I’m not going to lie to you, though super easy, this recipe is a wee bit (more than a wee bit) time consuming. HOWEVER…… it’s one of the most beautiful things that you can put on a plate, and it’s fully adaptable to the seasons.
I made individual sized tarts for a vegetable course on NYE with friends, and it’s definitely a show stopper. I especially like that the colours are so bright and vibrant- which I tend to be craving after coming out of a long winter. The recipe is pretty loosey goosey because it will change based on what vegetables you’re using, and what size of tart you’d like to make. The amounts listed here will make 1 full sized pie, or 4 large tarts. You can swap out any of the veg I’ve listed below, for instance, a beautiful summer tart might have green & yellow zucchini, young carrots, fennel, or greens. Basically, anything that you can form into long thin strips. You can also change up the delicious “glue” on the bottom. You want something that will help keep the veg strips in place while you add more, so while I like it with garlic scape pesto, goat cheese, sun dried tomato puree, olive tapenade or even cream cheese would work. I’m also not going to include a pie crust recipe. My baking skills are highly suspect at best, so your options are; your current favourite recipe, a pre made crust that you roll out, or ask the ever wise Google.
Root Vegetable Tart
- 3-4 large carrots (mixed colours)
- 2 large beets (gold or chioggia are best- the reds tend to bleed into the other colours too much)
- 1 large parsnip
- 2 leeks
- *pie crust
- 1/4 cup pesto, goat cheese, etc
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- zest of 1 lemon finely diced
- sprinkle of thyme
Wash all vegetables and cut into thick sticks so that when you peel them, the strips are not higher than the height of your pie crust. With a vegetable peeler (or a mandolin on the thinnest setting) peel all the “sticks” into separate piles of very thin strips. (the leeks just need to be cut into strips rather than peeled) Drizzle each pile with oil and work them around gently so all the pieces have a thin coating, and season with a bit of salt & pepper.
Pre-bake your pie crust for a few minutes at 300, just until it gets the very lightest shade of golden (not fully cooked). Use dried beans or pie weights inside the crust while you pre bake it. This is called blind bake and the weight of the beans keeps the crust nice and flat rather than puffing up and making the uneven surface more difficult to fill properly. Cool pie crust and then add 1/4 cup of pesto or whatever you’re using, smoothing it out so it covers the entire bottom of the crust. **Sprinkle with lemon zest if using.
Alternating the colours, start wrapping the strips around each other, overlapping each new strip slightly to help hold it all together. Once you have a good size circle of wrapped veg (just slightly larger than a twoonie or so) place it in the center of the shell, pressing it into the pesto on the bottom. Now, just keep wrapping around that circle until your crust is full, right up to the edges, as tight and densely as possible. Season with salt & pepper **and thyme if using, and bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes until the crust edges are deep golden brown. Because the vegetables are so thinly peeled, they will be fully cooked despite the short cooking time.
Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting to serve, and VOILA! You have a masterpiece on your table. Perfect as an entree with a side salad, or as the vegetable side to whatever protein you’re serving. Trust me, the oooo’s and ahhh’s that you will get when you lay that one down in front of people will make all of that tedious vegetable wrapping all worth it!
Get out and love some local food, and I’ll see you all next Monday!