This recipe was first published in Edible Houston’s Nov-Dec 2016 issue Feast. It was part of a three recipe spread to celebrate a vegetarian feast for the holidays.

While the carrots make for very festive colors, I’ve made it since using a mix of roots including parsnip, sun chokes, carrots and sweet potato and found it yielded an even more complex taste. If you do decide to go that route, just make sure you have enough cut and roasted vegetable to fit snug and cover the base of your skillet.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5–6 large rainbow carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle (or to taste)
  • 1 handful sage leaves + 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoons raw cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 ounces blue cheese
  • 1 round sheet puff pastry (10 to 11 inch)
  • 10–inch cast-iron skillet

METHOD

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Peel the carrots and cut into rounds (about ½ inch thick). Toss with olive oil, herbs, spice, pepper and coarse salt and spread in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast in the oven until soft (about 20 minutes). Transfer to counter and cool (save the rosemary and sage).

Reduce oven to 400°.

Melt sugar with molasses and honey. Add lemon juice and pour into cast-iron skillet. Arrange carrots to fit snug and divide cheese over the carrots.

Place the round of pastry (about ½-inch wider than the skillet) on top. Tuck in the edges of the dough around the carrots, transfer to oven and bake until pastry is crisp and bronzed (about 20 minutes). Take out and cool for 5 minutes (don’t let the syrup harden). Using a cutting board, turn the tart upside down and let drop down from the skillet (the runnier the syrup, the less likely carrot pieces will remain stuck to the skillet). Crumble rosemary and sage over and serve.

 

NOTES

• Make sure you prepare enough cut carrots to fill each pie pan snug. Better to have more (that you can freeze for another use) than come up short.

• Season the carrots well before roasting.

• You can make this with either shortcrust pastry or puff pastry. Shortcrust pastry will be crumblier and firm; puff pastry will yield a more pliable base when turned over.

• You may want to oil (or butter) the skillet before adding the syrup: it will help prevent carrots to remain stuck to the skillet when you turn it over. Alternatively, use a nonstick pie pan.

• Replace (or mix) carrots with other root vegetables, from beets to sunchokes. Make sure whichever root vegetables you use, they are cooked soft before assembling the tart.

• Not a fan of blue cheese? Use feta, goat cheese or ricotta!