Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Root vegetable tarte tatin
I had a really bad day Friday. The sort where one thing rolls into another and somehow by late afternoon you've managed to lock yourself out of your apartment. Fortunately I have a lovely neighbour, who let me use her phone, and a good friend with a spare set of keys who drove heroically across town in peak hour traffic to my rescue. Fortunately, when I got back into my apartment, this was waiting for me in my fridge.
Tarte tatin is one of my favourite desserts. Root vegetables lend themselves well to this savoury version - sweet potatoes in particular, especially if you can find them in a variety of colours. At my local fruit and veg shop, I was able to get purple and white varieties as well as the familiar orange. Sliced thickly and roasted, along with carrot, parsnip and red onion, they make a gorgeous patchwork of colours, their natural sweetness enhanced by a lick of caramel, offset by chopped herbs and goat cheese and complemented perfectly by a rich, all-butter pastry.
The kindest thing you can do for yourself when you're feeling low is feed yourself well. And ideally, share that food with someone, like I did Friday night with a good friend who came around to cheer me up. Sitting on the grassy headland at Coogee, watching the sun set and the waves break, drinking red wine from plastic cups and nibbling tarte tatin from an alfoil package, the day ended so much better than it began. And that was enough.
Root vegetable tarte tartin
Adapted from the February 2015 issue of Bon Appétit
I flinched at the thought of this being too sweet so dialled down the caramel component by half. I'll transcribe the orginal quantity here in case your inclincation is otherwise. The root vegetables listed are only a guide - you can use whatever combination you like, or even just one sort vegetable instead of a variety. Note that the dough needs 2 hours to chill in the fridge so make sure you allow for that in your prep time. One way around this is to make it ahead of time - it keeps for 3 days in the fridge and up to 2 months in the freezer.
1 medium orange sweet potato, peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium purple sweet potato, peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium white sweet potato, peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium parsnip, peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher (coarse) salt, freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
4 oz goat cheese
1 disk all-butter pie dough (recipe follows)
flour, for rolling out dough
Place a rack in the lower third of oven; preheat to 400 deg F. Toss vegetables with oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer. Roast til golden around the edges and tender, 30-35 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, cook sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a cast iron frypan over medium high heat, swirling pan occasionally til mixture is amber coloured - 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar and a pinch of salt, swirling pan to combine and caramel is evenly distributed over the surface. Scatter herbs over the top.
Arrange vegetables snugly in a single layer on top of the caramel, using smaller carrot and parsnip pieces to fill in any holes. Scatter onion rings and crumble goat cheese over the vegetables.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch round. Drape over vegetables, tucking edges into pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake til crust looks dry, about 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350 deg F and bake til crust is golden brown 15-20 minutes. Let tart cool 5 minutes before inverting carefully onto a large plate.
All-butter pie dough
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher (coarse) salt (or 1/4 teaspoon regular)
1/2 cup (4 oz) butter, chilled, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Pulse flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Pulse in butter til mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Combine vinegar and 1/4 cup ice water in a measuring cup. Pulsing, drizzle in vinegar mixture; pulse til dough just holds together when squeezed (it should still be crumbly).
Turn out dough, shape into disc, wrap in cling film and chill til firm, about 2 hours.