This tart is a showstopper. For the crust I use leaf lard, which, believe it or not, is lower in saturated fat than butter (not that you should completely avoid saturated fats, as your body needs some, but an overabundance taxes the liver) and makes for the flakiest crust. Also, the savory flavor of lard contrasts with the sweetness of the balsamic, giving the tart an almost meaty taste, especially combined with the texture of grated beets. Of course, butter or olive oil will do if you haven’t come around to lard yet or don’t have any.
I think these would be really nice as mini tartlets for a party. Just press small crust rounds into a mini muffin pan, blind bake with pie weights, and fill. You’ll want to decrease the baking time by about half if you go this route.
I’m a fan of beets as a circulatory and workout recovery aid, so I think it’s wise to incorporate them into your meals at least once a week.
I streamlined the recipe to be quick enough to do on a weeknight. Serve it alongside garlicky sautéed greens (such as the greens from the beets you use here) or an endive salad with mustard vinaigrette.
Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust
Makes 1 pie
For the crust:
150 grams whole wheat flour
50 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 grams leaf lard (butter or olive oil will do as substitutes), chilled (remove from fridge just before using)
1/4 cup very cold ice water
For the filling:
400 grams trimmed beets, then peeled and grated over large holes of grater
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium/large yellow or red onion, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
scant cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish (a 1/4 teaspoon of wasabi paste dissolved in a teaspoon of water is a fine substitute)
pinch salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
150 grams feta, crumbled (double cream smooth is best)
2 eggs, beaten with 1/3 cup creamy almond milk or whole milk
1/4 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped, to serve
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF and make the crust.
Whisk flours and salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle chilled fat over flour and cut in with a pastry cutter, fork or the tips of your fingers. Keep going until flour looks like fine sand. Incorporate cold water, using your hands, being careful not to overwork. Form into a ball and flatten. Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate 15-30 minutes (or up to overnight).
Roll dough between two pieces of parchment until 1/4-inch thick. Remove top piece of parchment and place open side of pie dish onto rolled crust and flip, transferring crust onto pie dish. Remove parchment carefully, pressing crust against pie dish.
Blind bake crust: Get a fresh piece of parchment and place on top of crust, then fill the cavity with pie weights or a pot that fits inside. Bake 10 minutes, then remove parchment and pie weights/pot. Bake another 5 minutes and remove from oven.
While the crust is chilling and baking, begin work on the filling: in a large high-sided sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté a few minutes, until softened and about to brown. Add grated beets and balsamic and sauté until balsamic has mostly evaporated. Add thyme, smoked paprika, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beets are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
Taste to adjust seasoning, then transfer all but 1 cup of filling to baked pie crust. Crumble feta over filling, then add remaining filling. Top with beaten egg and milk mixture and bake 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and, just before serving, top with chopped toasted pistachios.
Adapted from: http://www.sugaretal.com/2014/07/09/beetroot-and-feta-tart/