Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Small beetroot & blue cheese tartlets

Me and my never-ending supply of beetroot recipes, eh? Here's an incredibly simple recipe that I made on Monday night, when a computer guy came to fix some issues with our wireless rooter. These were perfect, as he could munch on those while fiddling with the router - they're just a mouthful or two each, you see. I'll be making them again for a movie night with girls on Thursday..

It's best to use those oblong red beets for this recipe, as they slice into even and beautiful thin slices. To bring out the natural earthy sweetness of beetroots, wrap them in foil and roast them rather than boil them. Assembling and baking the tartlets takes just under half an hour, as long as you remember to roast the beets in advance.

I'm using one of my favourite blue cheeses here, Finnish Valio Aura, which is a strong-flavoured blue-veined cow's milk cheese that has been aged for 6 months.

Beetroot & blue cheese tartlets
(Väikesed peedi-sinihallitusjuustu pirukad)
Yields about 20 small tartlets

300 grams ready-made yeasted puff pastry (i.e. Danish pastry)
1 to 2 medium red beets, oblong type
100 grams Valio Aura or other strong-flavoured blue cheese
fresh thyme
egg, for brushing

Wash the beets and wrap in foil. Roast in a pre-heated 200 C oven for about an hour, checking for doneness by piercing a beetroot with a small knife. Cool, unwrap and peel (using your fingers, not a knife). Slice thinly.
Roll the Danish pastry into a rectangle, leaving it about 4-5 mm thick. Cut into small 5 cm/2 inch squares, then press a light circle inside the square (do not press too hard; I used a small shot glass - see photo here).
Place a thin beetroot slice inside each circle, top with a chunk of blue cheese and garnish with thyme leaves. Brush pastry edges with whisked egg.
Place the tartlets on a lined baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated 200-210 C oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown.
Cool and serve.

A year ago I wrote about smoked salmon & spinach quiche that was inspired by my date with K. in Paris earlier last year. Two years ago I mused about the green vegetables I bought at Edinburgh Farmers Market - rather appropriately, as K. and I picked up a lot of wonderful fruit, berries and vegetables at Tallinn Central Market today.


Mia said...

Oh my GOD, those look scrumptious! I agree with you on Aura, it's really an excellent blue cheese.

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Looks absolutely delicious! I love cheese with beets, and I must find some Aura to try as I'm something of a blue cheese addict. Lucky computer man! Mine only gets a cup of tea and some cookies.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Pille, you are driving me nuts with the beets - in a good way. Oh, wait, these little tartlets would be nice with just a little walnut with that blue cheese! Ha, ha . . . I have roasted beets in the fridge.

K and S said...

I wish we could get fresh beets here! these look great!

Wendy said...

Saw these on your Flickr page and have been waiting for the post! They look divine. Imagine the sharp cheese eases the sweetness of the beetroots.
Forgot about Aura cheese. It's wonderful. Something else to add to my Finnish shopping list!

Alanna Kellogg said...

THIS is my next project!!

Ilva said...

This is one brilliant idea Pille! Superb!

Annemarie said...

These look gorgeous, but also sound like they'd be tasty eating - I feel like I only use beetroot in boring ways, and this would certainly overcome that obstacle

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Those little tarts are beautiful! I love the combination of beets and blue cheese in a salad, so I imagine it is just as wonderful on a tart.

Katie Zeller said...

What gorgeous little tarts! I must start using more beetroot! I can actually by it already cooked and peeled so I have no excuse at all...

Violet said...

Those little tart look beautiful. I love beets and blue cheese!

Anonymous said...

Awesome combination! Love the look of the cheese over the vivid color of the beets against the puff pastry.

Anne said...

Very clever! They look great, I have to try these!

Inne said...

Those tartlets look absolutely lovely Pille - they almost make me want to like beetroot.

Chris said...

Pille - these are beautiful! You and your beets - You're killin' a good way!

Jeanne said...

I don't even LIKE beetroot and I feel tempted to make these! I think it's the great visual appeal that won me over...

Pille said...

Deinin - I've only used Aura blue so far, but I've just bought a wedge of Aura Gold, so I'll be tasting it soon:)

Figs Olives Wine - he's a good computer man, so we need to make sure he'll keep coming to our place:)

Tanna - if you like walnuts, then feel free to add them - they'd look nice, for sure!

K&S - I was convinced you use fresh beets in Japan!?

Wendy - definitely pick some up, though there's nice blue cheese in Scotland, too (Ian Mellis stocks many of them!)

Alanna - I'm flattered to have inspired you re: beetroot, considering your beetroot recipe repertoire is much bigger!

Ilva - thank you!

Annemarie - I'm on a mission to find non-boring use for beetroot:)

Lydia - that's a winning combination almost anywhere, I guess!

Katie - I can buy them already cooked & peeled, too. But sometimes I prefer roasted ones, so I cook them myself. Not difficult at all!

Stephen - blue cheese & beets go well together indeed.

Veron - my thoughts exactly!

Anne - oh please, do try these!

Inne - well, give it a go. Maybe you'll find out that you do actually like beetroot:)

Chris - thanks!

Jeanne - sometimes mini versions of controversial dishes are all what's needed to win people over :)