This puff pastry tart is packed with flavour and is also vegetarian. You can either make your own pastry or use ready-rolled puff pastry. By switching the pastry and cream cheese to dairy-free it can be vegan too! The flaky pastry, the creaminess of the beetroot cream cheese and the sweet caramelised carrots are a gorgeous flavour combination. Perfect for slicing and serving with a side salad as a light and tasty lunch.
For the pastry
200g/7oz strong white bread flour
1 tsp fine salt
200g/7oz unsalted butter
100ml/3½fl oz cold water
Or 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
For the filling
8 coloured carrots
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100g/3½oz cooked beetroot
180g/6½oz cream cheese
Fresh thyme and rosemary
- To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt. Roughly break the butter into chunks and toss into the flour to coat. Gently rub the butter into the flour – you need to see chunks of butter. If you are using ready-rolled puff pastry, skip to step 6.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and, using a roundbladed knife, add three-quarters of the water and mix well. Keep adding the water bit by bit until you have a firm dough. Cover the bowl with a clean damp tea towel and pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle using your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a large rectangle (you will see streaks of butter) then fold the top third down to the centre and the bottom up to cover the top as you would to fold a letter. Use the rolling pin to shape each side so it stays neat.
- Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the above process. Wrap in cling film or parchment and chill for 20 minutes.
- Repeat the process three or four more times in the same way to build up the layers and chill until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) Gas 4.
- Lightly scrub the carrots, place whole in a baking dish along with the honey and balsamic vinegar and toss well. Roast for 30–40 minutes until the carrots are tender but still have their colour, and leave to cool. One cooled, cut the carrots in half lengthways.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven) Gas 7. Roll out the chilled pastry onto a sheet of baking parchment to a rectangle approximately 35 x 25cm/14 x 10in, or simply unroll the readyrolled sheet onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Score a border around the edge of the pastry approximately 1 inch in, being careful not to cut all the way through.
- Prick the centre base with a fork and bake for 8–10 minutes until lightly golden, pushing the middle down with the back of a spoon. Turn the oven down to 200°C (180°C fan oven) Gas 6.
- Blitz the cooked beetroot in a food processor and mix well with the soft cheese in a bowl. Spread the beetroot cream cheese over the base and lay the carrots on top. Scatter with a little chopped rosemary and thyme and bake for 12–15 minutes until golden brown.
Making rough puff pastry from scratch is much quicker than proper puff pastry, but it still takes a lot of hands-on time. It is well worth the effort as it’s buttery and flaky, so if you have the time, give it a try! There is no shame in buying a sheet or block of ready-made pastry though. It’s readily available from most supermarkets frozen or chilled.
Photograph © Ben Fecci
Seasonal bakes and tips on growing your own produce by former The Great British Bake Off contestant, Michelle Evans-Fecci
Former Bake Off contestant Michelle was known on the show for her flavoursome, colourful bakes and for championing seasonal, locally sourced and homegrown produce. Whether it's a simple loaf for breakfast or a striking showstopper cake for a celebration, she loves using seasonal food to create tasty recipes for the whole family to enjoy.
The Seasonal Baker is a collection of recipes straight from Michelle's kitchen to yours - from quick-and-easy bakes to others that are a bit more challenging - with an emphasis on special events such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Inside you will find delicious, vibrant recipes such as:
- Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding
- Truffle, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia
- Smokey Pulled Pork Sausage Rolls
- Butternut Squash, Feta, Maple and Pecan Cups
- Vanilla, Rhubarb and Raspberry Celebration Cake
Michelle grew up on a farm and learned from a young age how to grow vegetables and the basics of cooking and baking. She now lives in the beautiful seaside town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire with her husband Ben, their teenage son Alfie, little whippet Rosie, and two cheeky hens. As a family they love to be out in the garden where they grow a lot of the fruit, vegetables and herbs that Michelle uses in her everyday cooking. The book shows just how easy and rewarding it is to grow your own produce.
As well as delicious bakes for all abilities, The Seasonal Baker contains hints and tips on ways of being thrifty with food. There is something for everyone, from what to plant, when to plant it and when to harvest - whether you have access to a plant pot, window box, balcony, raised bed or garden veg patch with intuitive, creative photos to help.