So this is my first post in 2015. We’ve finally settled down in our rented apartment in Auckland and started to enjoy summer in our new home. It has been an interesting experience thus far as we’d both thought that the New Zealand summer would be similar to the weather in Singapore. We were proven wrong on our very first day as we were the only ones in jackets walking along Queen Street. Talk about blending in. It’s still puzzling how people wear tiny shorts and barely there tops when there’re such epic-force (by Singapore standards) winds. I’m sure it’s equally puzzling to Aucklanders how covered up we were in Summer. It’s mutual this look of bewilderment we give each other at traffic lights.
Then two weeks ago, we learnt too late that the New Zealand sun is force to be reckoned with. We were sunburnt, chao ta (Hokkien for ‘burnt’). But on most days, Auckland has the most beautiful skies, clouds and weather, complete with gulls gliding and cute little birds and butterflies darting about. We took advantage of one of those perfect days and headed to the local farmers’ market at Parnell.
We bought these tri-coloured baby carrots from an organic farmer . . .
slightly caramelised and cooked them,
and baked them into this simple and delicious vegetarian tarte tatin that was perfect for a summer treat.
I didn’t want to overpower the natural taste of the baby carrots, so I used only one tablespoon of harissa. You could add honey with the harissa for an extra caramelised traditional tarte tatin but I preferred just the natural sweetness of the baby carrots. I didn’t cook the carrots for long as I wanted a little crunch but it’s really up to you to cook the carrots longer over the stove top if you prefer it soft. The crunchy toasted pinenuts, tart goat’s milk feta, slightly sweet and tart pomegranate molasses and fresh herbs all complemented each other.
Carrots are in season all year round so you should make this. I guarantee you’ll like it.
Moroccan Carrot Tarte Tatin
- 9-10 baby carrots, cut lengthwise (or as many to fill your pan)
- 1 Tbsp harissa paste
- knob of butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sheet of ready-rolled, all butter puff pastry (or enough to cover your pan
- goat’s milk feta
- pomegranate molasses / pomegranate arils
- small handful pine nuts, toasted
- mint and parsley leaves, rough chopped
23-25cm ovenproof pan
200°C fan , pre-heated
1. Cut out your puff pastry according to the inside circumference of your pan. Keep cut puff pastry aside.
2. In your heated pan,add olive oil and a small knob of butter. Once butter stops foaming, add harissa paste and cut baby carrots to the pan. Cook the carrots partially until their edges brown and caramelise.Season with a little salt. (The harissa and feta should’ve quite a bit of salt)
3. Remove pan off heat.Arrange the carrots on the so that they are not overlapping and the cut sides are faced down. Do not overcrowd the pan.
4. Lay cut pastry sheet over carrots and tuck the edges in.
5. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until pastry puffs up and turns golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 1-2 minutes.
7. Now, hold a plate over the saucepan. Using ovenproof mittens, carefully invert the tart onto the plate.
8. Scatter pinches of feta, toasted pine nuts over the tart while it’s still warm. Drizzle some pomegranate molasses and throw in some roughly chopped mint and parsley leaves.
9. Enjoy it with a side of salad while it’s still warm and crisp. Perfect!
Notes: Traditionally, this is made in a tarte tatin pan but an ovenproof pan does the trick. If you don’t have an oven proof pan, you cook cook the carrots and transfer them to an oven proof dish as well. But you’ll loose the nice caramel bits on the bottom of the pan.