Savory Tarte Tatin with Spiced Carrots

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Savory Tarte Tatin with Spiced Carrots and Feta

Once upon a time, whenever my thoughts turned to tarte Tatin, I imagined caramelized apples brazenly displayed apple-side up on buttery pastry. However, my Tatin gestalt forever changed when I ordered an onion tart at Trails, a simple bakery/cafe at the foot of my favorite hike in Griffith Park. It was a warm day and the assumption of a cool, custardy quiche seemed like perfect pre-hike sustenance. However, what emerged from the kitchen was a tart of an altogether different order: a perfectly crisp, savory tarte Tatin.

Los Angeles is in the middle of an early season heat wave. Which means our meals, at least in the short-term, will move to the patio. To be more specific, they’ll move from the over-heated kitchen to a table under a shady tree, where we can eat in the open air and still be protected from the glare of the sun.

When eating outdoors I refuse to do battle with individually plated portions. It’s way too warm to carry a multitude of perfectly composed plates from kitchen to garden. Besides, 90s-style formal dining is quite passé. When dining al fresco I prefer a more communal approach of passing food around the table from person to person – each taking what they want.

Savory Tarte Tatin with Spiced Carrots and Feta

A vegetable tart (even the traditionally cool weather savory tarte Tatin) works well for this type of shared meal: it’s terrific served at room temperature, it makes an impressive presentation, and it’s highly portable. These are the qualities I look for in casual patio dining.

Also, a savory tarte Tatin is extremely flexible. The inspiration may have come from the colorful rings of a red onion version, but there are countless other combinations to consider. Zucchini comes to mind as do root vegetables. So when I saw scads of colorful carrots (sized just right for a 10-inch savory tarte Tatin) at the Hollywood Farmers Market I decided to bring a Carrot Tarte Tatin in all its uncut glory to my patio table. What better way to beat the heat than to pass a platter for everyone to slice as much Tatin as they like then pass it on to the next person. A dish to get everyone talking and, above all, sharing. GREG

spicescarrot tatinCarrot Tatin

Spiced Carrot Tatin with Feta

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4-8Published
Spiced Carrot Tatin with Feta

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 orange (zested and then quartered, separated)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 pound carrots (halved lengthwise)
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 3 ounce feta (crumbled)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (cut into a round about 1-inch larger than the diameter of your cake pan, then chilled)
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water (as egg wash)

Directions

Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9 or 10-inch round cake pan with a piece of parchment cut to fit on the bottom. Set aside.

In a small pan set over medium-high heat toast the seeds until fragrant and beginning to color, about 1 or 2 minutes. Move the toasted seeds to a plate to stop the cooking.

Using a mortar and pestle crush half of the toasted seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt until the seeds are well-pulverized. Add the minced garlic, orange zest and olive oil. Continue to work the spice mixture until well-incorporated, but slightly chunky.

Lay the cut carrots in a single layer, cut side up, onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to spread the spice mixture over both sides of the carrots until well-coated. Place the orange quarters around the carrots.

Bake in the heated oven until softened and beginning to color, about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the thickness of the carrots. Remove from oven, raise the temperature to 400 degrees F.

Pour the melted butter into the parchment-lined cake pan. Lay the carrots side-by-side in a single layer covering the entire surface, cut side down, trimming them to fit attractively if necessary. Drizzle honey over the carrots followed by crumbled feta. Squeeze the juice from the baked oranges on top, discard rinds.

Carefully lay chilled pastry round on top of carrots and feta. Tuck the edges in all around the pan, creating a snug fit. Brush exposed pastry with egg wash. Pierce the center with the point of a sharp knife to create a couple of vents for steam to escape.

Bake until edges are deep amber and pastry is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.

Set a serving plate upside down on top of the cake pan. Using oven mitts or thick kitchen towels in both hands hold the serving plate and cake pan firmly together in front of you. Quickly invert both the serving plate and the cake pan in one confident motion, letting the tarte Tatin and any liquid fall onto the serving plate. Remove the parchment round if necessary. Garnish with remaining toasted seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

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