With a résumé that includes growing up on a farm in southwestern Michigan and attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Cheryl Janz is exquisitely qualified to teach the art of rustic fall tarts—a class she taught in Traverse City for Northwestern Michigan College’s extended education program this fall. If you missed the one-day course, roll up your sleeves and dive into her multicolored beet tart recipe—and watch for more of her classes at nmc.edu.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ to ½ cup ice water
- 1 ½ pounds beets, preferably a combination of red, gold, and Chioggia (greens removed)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pound fresh goat cheese, room temperature
- 4 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, plus about 1 teaspoon whole leaves
- Black pepper
- ½ cup grated fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor (or whisk together by hand). Add butter, and pulse (or quickly cut in with a pastry blender or your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces remaining. Drizzle ¼ cup water over mixture. Pulse (or mix with a fork) until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add up to ¼ cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse (or mix with a fork). Press into a disk and wrap loosely in plastic.
Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or up to 1 day. Dough can be frozen up to 3 months; thaw in refrigerator before using.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface and press firmly into a 13-by-9-inch rimmed baking sheet, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Tuck overhang under to create a double thickness: press firmly against pan. Pierce bottom of shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Line shell with parchment; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (keep oven on).
Trim all but ½ -inch of stems from beets; rinse well. Toss well with oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; cover with parchment, then tightly with foil. Roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel beets with a paring knife. Cut into thin rounds.
Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees.
Stir together goat cheese, ricotta, and chopped thyme until well combined; season with black pepper. Spread mixture over tart shell, filling all the way to the edges. Arrange beets over cheese mixture, overlapping slices slightly and alternating colors. Lightly season with salt. Sprinkle fontina and whole thyme leaves on top. Drizzle with oil, and season with pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.