Pies + Tarts Savory

beet tartlets with beet greens pesto, goat cheese, and honey on spelt pastry

beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog
This morning the sun is shinning bright; we bundle up and make our way out to a quiet spot. It is still cold here, but Spring is whispering: her voice in the steady drips from gutters and rooftops. My family walks in single file down a well-worn path of snow; it is barely white but we still hear a faint crunch as our boots tread it. The children talk quietly, pointing out fallen trees and cooing birds. I am walking slowly, last in line. My husband walks before me leaving slushy prints, and I spend a few moments trying to walk in them, feeling such accomplishment when my feet fit just right. My children call to me, worried I am too far behind. It’s okay, I answer back, I’m here. As the words leave me I am flooded with  images: faces of our dear ones who no longer have marks to leave in the snow. I feel a rush of panic white-wash me and find I am standing still, so far behind the others. But just then the wind rushes in, and the wind knows me. It slaps against me, so cold, and I am awake again. I look up as it makes its way to the trees; it pushes itself against them, and they bend towards me, they cover me. It is a moment to breathe, to hide, ground myself. Then it is gone. The sky is peering at me again, the sun is so bright, and I find myself squinting. I look down as my son comes to me, his tiny boots in the snow, his soft blue mitten in my hand. He doesn’t speak, but I hear him. The adventure is this way, and he leads me on.
beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog
beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog

beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog

Beet Tartlets with Beet Greens Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Honey on Spelt Pastry

I can only give a guess-tamate on how many tartlets this makes; my children were helping cutting out rounds, and we didn’t make as many as we could have. I’m going to guess you will get about 30-35 two-inch tartlets from one round of dough. If you slice your beets very thin, you should be fine with 3-4 beets for one round, also. I only had a few rounds larger than the 2-inch round, but if you have various size biscuit cutters you can cut them to fit your beets to size.

These little tartlets are delicious! The spelt dough puffs up almost like puff pastry, and it is so flaky and buttery. The beet pesto is slightly bitter, but the goat cheese, beets, and honey round it out nicely, making a delicious bite.

roasting the beets

1 bunch of beets (3-4), greens removed and set aside

Trim the beets and wash. Wrap each beet in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 450 oven for about one hour, until beets are fork tender. Unwrap from foil and let cool. Slice beets into very thin rounds and set aside.

beet greens pesto
This makes much more than is needed, but it can be used on many more things! (Combine it with a little goat cheese and spread on pizza, toss with pasta, add a tablespoon or two to scrambled eggs, spread on sandwiches…) I also didn’t add any garlic here – I didn’t think it was necessary for these tarts. If you are just going to make the pesto for something else, I would suggest a clove of garlic also.

2 cups beet greens, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
good pinch of salt and pepper

Place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chopped and combined well.

goat cheese spread
This should be enough spread for one-round-of-dough-worth of tarts.

6 ounces goat cheese, soft
2-4 tablespoons beet greens pesto

Put the goat cheese in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of pesto. Mix, and add more as desired.

adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
I only used one round of dough; the other can be frozen and kept for up to a month. It freezes very well; just remove from the freezer the night before using and keep in the fridge to thaw.

1 cup spelt flour
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup ice water, as needed

Place the flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk together. Cut the butter into one-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it is the size of small peas. Add 1/4 cup of the ice water to the flour mixture, and mix together with a spatula just to moisten the flour. The dough needs to come together in one lump, with a few small, shaggy pieces. If the dough is too dry to come together, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until it is ready.

Flour your work space, and transfer the dough to it. Fraisage the dough.

to fraisage the dough
[also, a You Tube video here]

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a rectangular shaped pile. Use the heel of your hand to smear the dough against the work surface. Continue to smear until all the dough has been worked. Gather into a pile again, and repeat. Separate the dough into two equal pieces, wrap each piece in plastic and chill for one hour [or up to 3 days]

to assemble and bake
Preheat your oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment. Roll out the chilled dough into a 1/4 inch-thick round. Using a biscuit cutter (I used a 2 inch cutter), cut out rounds and place them on the baking sheets. Bake the rounds for 6-7 minutes, just until the dough starts to brown (it should be very light) and starts to puff up. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Top each round with a teaspoon of the goat cheese spread, and then top each one with a sliced beet, pressing the beet down gently into the spread. Bake 8-10 minutes more, until the pastry edges are light golden brown. Place sheet pans on a wire rack to cool, and then drizzle each round lightly with honey.

beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog

  • Reply
    Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I love spelt flour and actually quite like using it in puff pastry recipes – there is something about its nutty flavour that works so well with all that butter! One of my favourite things to do with beetroots is a beetroot and walnut pesto (with lots of garlic and parsley) – I will have to try your beetroot greens pesto next time!

  • Reply
    Monday, April 1, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Beautiful. …. The spring has finally started smiling. … you have described it so beautifully, I can feel the the cold wound on my cheek as if I’m right there with you. …
    Loving these beautiful and cute beets tartlets. There is something about small mini bites they are always so much more appealing.

  • Reply
    Emma Galloway
    Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Beautiful post love! xx

  • Reply
    Friday, March 29, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Hey Sarah, another lovely creation from your kitchen and that too with beets! I love your write ups. How beautifully you express yourself! Its like being there. Loved your pictures.

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    So very wonderful. It was like I was there with you walking on the snow! You really know how to make one visualize. As for the tartlets, I love any mini, finger food and something with beet root on it always sounds promising to me.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 10:11 am

    So beautifully written, a good reminder to be in the now. I am in love with all things beet, and have been longing to use/try spelt. And fraisage! Fantastic!

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I love that you used the whole beetroot – the greens are underrated! Anything bite sized wins with me.

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

    These are so lovely and cute and I’m sure tasty as well! I love the idea of beet greens pesto–my boyfriend will be very excited to see this, as he is a huge fan of beet greens and swiss chard and things of that nature. And beets and goat cheese are a match made in heaven, I think. Sounds delicious!

    Also, thank you for the tweet about updating my rss feed. I had been missing your posts, so I’m happy I’ve updated it now! The redesign really is gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Your tartlets are just gorgeous! Beets are one of nature’s prettiest things. I am imagining your son’s soft blue mitten in your hand. Winter walks are one of my favorite things.

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Everything about this sounds so wonderful. The combination of beets and goat cheese is one of my favorites, and the beet greens pesto makes everything even better. And all on top of puffy spelt dough! Scrumptious.

    (Also, I feel so silly and not in-the-know for having just learned about the fraisage technique a week or so ago! I’m looking forward to trying it out on an Easter galette.)

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Oh my, poetic is right! Beautiful words, Sarah — such lovely images you create.

    also, PS, I love your new blog design more and more!

  • Reply
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:57 am

    So beautiful, Sarah. Thom is only recently into goat cheese, but has an affinity for beets. Anything beets. I need to make these sweet little tartlets for him. And maybe a cashew cream version for me 😉

    Lots of love to you.

  • Reply
    Helene @ French Foodie Baby
    Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Such beautiful, poetic writing, so inspiring. Slows time down. Being right there with you. Just lovely, thank you so much. (And those tartlets are now on my pinterest recipe to do list :-))

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    These are so lovely–rustic in the very and exactly what I want to be eating, always. I love the balance of flavors and that one round of beet almost perfectly covers the bottom, giving just a peak at the beauty underneath.

  • Reply
    sara forte
    Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    cute and tasty. little bites are just 100x better than their larger alternative. always looking for good app ideas…

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