My root vegetable tarte tatin features a stunning mosaic of candied root vegetables with a savory kick atop a buttery, flaky puff pastry crust. This post is sponsored by Calphalon. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Beyond Sweet and Savory possible.
Fall ushers in a stunning selection of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. In our kitchen they go into roast, soups, salads, and even desserts. With the holidays right around the corner, I’m excited to partner with Calphalon to share another round of essential knife skill that will help you with the holiday prep via my root vegetable tarte tatin with herby, candied sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnip on top of a buttery, flaky puff pastry crust. This recipe is great for using any leftover vegetables in the fridge from all your holiday cooking.
What is a Tarte Tatin
A tarte Tatin is a classic French, caramelized apple based upside-down dessert. The tarte Tatin originated at the Hotel Tatin in the Loire Valley, France in the 1800s where sisters Stephanie and Caroline Tatin ran the hotel and created the delicious dessert for their guests. A tarte tatin doesn’t have to be sweet and would work well with squash, beets, radishes, tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables.
How to Prep the Vegetables
For the carrots and parsnip, simply chop off the green parts, wash them under cold water, and gently scrub them using a brush to remove as much dirt as possible. Organic grown carrots can be eaten unpeeled but parsnips taste more tender without the skin. Since sweet potatoes grow in the dirt, they should be scrubbed thoroughly and skin removed before cooking.
Once the root vegetables are cleaned, chop them into half inch rounds. Chopping root vegetables safely and efficiently requires a well sharpened knife. I love using the Santoku knife from the Calphalon Precision Self-Sharpening Cutlery Set. Designed for precision and resilience, Calphalon Precision Self-Sharpening knives feature SharpIN™ technology with built-in ceramic sharpeners that automatically sharpen straight edge knives every time you remove them from the block. The sharper the knife, the less pressure you need to put on it when cutting a large or tough vegetable.
To properly chop a root vegetable, create a flat, stable surface for your food to rest on by slicing off a thin section of its face. Hold the vegetable steady with your non-knife hand, curling your fingers into a claw and tucking your knuckles underneath.
Hold the flat side of your knife blade against your knuckles, with the entire knife lifted above the cutting board. Press downward with smooth, even strokes, shifting the knife forward slightly as you go. Lift the blade back up and repeat.
When you’re done chopping all the root vegetables, toss them with olive oil, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes to soften. Roasting the vegetables intensifies their sweetness and lends additional flavors with the thyme and nutmeg. You can also use rosemary and sage instead of thyme. Cinnamon, clove, or cardamom would work well with the vegetables. Use a combination of spices if you like.
While the root vegetables are roasting, prepare the puff pastry round and caramel for tarte tatin. Cut the puff pastry in a circle with a 10 inch diameter to fit into the 10 inch skillet.
Tips for Working with Puff Pastry
- Use a quality all butter puff pastry so you can enjoy those delicious buttery, flaky layers of dough similar to a pie crust. They will have a richer flavor, and the dough will produce nice layers of pastry.
- Thaw the puff pastry in the fridge the night before you want to use it. For best results, defrost in the refrigerator at least 4 hours and up to 1 day before using. Since puff pastry is made with a lot of butter, thawing it in a cold environment allows the pastry to become pliable without softening too much.
- Unfold the puff pastry only when it’s fully thawed otherwise you’ll break or crack the pastry. Be gentle when handling the pastry.
- Flour your surface and rolling pin which allows the pastry to roll out smoothly and prevent it from sticking.
- Prick the pastry with a fork before freezing it.
- Chill the pastry before baking. I put mine in the freezer for 15 minutes. This step gives the butter a chance to re-solidify and melt slowly during baking and helps hold its shape.
For the caramel, in a clean, ovenproof 10-inch skillet, combine ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan gently (do not stir) until sugar melts and turns amber, about 10 minutes. Once the vegetables are done roasting, arrange the sweet potato, carrots, and parsnip over the caramel.
Layer the sliced Gruyere cheese over the vegetables then top it with the puff pastry round. I love the taste of Gruyere with this root vegetable tarte tatin but Comte, gouda, and sharp cheddar also works well. Bake the tarte tatin for 40 minutes at 375 degrees until the puff pastry becomes golden and crispy.
How to Flip the Tarte Tatin
Let the tarte tatin cool for about 5 minutes before flipping it. Make sure you have a kitchen towel or baking sheet underneath to catch all the juices before you flip it from the pan. Run a knife around the edge of the crust and then get a firm grip on the plate-and-skillet sandwich before flipping. The tarte is still warm at this point, so it’s easy to nudge any vegetables that fell out back into place.
The root vegetable tarte tatin is best served immediately. The longer you leave it out, the caramel will seep into the puff pastry layer and make it soggy. Cut a slice and enjoy the savory, caramelized, tender root vegetables in contrast to the melty Gruyere and puff pastry’s flakiness. The thyme adds an herby kick while the nutmeg brings a warm note. My savory twist on the classic French tarte tatin takes the humble root vegetables to the next level and makes a stunning addition to your holiday spread.
Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin
- 10-inch oven safe skillet or sauce pan
- 2 medium sweet potato, peeled, sliced into ½” rounds
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into ½” rounds
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled, sliced into ½” rounds
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves and extra for serving
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 16-ounce frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 ounces Gruyere, thinly sliced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Peel and slice the root vegetables into half inch rounds.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss sweet potato, carrots, parsnip and thyme leaves with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt, pepper, and arrange vegetables in a single layer. Roast until golden around the edges and tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables are roasting, unfold puff pastry sheet and cut into a 10-inch round.
- Prick dough all over with a fork. Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes until ready to use.
- To make the caramel, add sugar and water in a 10 inch oven safe saucepan and cook over medium heat, swirling pan gently (do not stir) until sugar melts and becomes amber-colored, about 10 minutes.
- Arrange sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips snugly in a single layer on top of caramel, using smaller carrot and parsnip pieces to fill in any holes.
- Place sliced Gruyere cheese over vegetables.
- Top with puff pastry round, tucking edges into pan. Brush egg wash over puff pastry.
- Decrease oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place saucepan on middle rack in the oven and bake until the puff pastry is crispy and golden-brown, about 40 minutes.
- Remove tarte tatin from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes
- Run a knife around the pastry to loosen it from the pan. Place a kitchen towel below where you want to flip the tarte tatin. Invert a large plate over the top of the skillet and, using oven mitts, carefully and quickly flip the tarte tatin onto the plate.
- Rearrange any vegetables that may have fallen out of place. Garnish with the thyme sprigs, additional salt and pepper if desired. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.