I made this Root Vegetable Tart last weekend, and it slayed me. Apparently it slayed Mr. Fox, too, because he suggested that I make the tart again, for guests at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. What’s not to love about root vegetables that are baked between a sweet bed of caramel and a buttery blanket of French pastry dough? Unmolded onto a plate, the tart shimmers like Christmas lights. Here’s the step-by-step recipe:
The recipe for this Root Vegetable Tart is adapted from Bon Appetit. I tweaked the recipe just a bit to make it more cook-friendly. Where Bon Appetit used two dishes, I used one. Your dish washer will thank me later. Also, I increased the caramel ingredients a tad in order to give the tart a remarkable mirror-like sheen.
Root Vegetable Tart: The Pastry and Veggies
The recipe starts with a glorious disk of Pate Brisee — French pastry dough. Click here for my easy (yes, easy) recipe. Wrap the dough in plastic, and pop it in the refrigerator.
While the dough is chilling, peel and cut into 1/2-inch slices each of the following root vegetables:
One medium-size sweet potato…
A medium-size white (or ‘Yukon Gold’) potato…
One small(ish) turnip…
A particularly handsome carrot…
And a parsnip in a pear tree. I mean, just a parsnip. Average size.
Then peel a medium-size onion…
And cut it into 1/4-inch half moons.
Dramatically fling the sliced veggies onto a baking sheet, and give ’em a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of salt and pepper.
Toss the veggies until all are slick with oil, then arrange them, as much as is humanly possible, in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast the veggies at 400°F until fork tender and lightly caramelized — about 30 minutes. The turnips won’t color at all. Turnips are stubborn brutes.
Root Vegetable Tart: Making the Caramel
While the veggies are cooling, make the caramel! Tip 1/2 cup sugar into a large non-stick oven-proof skillet (mine measures 12 inches across the top), and then set the skillet over medium heat.
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons water…
And then cook, swirling the pan from time to time, until the sugar melts and turns a lovely shade of amber — about 7 minutes. Cut off the heat, and immediately swirl in a nice pinch of salt…
And 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar (or white wine vinegar).
I FORGOT THIS NEXT STEP: Sprinkle some chopped rosemary leaves and some slivered sage leaves over the caramel.
Arrange slices of sweet potato and white potato in some semi-decorative fashion in a single layer above the caramel. Use the small ends of carrot and parsnip to fill in gaps.
Then add, rather capriciously, the remaining slices of sweet and white potato, turnip, and parsnip. Strew on the onions.
Baking and Unmolding the Root Vegetable Tart
Roll the pastry into a 12-inch-diameter round…
Poke 5-6 steam vents in the center…
And then lay the dough over the vegetables, and tuck in the sides. My sides look wonky because…taking pictures.
Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking until the crust dries and colors — about 20 minutes. Use a mitted hand to transfer the tart to a wire rack. I say “mitted hand,” because it’s very easy to forget the skillet handle is red-hot from the oven. Ouch.
Let the tart cool for just 5 minutes. Then set a large plate over the skillet…
Invert the two, and voila — you’ve got a Root Vegetable Tart!
If you forgot — as I did earlier — to add the rosemary and sage leaves to the caramel, don’t despair! You can add them right now, while the tart is still warm and the herbs will stick to the caramel. As you can see, I added only rosemary. The sage in my garden was battered by snow this morning. It did not look attractive enough for use.
In closing, I’ll just say that if you actually enjoy cooking, you might like to add this tart to your garden-tart repertoire. And are you thinking what I’m thinking? You could omit one of more of the root vegetables in order to create your own, unique boutique tart. How ’bout an all-sweet potato tart? Or an all-carrot tart? Or a carrot-onion-turnip tart? The possibilities are nearly endless.
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Here’s the printable:
Root Vegetable Tart
- 1 recipe French pastry dough chilled
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 medium white or 'Yukon Gold' potato peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 small-to-medium turnip peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1 parsnip peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1 medium onion (any color) peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
- generous tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
- 3-4 large sage leaves, thinly sliced
- Adjust oven rack to the lower third position; preheat oven to 400°F. For easy clean up, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator.
- Put the prepared vegetables on the baking sheet, drizzle them with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Then arrange in what approximates a single layer. Bake in the preheated until the veggies are fork tender and slightly caramelized -- about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- While the veggies are cooling, tip the sugar and water into a large non-stick oven-proof skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat, and let cook, while swirling the skillet occasionally, until the sugar melts and turns amber-colored. Immediately remove from heat, and swirl in a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Scatter the rosemary and sage leaves over the caramel.
- On top of the caramel, arrange vegetables (omit onions for now) in some decorative fashion in a single layer. Use small ends of carrot and parsnip to fill in the gaps. Then toss, in no particular fashion, the remaining sweet and white potatoes, turnips, and etc. over the first vegetable layer. Finally, strew the onions over the top.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a 12-inch-diameter disk. Poke 5-6 steam vents in the center of the disk. Then drape the disk over the vegetables, tucking the edges down into the caramel (don't be too fussy with the "tucking" job). Bake in the 400°F oven (again, on the lower-third rack) for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350°F, and continue baking until the crust colors -- about 20 minutes.
- Remembering to use an oven mitt to protect your hand from the red-hot handle, transfer the skillet to a wire rack. Cool for just 5 minutes.
- Set a large plate or round platter over the skillet. Invert to unmold the tart. Use a pastry cutter to divide the tart into 8 wedges. Serve hot or warm. Leftover -- if they are any -- are delicious cold from the fridge!