I’m Clare, and I’m writing this recipe from my 10 days of isolation because of Covid.
I’ve got limited supplies, including a delivery of local seasonal vegetables, which gives me a great opportunity to cook some springtime recipes!
This tart uses one of my favourite vegetables – beetroot – which, despite being a cold season classic, can be combined with lighter flavours to give a sunny springtime feel to the dish.
For me, the cornerstone of the tart is the pastry. I enjoy making my own shortcrust pastry and it’s actually really easy!
This recipe explains how I made this tart, from isolation – but you can add or remove as you like, especially from the filling!
Vegan beetroot and almond tart
200g wholemeal flour
about 50g of olive oil (or butter)
3 small raw beetroots (or 1 huge beetroot, etc)
two handfuls of almonds (probably about 80g)
a tasty herb, I recommend lemon balm (melissa officinalis), mint or parseley (I used some leaves that tasted a bit like a lemony parseley which I found in my veg box)
Cheese, if you like – I’d recommend goat’s cheese, but I made it without
First, wash the beetroots, chop off any the roots and shoots and put them into a pan of boiling water. Don’t chop the beetroots into chunks, because then their flavour will seep out into the water. They need to boil for about 45 minutes if they’re small but it could take more than an hour if they’re big!
While the beetroots are boiling, chop the almonds and herbs and prepare the pastry. You might want to have a break, or a cup of tea, to make all the timings line up. Tip the flour into a big bowl with a bit of salt. Add the oil (or butter – if it’s butter, chop it into little cubes first) and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture loosely resembles breadcrumbs. Then add water very slowly, taking time to mix it in with your fingers after every dribble you add until you get a soft, elastic dough. You should be able to amalgamate all the mixture, but if it gets sticky, then you’ve added too much water (don’t panic – just put a bit more flour in to balance it out.
Turn on the oven to about 180oC, and while it’s warming up, roll the dough out until it’s a bit bigger than the base of the tin you’re planning to bake it in. I didn’t have a rolling pin so I squashed it with my hands – but it’s best to keep it even. Then place it in the tin with little walls going up the sides. Bake it for 10-15 minutes, until you can see that it looks drier and partially cooked.
Hopefully, your beetroots will be ready while the dough is in the oven – it should be easy to pierce them with a fork. When they’re ready, take them out and peel them. You might want to run them under cold water first. If they’re fully cooked, the skins should slide off really easily and you might not even need a knife.
Chop the peeled beetroots into little pieces and mix them with your herbs and a bit of salt.
Put the beetroots and herbs into your baked pie crust, and then sprinkle the chopped almonds on top. You could add a layer of crumbled or grated cheese – maybe goat’s cheese, but it’s up to you – under the almonds.
Put the tart back in the oven and bake it for another 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is crunchy. If it’s stuck to the tin when it comes out, try letting it cool for a couple of minutes before prising it out – it might contract as it cools and become un-stuck. I’d recommend serving it with a drizzle of olive oil.