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Polenta Tarts with Beetroot and Mushroom Fillings

Ingredients:

Base 

Beetroot filling 

Mushroom and spinach filling 

Custard

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. 

To make the bases, put the polenta and salt in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Stir vigorously to prevent lumps forming. When smooth add the flour, oil and baking powder, and mix to combine, ensuring there are no lumps. You may need to use your hands to ensure the ingredients are incorporated. 

Thoroughly butter the flan tins. Take half of the dough and, with wet hands, mould and spread it over the bottom of the tin and up the sides. The dough is a wet dough, so take your time, have a bowl of water ready to regularly wet your hands, and ensure the dough is evenly distributed over the base and sides of the tin. It should be about 0.5cm thick. Neaten the edges with a knife or your fingers. Repeat with the second flan tin, then place both tins on a large baking tray. Set aside while you prepare your filling. 

To prepare the beetroot, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap them in foil and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender when tested with a skewer. 

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms. Heat the butter with the lemon thyme in a frying pan large enough to hold the mushrooms without crowding. Once the pan is hot, add all the mushrooms and cook quickly to sear them. Season the mushrooms and set aside to cool. 

Clean the frying pan, then saute the onions with the olive oil until soft and translucent. Put the washed baby spinach in a bowl and put the hot onion mixture over it. Season with salt and pepper and toss well, until the leaves have started to wilt. 

Remove the beetroot from the oven, leaving the oven on. Peel the beetroot and cut them into wedges, approximately 6 per beetroot. While still hot, sprinkle with salt, red wine vinegar, if using, and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss and set aside to allow the beetroot to absorb the flavours. 

In a bowl beat the eggs with the milk until combined. Add the salt and pepper and mix through. 

Divide the spinach and onion mixture between the bases. Spread the mushrooms evenly over the spinach. Pour half of the custard into the tin. 

Arrange the beetroot in the other tin and top with the remaining custard. 

Bake both tarts for 30-45 minutes. Note that the beetroot will bleed into the custard, creating a beautiful pinkish colour in the tart. 

Remove both tarts from the oven, ensuring the custard has set. 

Immediately shave the kasseri cheese over the top of the spinach and mushroom tart, and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. 

Allow the beetroot tart to cool a little before crumbling the goat’s cheese over it and topping with the baby beetroot or sorrel leaves. You don’t want the tart to be so hot that it melts the cheese.