Nothing like plunking a few dice of freshly cooked beets and a crumble of goat cheese into a pastry tart to watch the colour slide and ebb through an egg custard creating these beautiful little appetizers that are almost too pretty to eat.
But you will gobble them up for they pop on the palate even louder than their good looks show off on the platter.
This is super easy to prepare if you use frozen pie tartlets.
It’s also easy to make your own dough in a food processor. I like to keep a chunk or two of dough on standby in the freezer, ready to defrost and be at the ready.
David is our in-house pastry chef. He has the light touch and uber patience needed to create a flaky pretty crust. He also gets the mechanics of lattice work for our Thanksgiving apple pies and stencils actual maple leaves on top.
Wrong season. We are celebrating summer now and these tartlets require different pastry skills. David rolled out the dough to 1/8thinch thinness, then cut circles using a small bowl. Each circle is dropped gently into the muffin cup then folded into a rustic round. No crimping. No braids. It helps if each tart has a little ledge, climbing up and over the muffin cup’s edge to hold in all the contents.
Once you have the pastry ready to fill the tartlets, this project’s flavour is all about the beets and fresh herbs. Beets are best if you can yank them out of your garden, clean under the garden hose then submerge in hot boiling, salted water. Unlike a stored beet, garden fresh will cook up in half the time.
Please remember, basil is a beet’s best friend. I like to tuck a chiffonade into every beet salad I compose and was pleased with how complimentary it is as both an ingredient and garnish for these tartlets.
Beet, Basil and Goat Cheese Tartlets
If making pastry is not your “jam”, use frozen pastry tart shells instead. These pretty little things are perfect for summer appetizers al fresco or weekend brunch.
All Purpose Food Processor Pastry
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
½ cup ice water, approx.
3 small beets, boiled until tender, cubed
150 g goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup homogenized milk
2 TBS chopped fresh chives
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Combine flour with salt in food processor and pulse to mix. Add butter and whirl on high for 15 seconds or until butter is the size of peas. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add water. Whirl on high until dough clumps. Transfer to a large piece of waxed paper. Form the crumbly dough into a firm mound, about 8 in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hrs before use.
Preheat oven 425 F
Whisk together eggs, milk, chives, basil, salt and pepper in a 4 cup liquid measure.
Divide the chilled dough in half and return remaining half to fridge, wrapped well.
On a lightly floured counter roll out the dough. Use an empty bowl with a 4 ½ inch diameter to cut rounds. Gently nestle each round into a muffin cup. Divide beets and goat cheese equally among the tarts. Pour in egg mixture.
Bake in middle of the oven for 20-25 min or until interiors have puffed and pastry is lightly golden.
Serve warm, garnished with fresh basil and edible flowers like nasturtium, chive or borage.