And as we all know, a Tarte Tatin doesn't have to be sweet, as show in some delicious savory vegetable versions that I made in the past. There was the Baby Beet Tarte Tatin (which you can find here), or the Upside-down Onion Tarts (here) that I made to rave reviews following recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for The Cottage Cooking Club. These savory versions of the classic Tarte Tatin, as well as my version with the Brussels sprouts, still have the classic caramel and rich puff pastry. Today´s recipe would work equally well with other vegetables such as red onions and butternut squash but it is particularly pretty, and delicious, of course, with the Brussels sprouts.
Unfortunately, Brussels sprouts, or „Rosenkohl“ as we call them around here (which literally translates to „rose cabbage“) have a dreadful reputation. Like miniature versions of the common cabbage, they grow on large stalks and have a sweet, nutty flavor, which some people do not appreciate. But, treated with a touch of love and care, these little buds can become one of your favorite winter vegetable.
Brussels Sprouts Tarte Tatin
- 500 grams of puff pastry (all butter, best quality you can afford)
- 750 grams of fresh Brussels sprouts (depending on the size of your tarte tatin mold or oven-proof pan), washed, outer leaves removed and with dry ends of stalks cut off
- 50 grams of butter, unsalted
- 1 tbsp of runny honey (preferably a mild, regional variety, from your favorite beekeeper)
- 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar (Aceto balsamico)
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
- a good pinch of fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- some plain flour, for dusting your work surface
- Place the prepared Brussels sprouts in a large pan and add enough water to cover, season with salt and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then quickly drain the veg and refresh in a bowl of iced water (this halts the cooking process and helps to retain their color).
- Drain the cooled sprouts and leave to dry on some kitchen towel.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180° convection).
- Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using an ovenproof frying pan (approx. 25cm) as your guide, trim the pastry to a circle that is slightly bigger than the pan. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and chill in the refrigerator.
- Place the frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the butter, honey, and vinegar stirring until melted together.
- Reduce the heat slightly, and add the picked thyme leaves, shaking the pan gently to combine.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes
- Place the par-boiled Brussels sprouts in a decorative pattern across the base of the pan, arranged like circles. Make sure all the spuds are coated in the butter glaze.
- Remove the pastry circle form the fridge and place on top of the vegetables in the pan. Gently tuck the edges in around the vegetables
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then check the tarte to see if there is any excess butter or liquid bubbling up around the sides – if so, gently pour this away (you may need to use kitchen towel or a cloth to hold the tarte in place)
- Reduce the oven to 180°C (160° convection) and return the tarte to the oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes (the pastry will deflate slightly in this time), then place a plate over the top of the pan and carefully flip the pan over, so the Tarte Tatin turns out on to the plate. Serve the tarte warm, perhaps with a fresh salad.
If you have not tried Brussels sprouts, this recipe is a great way to get started. Just remember that when shopping for this vegetable, Brussels sprouts should have tight compact heads and no sign of wilting and the stalks should look moist and freshly cut.
Contrary to popular opinion,when you want to cook or blanch them in salted boiling watre, Brussels sprouts do not benefit from having a cross cut into the bottom of them. Instead of helping them to cook evenly, the cross can make the sprouts waterlogged.
In this recipe, the Brussels sprouts are first blanched and then are covered with buttery pastry and cooked in the oven until they are caramelized and the pastry is crispy and golden brown. The flakiness and butteriness of the pastry compliments the sweetness of the caramelized sprouts very nicely.This Tarte Tatin is gorgeous served with just a little seasonal salat or just as is.