I just can’t shake off that Christmas spirit. As soon as December 1st arrived, the kids opened their chocolate Advent calendar and I started unpacking the Christmas ornaments stored in the attic. I had been eyeing the packed boxes for weeks, patiently waiting for the right moment. I couldn’t wait to meet our old friends again, the ballerina that Mia refuses to part with after every Christmas, the spaced-out monkey, the dog Hudson sadly broke two years ago, whose spirit remains intact ever since. And those cubes, my all-time favourite… For this special occasion, I wanted a to make a festive meal winning me back to childhood days. I made a caramelized beetroot tarte tatin, flavoured with red onion and balsamic vinegar. The deep-red velvet color is so theatrical, perfect for this magical moment . There I was, a plate on my lap with a slice of this tarte, enjoying each bite as the luscious crème fraîche generously coated the beetroots and croustillant pastry. May the holiday season begin!
Caramelized beetroot tarte tatin
800-900 g beetroots/ up to 2 pounds beetroots (approx. medium-sized 6 beetroots cooked and peeled)
1 large red onion (sliced)
2 tbsp brown sugar
40 g/ 3-4 tbsp butter + butter to line the cake pan
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
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.
Crème fraîche (or sour cream) – 1 tbsp per person
A large handful of chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F
Remove the skin from the cooked beetroots and slice in quarters. In a large frying pan, heat the brown sugar. As soon as it’s starting to melt, add the butter and stir. Add the beetroots and red onion, fry (on a medium to high heat) for 10-12 minutes, until they start to caramelize, add balsamic vinegar, reduce for 2 minutes until sauce is thick and glossy. Set aside.
Butter a round cake pan, layer the beetroots so the surface is entirely covered (try to pick out the red onion for the surface layer) – make sure to ‘display’ them nicely as the tart will be inverted. Add the red onions and sauce. 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. (Don’t worry if a few pieces of beetroot fall out-of-place, you can simply re-arrange them like a puzzle).