Fern Verrow is a biodynamic farm at the foothills of the Black Mountains in Herefordshire. Farmed by Jane Scotter and Harry Astley. Their book follows a year of growing and cooking, with seasonal, uncomplicated recipes.
The following recipe is the last in a three part series...
The important thing to watch out for here is the consistency of the filling. If it is too wet, the pastry will be texture can be a little cloying. Get it right and this is a delicious and beautiful tart. It’s quite rich, so serve with a green salad.
750g evenly sized beetroot
280g cream cheese
140ml crème fraîche or double cream
15g fresh horseradish, finely grated
sea salt and black pepper
For the shortcrust pastry
150g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
a pinch of salt
140g chilled butter, diced
2–3 tablespoons chilled water
Steam or boil the unpeeled beetroot until tender; this may take an hour or so, depending on size. Peel the beetroot when cool enough to handle, then purée in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the purée to a sieve set over a bowl and leave to drain for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sift the flours together with a generous pinch of salt. Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a round-bladed knife until it is well coated. Rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 2 tablespoons of chilled water with the knife and press the dough together with your fingers, adding more water if necessary to give a firm dough. Knead briefly until smooth, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 3–4mm thick and use to line a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin, trimming off the excess. Allow to rest in the fridge again for 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Line the pastry case with a sheet of baking parchment and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake blind for 12–15 minutes, until the pastry is dry to the touch. Remove the paper and beans or rice, then return the pastry case to the oven and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured. Allow to cool for a few minutes before adding the filling.
Mix together the cream cheese, cream, grated horseradish and some seasoning, then fold in the beetroot purée. The mixture should be moist and easily spreadable – roughly the consistency of whipped cream. If it is a little dry, add some of the drained beetroot juice. Spread the mixture into the pastry case and bake at 190°C/Gas Mark 5 for about 20 minutes, until the filling is lightly coloured but still moist. Serve warm.
Recipe from book Fern Verrow - A year of recipes from a farm and its kitchen by Jane Scotter & Harry Astley. Photographs by Tessa Traeger.
You can now purchase the Fern Verrow book from TOAST here