Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Recipe: Roasted Beet and Garlic Tart (Παντζαρόπιτα)

It’s lucky I love colorful food. There’s been nice big bunches of bright red beets in my last few Full Circle Farm CSA boxes.

The best thing about an abundance of beets is being able to experiment. I’ve already written about my savory Roasted Beet and Thyme Risotto, and just completed testing on a wonderful Roasted Beet and Garlic Tart. The tart was inspired by the traditional Greek pairing of beets and skordalia, a strongly flavored garlic sauce.

In the last few months, I’ve made beet tarts with golden beets, chiogga beets, and blood-red beets. I’ve tried various combinations of herbs and spices, and different amounts of onions and garlic. I’ve tested crusts with butter, crusts with olive oil, and crusts with both.

My finished tart recipe layers roasted beets and onions sautéed until sweet, and is seasoned liberally with fresh garlic and thyme. Feta cheese and sour cream add tang, and a crisp, flaky crust balances the filling’s strong flavors.

Roasted Beet and Garlic Tart is equally good served hot or at room temperature (I’ve been known to eat it cold, straight from the refrigerator). As a result, it can easily be made ahead and served as an appetizer or first course.

Roasted Beet and Garlic TartRoasted Beet and Garlic Tart (Παντζαρόπιτα)
Makes one 9-inch tart; serves 4 -6
The tart can be made successfully with any variety of beet. No matter the variety, I always roast beets to concentrate and enhance their flavor. Using a little butter in the crust (filo) isn’t traditional (nor is this tart), but it adds good flavor and flakiness. Olive oil can fully replace the butter, and the crust will be tasty, but slightly tougher. Add more water to make the crust if butter is left out. The dough may also be made by hand. If mixing by hand, make sure the olive oil is evenly distributed in the flour and use a fork or pastry cutter to add the butter.

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22 comments:

Lucy said...

Oh, Laurie.

This is sensational! I've always struggled to tame that sweetness of beets for my savory tastes and this looks like it will do the trick nicely.

And I do love garlic...

Suganya said...

Gorgeous colour, Laurie. I like the crust recipe too. Not too buttery.

Cakelaw said...

A drool-worthy creation - I love beets, and their colour makes this tart so attractive.

Peter M said...

Laurie, you're knocking out alot of firsts...furst time for me, at least.

We both know how delcious roasted beets are, no need to go on about this tart.

Elly said...

Wow. Delicious! I love roasted beets and as I commented on another blogger's site earlier this week, everything is made better with a crust :)

Ivy said...

Laurie, this sounds amazing. Is this your own recipe? Greece is the country of pies and they make pies out of anything but "beat me" I never heard of a beet-pie before.

Laurie Constantino said...

Lucy, I've always thought that beets and garlic are one of those perfect food pairings. You have exactly described the challenge that beets present.

Suganya, the crust started out much more buttery, but a buttery crust just doesn't work with this tart. The flavors didn't work together.

Gaye, I'm very attracted to highly colored food - glad I'm not the only one!

Peter M, I've surprised you twice in a row - I'm thrilled!

Elly, you are so right about crust - doesn't matter how it's made, it improves whatever you pair with it.

Ivy, this is my own recipe, I've been testing various versions for a couple months, and finally got it right with this recipe. I've had pies in Greece made with beet greens, but not with beets. Definitely not traditional, but tastes great nonetheless.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

If you can believe it, I don't think I've ever had beets before. The tart looks mouth-watering intriguing though...

Bellini Valli said...

This tart adds drama to beets as a dish :)

Maryann said...

I just love beets, especially roasted. Your beet tart is a great idea. Good job, Laurie :)

Lydia said...

That tart is a thing of beauty. My beet-loving husband is getting a copy of this post!

Cris said...

Hi Laurie, back from Mardi Gras holidays! It was a very calm one, away from the parades! Love crusts with oil, they always turn out great and the color shouts at us, beautiful!

Kevin said...

That tart looks really good. It sounds nice and sweet and savoury with the roasted beets, sour cream, feta, onions and garlic.

MARIA V said...

never seen anything like this Laurie, how original!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

My daughter loves beetroot in any form and this will be a first for her and me to make.

Lovely color.

Thank you for the inspiration

Nina

Núria said...

I never eat beets, but after reading your post, I must be doing something wrong... everybody seems to love it. I should try it your way! Thanks!

Lisa said...

Stunning! I adore beets and have taken note of this recipe. Thanks so much! I will be making this one for sure.

Laurie Constantino said...

Oh, Mike, if you've never had beets, you're missing a tasty treat. Try them, you might like them!

Valli, I like it - dramatic beets! Good image.

Maryann, roasting beets makes all the difference in the world in their flavor.

Lydia, so glad you liked it and I hope your husband does too!

Cris, glad you had a great time at Mardi Gras, you lucky person. I'm with you on oil-based crusts, especially for savory dishes.

Kevin, so glad you like it!

Maria, it was the beets themselves that inspired me!

Hi Nina, I hope you and your daughter both love it!

Nuria, beets are very tasty!

Lisa, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you, one of my fellow beet lovers!

Johanna said...

looks fantastic - the deep jewelled red of beetroots always draws me in and I love the idea of pairing mint with beetroot

Mansi Desai said...

wow! This is so innovative laurie!:) I loved it, and I have a huge piece of beet lying in my fridge too:)

Laurie Constantino said...

Thanks Johanna! Mint and beets are lovely together.

Mansi, I'm so glad you liked it!

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