This was so amazingly easy and so emmazingly tasty!   The sweet earthy flavour of the roasted beetroot combined with sharp, creamy goat’s cheese and crisp, buttery pastry with just the right amount of chewiness made this the perfect starter to a long, languishing dinner party.  The majority of it was made ahead so all I had to do was bung it in the oven when my guests arrived.  I love it when a plan comes together!!

Ps:  perfect for a light lunch too!

Prep time:  15  Minutes                    Cooking time:  45-50  Minutes                $  Low Budget

Serves 4

20gm of butter

2 large Beetroot, peeled and sliced into 12 even wedges (6 each half)

1 tbs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

4 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry*

Melted butter for basting

Sea salt and pepper

100gm of soft goat’s cheese, sliced into 4 even rounds

2 tbs of toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

50gm of baby rocket leaves

Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Melt the butter in a medium sized frypan and add the beetroot wedges.  Sprinkle over the sugar, vinegar and thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper and toss the pan well so that the sugar dissolves and the beetroot is coated.  Either cover the pan tightly with foil or transfer to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the beetroot is just tender.

I used 4 x 12cm non-stick ramekins but you could use a large pie dish if you prefer.  Remove the beetroot from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to the ramekins.  Arrange the beetroot pieces in a fan like fashion (6 each ramekin) and drizzle over any remaining syrup left over.  The tarts can be prepared ahead up until this point.  Don’t worry about the beetroot being cold as it will reheat in the oven once the pastry is put on.

In a small bowl, toss the rocket leaves with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Using a 12-13cm diameter bowl, place it face down on a sheet of puff pastry.  Run around the outside with a sharp knife and peel the circle of pastry away from the non-stick paper.  Place the pastry round over the top of the arranged beetroot and tuck the sides in nice and snug.  Repeat with the remaining pastry.  Brush the top of the pastry with a little melted butter and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden, crisp and puffy.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before placing a serving plate on top.  Use a tea towel so that you don’t burn your hands and quickly, but carefully flip the plate so that when you lift the ramekin, the tart is beetroot side up.  Top each tart with a piece of goat’s cheese and a smattering of toasted walnuts and place a nice, glistening pile of rocket leaves beside it.  Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic around the plate and serve immediately.

*  You won’t need all the pastry but the leftover can be used to make little puffy croutons that are perfect with a bowl of soup or stew……just an idea!!