Beetroot, shallot + ricotta tart

This recipe features in the January edition of Hampshire Life magazine with wine matches from The knackered Mother’s Wine Club.

Be kind to your body after the excesses of Christmas. Instead of punishing it with a crash diet; nourish it with whole grains, fresh vegetables and organic dairy. I was so excited when The Cheese Stall started selling Laverstoke Park’s buffalo milk ricotta. After eating my own body-weight in cannoli, I came up with this recipe. With its biscuity wholemeal base and savoury cheesecake interior, it makes a cracking weekend lunch. If faffing with vegetable roses isn’t your thing, just cut the beetroot into wedges instead – it will still be delicious.

Beetroot, shallot + ricotta tart

Serves 8

  • 150 g salted butter
  • 300 g stoneground wholemeal flour
  • 6 medium beetroot, peeled
  • 10 long shallots, peeled and halved horizontally
  • 1 garlic bulb, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • a small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 extra yolks, beaten
  • 300 g buffalo milk ricotta
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  1. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper, then add just enough cold water to bring it all together into a pliable dough – it was about 100 ml for me.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use it to line a 25 cm (10 inch) round loose-bottomed tart case, trimming it a little taller than the sides. Chill for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180 fan) / gas 6. Wrap the beetroot individually in foil and transfer to a baking tray. Put the shallots and garlic cloves into two large squares of foil and add a few sprigs of thyme. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, then scrunch up the foil to make loose parcels.
  4. Bake the vegetable parcels for 35 minutes, then open out the foil on the shallots and garlic and return to the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, bake the pastry case for 30 minutes or until very crisp, like an oatcake.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (150 fan) / gas 3. Beat the ricotta until smooth, then gradually incorporate the beaten egg until smooth. Slip the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash to a paste. Beat the garlic paste into the ricotta mixture with the lemon zest and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and scrape it into the pastry case.
  7. Thinly slice the roasted beetroot with a mandolin. Lay a few slices in a row with the edges overlapping, then roll up to make a rose. Repeat to make several roses of different sizes. Push the beetroot roses and shallots into the ricotta filling and tuck the rest of the beetroot slices in and around.
  8. Bake the tart for 50 minutes or until set in the centre. Serve warm or chilled.

Featured producers:

Stoneground wholemeal flourWinchester City Mill

Buy it from independent shops in and around Winchester

Buffalo ricotta Laverstoke Park

Buy it from The Cheese Stall at markets across Hampshire

BeetrootHarroway Organic

Whitchurch, 01256 895346

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *