Autumn vegetable tarte tatin
There are meals that leave a mark, forever engraved in your mind. Years ago, I had lunch at Le Dôme in Paris, a seafood restaurant in the 14th arrondissement. I had coquilles Saint-Jacques (scallops), pan-fried in a lemon butter sauce. But the main attraction was the side-dish, the endives (chicory). They were so delicious, the semi-bitter taste of the vegetable melted in my mouth, catching up with the caramelized butter sweetness. That and a glass of crisp white wine was an ‘inoubliable‘ food moment in my life. Ever since that day, I associate endives with butter. Last Sunday, I was in the mood for a rich savoury tart, so I started with my cherished caramelized endives, and went from there. It was such a pleasure to make this dish, layering slices of chestnuts, topinambours and potatoes with goat’s cheese. It’s very simple to make, and you can improvise with any vegetable and cheese you wish. Nothing beats the excitement of turning the pan upside down. It always makes me feel like a magician in the kitchen. The result is a beautiful autumn bouquet, in the form of a tart.
6 endives (chicory)
2 small shallots (finely sliced)
1 clove garlic (ground)
6-8 small potatoes (cooked and sliced)
250 g/ 1/2 pound chestnuts (peeled, cooked & sliced in half)
5 topinambours/ Jerusalem artichokes (peeled and sliced in ‘rondelles’)
125 g/ 2/3 cup Sainte Maure de Touraine goat’s cheese (or any of your favourite cheese – one that will melt beautifully!)
2 tbsp brown sugar
40 g butter
Salt & pepper (for seasoning)
For the shortcrust pastry:
200 g/ 1 & 1/2 cup plain flour
125 g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and sliced in cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 tbsp cold water
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and mix using your hands until dough is crumbly. Make a well in the center, add egg and water. Mix well until dough is soft and form a ball. Roll dough on a floured surface, adding flour if necessary if dough is too sticky. With a rolling-pin, roll dough large enough to cover the cake pan.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350 F
For the filling:
Cook the potatoes (peeling the potato is optional – if you are using new potatoes I would suggest to keep the skin) in a pot of salted boiling water until tender. Set aside to cool and slice them. Rinse the endives and pat them dry. Slice them in two and peel off a few leaves. In a large frying pan, heat the brown sugar. As soon as it’s starting to melt, add 30 g butter and stir. Place the endives and fry (on a medium to high heat) for 10-12 minutes, until they start to caramelize, season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Add the rest of the butter, fry the shallots for 3-4 minutes, add the topinambours/ Jerusalem artichokes, garlic and chestnuts. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the topinambours/ Jerusalem artichokes start to be tender, season with salt and pepper. Don’t worry if they are slightly undercooked as they will be baked. Add the sliced potatoes, sprinkle with cheese and mix gently.
Butter a round cake pan, layer the endives all over so the surface is entirely covered – make sure to ‘display’ them nicely as the tart will be inverted. Add the rest of the endives, proceed with the rest of the vegetables. Place the pastry sheet on top and tuck in at the edges. Prick the pastry with a fork all over. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out gently. Place on a serving plate. I served this tart with sausages (from Queyrac, a nearby village). It was a perfect combination.
I absolutely love all your posts. the photos and words are beautiful. I wanted to ask you, how do you peel chestnuts. I am having a terrible time of it.
Thanks Renata! Regarding the chestnuts, I use a sharp knife, cutting through the chestnut shell (just by the flesh), cutting almost all around. Then, after roasting (or boiling them), it’s really easy to peel them while they are still hot. Mimix
Merci… I’ll try this recipe as soon as possible… i’m use to make something like this one but only with long echalots, honey, thym and “genievre”… gorgeous too! have a nice wednesday Mimi!
L A U
wonderful recipe,,thank you
Mmmm never thought to make this kind of dish as a tart. Inspiration for a wonderful meal this week. merci !
I always look forwards to your posts. This one is especially fine. Having nut allergies in the family, I will have to leave out the chestnuts. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute?
This is wonderful and will be tried soon! Thank you.
What a great idea! My family love simple, rustic French fare, and your blog has become one of my favourites when I need to look up a recipe. Thank you for the clear instructions, and beautiful photos.
Thanks so much for your kind words! I just came home from a long day in Bordeaux, and reading your comment just made my day. I hope my recipes inspire everyone to cook. I try to make them as simple as possible 🙂 My husband, Oddur, is the photographer – I am very thankful for his work! Mimix
i love your blog, i feel it is very authentic and warm! We regurarly spend our holidays in the area of lacanau, so i am a bit familiar with this region of france. I have a special question to you: french cuisine, which i love by the way, uses a lot of wine in its meals. how did you handle those recipes while pregnant? Did you leave out those meals or have you been more relaxed regarding this this topic? I tend to be more relaxed, but i am wondering if my gut tells me right 😉
greetings from germany, magdalena
Thanks Magdalena! Nice to hear you know the region. Regarding your question, I am fairly ‘relaxed’ about it. A lot of the alcohol evaporates during cooking (not all of course), and most recipes (for 4) usually requires 1 or two glasses of wine. So the amounts are fairly low. However, I wouldn’t go for uncooked wine in food, like a baba au rhum, for example. Here’s something you might find useful: http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol12.htm
Thank you so much for your kind and helpful answer, that list answers my questions pretty well.
Whishing you & your family a wonderful and peaceful Christmas time.
I always enjoy your posts, but this one especially. I spent today making this recipe. Walking through the snow to market, taking my time preparing the ingredients in the kitchen, a cup of tea waiting for it to bake, and finally a delicious meal as dusk set. Thanks so much for the inspiration and helping me to make my own memory with this dish.
Bonjour James! Lovely to hear you enjoyed the tarte. Making it is an enjoyable experience, especially the ‘unmoulding’ part. Have a lovely sunday! Mimi
Hi Mimi, I have been reading you for a while now and love your blog. Such beautiful photos and lovely recipes. This one really caught my eye and I made a fennel-zucchini version of it. Success! I posted about it and linked back to you. Just wanted to let you know.
I love your blog! Great recipe! I didn’t find any topinambours today, I tried parsnips. It was delicious but I can’t wait to try the original recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing all these great things!
Tried another of your recipes and it was again delicious! Somehow, while preparing this, I was a bit dubious about the outcome, but once again, the combination of flavors was spot on!