• Ali

Beetroot tarte tatin

This is a great recipe that I taught at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery school to the confidence in the kitchen class. It also features in my cookery book, Ali Bilton cooks her favourites. I chose this recipe as it covers a lot of skills and shows people that they can cook dishes that they might have otherwise avoided. Therefore building confidence in the kitchen!

It includes making your own pastry, this is a quick flaky pastry that uses frozen butter. This pastry is also a really good pie topping pastry, (and in fact will go under a pie too). The pastry is very quick to make , and you must keep on the dry side, if it gets wet it becomes quite difficult to roll out.

It also covers making caramel. This is not difficult. It can be a little nerve wracking, but stay focused and you will have perfect caramel in no time at all. This method of caramel is one that I would use for making salted caramel sauce too. I will feature this in a recipe soon.

I used a small creamy brie, you can use Camembert, goat’s cheese or any other cheese you fancy- as long as it doesn't spread too far when cooked.

Beetroot is one of my favourite vegetables. To cook beetroot, set your oven to 180C. Scrub the beetroot and top and tail them. Take a very long length of foil, large enough that you can fold it to make a double layer, and then still big enough to form a parcel to completely enclose your beetroot. Place the beetroot inside the foil parcel and pour in about 250ml cold water. Completely seal up the parcel and put in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Allow the beetroot to cool and then peel them.

This tart tatin pairs perfectly with my apple, pear, celery, walnut and cranberry salad. For the recipe go to

Serves 4-6


For the pastry

115g (4 ¼ oz) plain flour

75g (2 ½ oz) butter, frozen for at least 2 hours

4-5 tbsp very cold water

For the filling

75g (2 ½ oz) golden caster sugar

40g (1 ½ oz) butter

400g (14oz) Beetroot, cooked

1 tsp fruit vinegar, I used Burren Balsamic blackberry and thyme

1 tbsp runny honey

7 sprigs thyme or 3 sprigs rosemary

1 small Camembert or creamy brie

Salt and pepper


  • First make the pastry. The butter needs to be very cold direct from the freezer

  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl

  • Dip the butter into the flour. Grate the cold butter on a coarse grater into the bowl. Keep dipping the butter into the flour so it is easier to grate

  • With a palette knife mix the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly

  • Add enough very cold water to form a dough that leaves the bowl clean. Use your fingers tips to bring it together gently

  • Shape the pastry into a round flat disc wrap with cling film, flatten as much as you can and refrigerate for 30 minutes

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

  • Strip the leaves for 6 of the thyme stalks, or 2 of the rosemary stalks. Chop the leaves, set aside the full stalk for later.

  • Place a small heavy 24cm ovenproof frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the sugar to the pan and shake until it all dissolves and caramelises. Add the butter and stir until it melts.

  • Carefully add a large pinch of salt, vinegar and honey. Remove the pan from the heat if it is going too brown or smelling as if it is burning.

  • Away from the heat add the chopped herbs. Lay the last stalk whole over the caramel.

  • Slice the cooked beetroot into neat 1cm rounds. Lay them carefully and neatly in overlapping spirals on top of the caramel, it will be very hot. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Place the whole cheese or slices of goats cheese into and lay over the beetroot, leaving a 2 cm gap at the outside edge.

  • Roll out the pastry to a circle large enough to cover the beetroot.

  • Lay the pastry on top of the beetroot and goats cheese and tuck the edges in to the pan seal everything in.

  • Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.

  • Carefully remove from the oven, remembering that the handle will be very hot.

  • After a few minutes, carefully drain off any excess liquid into a bowl.

  • Place an upturned plate over the pan. Holding the two together, flip over and leave the pan for a few seconds to allow all the caramel to fall away.

  • Pour the excess liquid back into the frying pan, taking care still as the handle will be very hot, and boil rapidly to reduce to a syrupy liquid.

  • Serve whilst still warm with salad and the reserved juices drizzled over.

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