Roasted Beet and Garlic Tart (Παντζαρόπιτα)
Makes one 9-inch tart; serves 4 -6
Roasted Beet and Garlic Tart pairs classic Greek flavors in an easy recipe that works as an appetizer or main course. The tart can be made successfully with any variety of beet. No matter the variety, I always roast beets to concentrate and enhance their flavor. Using a little butter in the crust (filo) isn’t traditional (nor is this tart), but it adds good flavor and flakiness. Olive oil can fully replace the butter, and the crust will be tasty, but slightly tougher. Add more water to make the crust if butter is left out. The dough may also be made by hand. If mixing by hand, make sure the olive oil is evenly distributed in the flour and use a fork or pastry cutter to add the butter.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small chunks
3 – 5 Tbsp. ice water
2 cups diced onions, 1/4” dice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. dried thyme, crushed, plus 1/4 tsp. for sprinkling on tart
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup feta, crumbled, plus 1 Tbsp. for sprinkling on top
2 Tbsp. minced fresh mint
3 – 4 roasted and sliced beets (see NOTE below)
Make crust: In food processor, mix flour, salt, and olive oil until olive oil is thoroughly incorporated into flour. Add butter and pulse three or four times to break up and distribute butter; when you’re done, the butter pieces should be the size of small lentils. Add 3 Tbsp. ice water and pulse to mix. Pinch together some of dough to see if it holds together. If it doesn’t, add small amounts of water, pulsing to mix, until dough holds together when pinched. Dump dough onto piece of plastic wrap and knead lightly until dough holds together. Shape dough into flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Roll out dough on well-floured pastry cloth until it forms 10-1/2 inch circle. Use rolling pin to lift dough and place it over 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough firmly into sides and bottom of tart pan. Trim dough’s edges so there is just enough to fold over and cover sides of pan with double layer of dough. Prick tiny holes all over bottom crust with fork.Press double layer of aluminum foil into dough (this will prevent it from bubbling up when it bakes). Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes or until crust is set and lightly golden. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
Make filling: Sauté onion, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until onion softens and turns golden. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Spread onion, garlic, and thyme mixture over bottom of baked tart crust.
Stir together eggs, sour cream, half and half, feta, mint, and freshly ground black pepper until they’re thoroughly mixed. Pour egg mixture evenly over cooked onions. Arrange sliced, roasted beets on top of egg mixture. Sprinkle tart with 1 Tbsp. crumbled feta and 1/4 tsp. of crushed dried thyme.
Bake the tart at 350°F for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the eggs are set. Remove tart from pan and serve hot or at room temperature.
NOTE on Roasting Beets: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash beets, cut off greens leaving an inch of stem (don’t cut into beet itself), rub beets with olive oil, and wrap tightly in foil packet (or place in tightly covered baking dish). Bake for 40 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size of beets and how fresh they are. Beets are done if they’re tender when poked with a knife or skewer. Let beets cool, and slip off their skins (wear gloves to protect your hands from staining). Roasted beets can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for about a week.