Chioggia Beet & Goat Cheese Tartlets

Basic Pate Brisse (Shortcrust Pastry) - see below
4-5 beets (Chioggia are beautiful but standard beets would be nice too), drizzled with olive oil, wrapped in foil and roasted in the oven at 350˚ for ~45 minutes or until a knife easily passes through them)
5 oz goat cheese
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme plus one spring thyme to garnish each tart
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Basic Pate Brisse (Shortcrust Pastry)

Press dough inside fluted mini tart pans (~4.5 inch diameter) with removable bottoms. Roll rolling pin over tops of tarts to cut off any dough above the edges. Prick dough with a fork in several places. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Place parchment paper inside tart pans, covering sides and fill with pie weights. Blind bake for 25 minutes until dough is a golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

While tart shells are blind baking, slice leeks into thin rounds and sauté over medium/medium low heat with a splash of olive oil, small pat of butter and sprinkle of salt and pepper until they are soft and translucent. Mix ~1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, and a sprinkle of pepper into goat cheese. Stir to soften the cheese.

When beets are cool enough to handle, remove skins and slice very thinly and evenly, ideally using a mandolin.

When tart shells come out of oven, fill bottoms with sautéed leeks and then dot goat cheese evenly on top, using your finger or a fork to gently distribute the cheese.

Bake tarts for ~10 minutes until cheese has softened. Remove from oven and neatly place beet slices on the top, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with remaining teaspoon chopped thyme leaves and heat in oven until warm, ~5-7 minutes, taking care to ensure beets do not dry out.

Remove from pie pans, garnish with a spring of thyme and serve with a green salad.

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