Sweet Onion-Fennel and Beet Tart Tatin

Sweet Onion-Fennel and Beet Tart Tatin
Drizzled with Great Hill Blue Cheese Cream

By Joan MacIsaac, Ruby Chard Catering

For this upside down layered savory tart you can use the following pie dough recipe or you can substitute sheets of puff pastry. Both work great!

Pate Brisee/ Pie Dough (This recipe makes two tart shells)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold butter cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
Approximately 3/4 cup ice cold water, as needed

In the bowl of a Cuisinart, measure flour and salt. Add butter and process on very quick pulses, about 5 - 6 pulses, or until the butter is broken down into even smaller pieces.

Add approximately ¼ cup of ice water and pulse. Drizzle a bit more water, and pulse a few more times. Add the water until the dough comes together. You can stop the processor and feel the dough. If you make it come together in your hand, then it is ready to turn out on your baking table.

Note: the idea is to not over manipulate the dough. You do not want the butter to get warm and pliable.

Place the dough on a board and make a ball. Divide it into two equal portions and form each into a round flattened ball. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least a half hour before rolling out.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, to an even 1/8 of an inch thickness. Try to make the dough round so it can fit over your sauté pan. Transfer the dough to a plate or cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking. You can also freeze the dough in the pie or tart shell for future use.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium sweet onions, peeled and sliced top to bottom into ¼ inch slices
1 large fennel bulb, cleaned, cored and sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and sliced into thin ½ inch rounds (see note below)
2 teaspoon chopped sage
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces Great Hill Blue cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten for brushing the dough

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large 12-inch sauté pan heat the butter on high. Add the onions and fennel and toss to coat. Sauté the onions and fennel for 4 minutes, or until they begin to sweat and loose moisture. Make sure to stir the vegetables every now and then for even cooking.

Add the thyme and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to lightly brown or caramelize.

Add the wine and scrape up any browned pieces off the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid reduce to almost a syrup consistency. You should be able to see some liquid on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat. Add salt and pepper. Adjust your seasonings accordingly.

Sprinkle the beets with the chopped sage, salt and pepper. Lay the beets over the fennel and onion mixture, crumbling the blue cheese between the beet layers. Finish crumbling the blue cheese over the beets.

Lay the chilled tart dough over the cooled sauté pan. Trim any excess dough that falls over the pan edges and let the dough fall naturally over the filling. The dough should be about ½ inch wider than the filling. This extra dough can be tucked into the sides of the filling so that a lip occurs naturally.

After tucking the dough into in the sides of the filling, cut 4 small ½ inch steam holes evenly in the dough.

Brush the tart with the egg wash and bake in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. The dough should be golden brown. Reduce the heat to 350 and continue to cook for 8 minutes or until you see juices bubbling. Remove the tart from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

While the tart is warm, place a round plate over the pan. The tart comes out easily because there is no sugar to brown and stick to the pan. Using potholders, sandwich the pan and the plate with your hands and flip the tart onto the plate. Make sure to keep the handle of the pan to your side. You can then transfer the tart to a flat serving platter or cutting board. Let the tart cool to room temperature before cutting. Cut into wedges and serve with the blue cheese cream on the side. Sprinkle with chopped chives

Roasting Beets

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the greens from the beets, wash the beets and trim any long roots. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a work space. Place the beets on the foil and begin to wrap them. Before they are completely wrapped, add 1 tablespoon of water and then seal tightly. You may need another sheet of aluminum foil. Place the beets on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 60 - 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the beet comes out easily. Open the aluminum foil and let cool. Peel the beets while they are warm, the skin comes off very easily. Plus there are no messy pans to clean!

Blue Cheese Cream
2-3 ounces Great Hill Blue cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Chives for garnishing

Place the blue cheese in a bowl of a Cuisinart and pulse to break it down. Add the heavy cream gradually, scraping down the sides of the bowl as need be. This will make a thick creamy sauce.