bbq or even a fancy dinner party (not that I’ve ever had one of those), I would definitely make this again and it’s safe to say beetroot is one of my new favourite foods!
If you didn't know, I've been trying to make my own vanilla extract (it's a 12-month process) and today is one of those days where I update you on all the progress of it! Click here to see the progress and recipe, if you want to try too it's not too late, the extract is alright to use after 3 months so there's plenty of time for you to start and have fresh vanilla extract for your Christmas bakes!