Happy February! ‘Tis the season to talk about our favorite pink vegetable. An unlikely Valentine is the brilliant beet, but a sweeter treat you’ll never meet. (Rhyming intended.)
Or how about this one…
Roses are red, Violets are blue,
If you cook me some beets,
All my dreams will come true.
My friend Isabella (Find her on Instagram @bellas_tapiokery) actually did cook me some beets this past week. She makes Brazilian-style tapioca crepes – chewy, crispy, and delightful- with the most delicious fillings. The prettiest are those in which the tapioca flour has been rehydrated with beet juice. Check it out! (By the way, the crepes pictured below have savory fillings, but she also makes a beet crepe filled with bananas and homemade brigadeiro – a sauce made from condensed milk and chocolate powder and MAN ALIVE.)
Reasons to love beets: they’re high in vitamins such as iron and Vitamin C, they’re versatile, they have a vibrant, naturally deep pink color (have you ever seen a candy beet? Even prettier, and more delicious than sugary V-Day candy.)
Alright, I’m really done waxing romantic now. Fortunately for you, my part in this post will be short(ish) and (if you’ll forgive my puns) sweet. I have yet to make a beet pie, but my friend Rosemary recently left a comment letting me know that she’d made a “chocolate beetroot* tart with chili maple sauce” and I just immediately felt that it was imperative for all of us to know more. I’m thrilled to introduce Rosemary; she’s here as a special guest to tell us the tale. If you enjoy her writing (which I’m fairly certain you will) you can also dive into her decidedly lovely blog, Cheap and Cheerful Life.
Take it away, Rosemary!
*P.S. Here’s where Beet turns into Beetroot, your first clue that Rosemary is not from the U.S. of A.
Hello readers of Jessica’s blog! Nice to meet you ☺ and a massive thank you to Jessica for inviting me to be a guest writer on her blog.
I first met Jessica in South Africa in 2008, which is exactly where you’d expect an Australian and an American to meet! If I had known she had a thing about pies I would have talked to her about milk tart, a South African specialty I had tried the week before. As it was, it wasn’t until she posted a link to this blog on Facebook that I found out about her pie fascination.
I had made mention to Jessica about the chocolate beetroot tart in a comment on one of her most recent posts – and as you would expect from a true pie aficionado, she enquiredfurther.
But hang on – we’re talking about pies – and this is a tart – and what’s the difference anyway? Well, I thought about it, and I concluded a pie has a lid and a tart does not. Which seemed to work until I remembered about Banoffee Pie, which has too much cream on it to have a lid – so there went that theory. (Note from Jess: Click here if you aren’t sure what Banoffee Pie is!)
But pies always have a story, and tarts do their best to be even more dramatic, and so it is with the chocolate beetroot tart. So without further ado, for your viewing pleasure, is its story:
“The stolen pie recipe”
Because, I am actually a recipe thief, as I have confessed in this blog post.
Here, in Australia, we have the Melbourne Cup – flagged as “The race that stops the nation”. It is akin to the Kentucky Derby (which is the only American horse race I know of) and has a mere $AUD 4 mill prize, so I guess it’s a big deal!
Over time, it has evolved into an event where lots of people go out to lunch, (despite not living in Melbourne), have a little flutter and watch the race. At work, we do too (and who am I to refuse a free lunch?). We venture out to a nearby hotel with our fancy hats, armed with our new vocabulary of ‘trifecta’, ‘lengths’, ‘noses’ and other suitable words for the day.
A few years ago at this particular luncheon, I had a delicious tart for dessert – chocolate beetroot tart with chili maple sauce, Chantilly cream and fresh raspberries. Are you drooling yet? I sure was!! It was so delicious.
And then in a fit of madness I thought, “Hey, I wonder if I could make this tart.”
So I contacted the hotel to ask if it was possible to have the recipe … pretty please with raspberries cherries on top.
A few days later a scanned copy of the handwritten recipe came my way. Because believe it or not, chefs are chuffed when someone loves their recipe so much that they ask for a copy. I’ve asked a few times for a recipe and it’s always been a yes. Champions!
It took a little while for an appropriate occasion to arise that befitted such a fancy tart, but finally, the recipe and I met one another in the kitchen Christmas 2018. After all, it felt like it should be a very fancy occasion kind of tart. Nobody at lunch guessed the mystery ingredient, partly because I didn’t have a suitable puree-ing thing, so the beetroot ended up shredded, somewhat like desiccated coconut, rather than silky smooth!
Take two last year was more successful in terms of getting the right texture, so having signed it off as a success, I will leave it to rest for a little while. You’re more than welcome to read further of my experiments in life at “Cheap and Cheerful Life”. After all, there are lots more exciting recipes to try. ☺
But for now, for this to be a proper Peace-of-Pie post, I should give you a summary of the tart’s content, and bid you farewell.
Chocolate beetroot tart: a chocolate crumb biscuit base, chocolate ganache combined with beetroot puree, reduced balsamic vinegar and infused chillies, topped with a maple syrup and infused chili sauce. Served with Chantilly cream and fresh raspberries.