A recipe for elegant and surprisingly uncomplicated filo tartlets with beetroot and three different types of cheese. I know there are some foodbloggers who have declared their dislike of beetroot, but I really think this vegetable deserves a place on our tables. It is low in calories, high in minerals (Ca, Mg, Ph, K) and vitamins, it helps digestion, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and is generally good for you. And it tastes lovely. I've had several recipes on this blog using this vegetable - beetroot & goat's cheese sandwiches, beetroot & garlic salad, beetroot & feta salad. Hey - I even managed to incorporate beetroot into my Paper Chef pudding entry! I'm already looking forward to eating lots and lots of bortsch during the coming winter back home in Estonia.
Back to the tartlets now. The filling of these beetroot tartlets are inspired by a recipe I spotted in the first book by a young Estonian model & food writer (there's a combo, eh:), Anni Arro, called Salatid, pirukad, suupisted (or 'Salads, pies and nibbles'). Since making beetroot & goat's cheese sandwiches in February, I had been thinking of using the same ingredients again. Anni provided a lovely recipe for a puff pastry tart with beetroot & feta, where the beetroot had been marinated in balsamic vinegar. I used this idea for the filling of these dainty filo tartlets. I made 36 tartlets using three types of cheese - feta (as in Anni's recipe), goat cheese (as in my sandwich) and blue cheese. I liked the strongly-flavoured blue cheese tartlets most. And for canape queens - these would also work well when made in mini muffin tins.
And yes, I'm no longer intimidated by filo dough. Thanks, K!
Filo tartlets with beetroot and cheese
(Click on the photo to enlarge. Starting from the left: tartlets with blue cheese, tartlets with feta, tartlets with soft goat cheese)
6 filo sheets
olive oil, for brushing
5-6 small to medium boiled beetroots, quartered and sliced
2 shallots, chopped finely
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme leaves
Cheese of your choice:
blue cheese (I used Dolcelatte)
For the beetroot filling:
Mix beetroot and onion, season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mix lightly and put aside.
Lightly oil a 12-hole muffin tray.
Work with one filo sheet at a time, keeping the rest covered to keep them from drying.
Working from the shorter end, brush 1/3 of the filo sheet with olive oil, then fold over, brush with olive oil again, and fold the last third over. You'll end up with three layers.
Cut into 6 squares, press each three-layered square into a muffin pan hole.
Do the same with the next filo sheet to fill the other six muffin holes.
Now spoon a scant Tbsp or less of beetroot filling into each filo basket. Don't overfill them, as filo baskets are quite fragile!
Dot a piece or two of cheese of your choice on top. (I sprinkled some dried oregano on the feta-filled tartlets).
Bake at 200 C for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and filo is golden brown.
Gently remove the tartlets from muffin tray and leave to cool on a metal rack.
Repeat the process with the other 4 filo sheets, alternating the cheese, if you wish.
PS These can be made a day in advance. Keep covered in the fridge, and heat gently in the oven just before serving.
UPDATE: 13.8.2006 - I made another batch of these, to take along as a snack to the "Film Festival Under the Stars" at The Mound, Edinburgh, last night. I used my 24-hole mini muffin tin, and cut each folded filo sheet into 15 squares. That yielded 90 mini tartlets with beetroot and blue cheese - all savoured while watching Breakfast at Tiffany's and Diamonds are Forever under the dark August sky. To drink: a free Ginger Grouse: The Famous Grouse Finest Scotch Whisky with fresh lime and lengthened with Fentiman's Ginger Beer. Mmmmmm....