It looks like a sweet. But eats like a savory.
That’s exactly what this lovely “Carrot Tarte Tatin” is.
It’s from the new cookbook, “My Little French Kitchen” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy, by Rachel Khoo. The cookbook author, who also has starred on cooking shows on BBC2 and The Cooking Channel, chronicles her travels through France through these rustic recipes that capture the ease with which Europeans cook and entertain at home. They always make it look easy, don’t they? Enjoy everything from “Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Cod” to “Red Wine Roast Chicken” to “Chocolate and Creme Fraiche Tart.”
Unlike a classic apple tart tatin, this carrot one is not drenched in sweet caramel syrup. Instead, it lets the purity of the carrots shine through with just a touch of honey, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme to awaken their flavors even more.
The only changes I made to the recipe were to use an 8-inch round tart pan, because I didn’t have a 7-inch one that was called for. The recipe neglected to mention you should defrost the frozen puffed pastry before rolling it out, to make it ever more pliable, so I added that step into it.
And do use only all-butter puff pastry. To use any other would just be a crime.
I enjoy carrots in most any preparation. But to eat them atop layers of crisp, buttery pastry makes me love them all the more.
Carrot Tarte Tatin
(Serves 4 to 6 as a starter)
8 to 10 medium carrots (or 5 large, halved lengthwise)
2 tablespoons butter
Leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
Good pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon runny honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
9 ounces puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator for an hour or so
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the carrots if they have thick skins; otherwise, just wash them well and pat dry.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over low heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the carrots and thyme. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning the carrots so they brown all over. Remove the carrots from the heat, sprinkle with the salt, and stir in the honey and vinegar so that the carrots are well coated. Arrange them in the bottom of a 7-inch (or 8-inch) round tart pan.
Roll out the puff pastry between two sheets of parchment until it is 1/4-inch thick and cut out a disk that is just a little bigger than the tart pan. Place the pastry on top of the carrots, and tuck in the edges. Cut a small cross in the middle (to let the steam from the carrots escape during cooking).
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden. Place a large serving plate on top of the pan and carefully flip the tart tatin onto the plate. Serve while still warm.
Note: If you have a tart tatin pan or an ovenproof frying pan, you can cook the carrots in that and then tuck the pastry directly over the top.
Adapted from “My Little French Kitchen” by Rachel Khoo
More Carrot Recipes to Love: Roasted Carrot Dip