I love beets (or 'beetroot' as it's known in the UK). They taste like earth. This may well be what puts some people off them, but I adore the hearty soil-tinged flavour touched with a bit of sweetness.
And I'm not alone, when Nicole put this stunner down on the dining table, it was inhaled with glee by family from the age of two to, uh, significantly older than two.
I asked Nicole to share the recipe with me, and you, so we can all put such an eye-catching earthy treat down on our own tables soon.
First, obviously, you need to procure bunches of beets in varying hues. Nicole bought hers at the Portland Farmers' Market, a showcase of vibrant fresh produce.
Red, Golden and Chioggia Beet Tart
Adapted by Nicole from: Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts
All-purpose flour, for dusting
One sheet of prepared pie crust / puff pastry
1 1/2 pounds beets (without greens), a mix of red, golden, and Chioggia
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh goat cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (4 ounces)
3 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
Preheat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Press into a 13-by-9-inch rimmed baking sheet, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Fold the overhang under at the edges to create double thickness sides around the rim of the pan. Press firmly against pan. Pierce bottom of shell several times with a fork.
Line the pressed pastry with parchment; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Put this into the oven to bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
While the pie crust is baking, prepare the beets. Scrub them well to remove any dirt.
Peel them and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Toss beets with olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt until evenly coated. Place beets in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
When the pie crust is out of the oven, remove weights and parchment. Leave to cool to room temperature. Keep the oven on.
Put the beets in and bake them for 20 minutes. You should be able to pierce them with a fork. Don't worry if they are not completely cooked through. They will cook more with the assembled tart.
Turn the oven up to 425 F.
Combine the goat cheese, ricotta, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped basil in a bowl. Season this mix with freshly ground black pepper.
Spread the cheese mixture over the cooled pie crust, all the way to the edges. Layer the beets over the cheese mixture, slightly overlapping in rows. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chopped basil, and then remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with oil.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with a green salad (she usually serves with an Arugula salad with cannellini beans and a simple white vinegar vinaigrette).
Love your Leftovers: This is best eaten warm from the oven, but it works for lunch the next day if you reheat to prevent a soggy crust.