Spring is ALSO the time

for baking
I have been dreaming about making this tart ALL week. I didn't know you could have such vivid dreams about baking but now I know you definitely can. I am a great beetroot enthusiast; not the tinned stuff but the raw beet... they make an excellent salsa by grating them up with a little chopped parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They are beautifully rich and earthy baked in a roast. You can make a delicious fuchsia dip by parboiling them and blending them up with a little fresh garlic, olive oil and plain yogurt. But I've never had them in a tart and I had a feeling it would be good!

Emily's Beetroot + Caramelized Onion Tart
(makes a big tart - you could halve it)

2 cups wholewheat flour
160g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup of chilled water
2 brown onions thinly sliced in rings
3 garlic cloves finely sliced
2 beetroots, peeled and thinly sliced
6 eggs
1/2 cup of cream
big handful of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup of feta cheese

Quickly mix butter together with flour using your hands until it resembles a course meal - lumps of butter will be about pea-sized. Add chilled water and knead into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Gently fry onions and garlic in olive oil until caramelized - be careful not to burn the onions but fry till brown and soft (may take some time). Peel beetroots, wash and slice thinly in circles, put aside.

Take pastry out of the fridge and roll on a floured surface until wide enough to cover your desired dish (I used a fluted quiche dish) that has been well greased. Put some baking paper on top of the pastry - fill with blind rice and bake in a moderate oven (180'c) for 20 minutes. Remove blind rice and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile whisk six eggs together and slowly add cream. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Spread onions evenly on the base of the tart. Pour over egg mixture and gently lie the beetroot on top. Season with plenty of fresh rosemary, crumbled feta and however much pepper or salt as you like

Bake in a moderate oven for 35-45 minutes or until firm and golden on top.

Pistachio Amaretti
from Bill Granger but inspired by Jess's excellent rendition at her birthday last week

125g blanched almonds
100g shelled pistachios
2 egg whites
125g icing sugar

Preheat oven to 140C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick paper. Place almonds and pistachios in a food processor and process until finely ground.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually start adding the icing sugar and beat until all the sugar is added, has dissolved and the mixture is glossy. Gently fold through the nut mixture.

Place small spoonfuls of the mixture on the tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden and set. Remove and set aside to cool.

These are incredibly incredibly delicious. Hands down my absolute favourite tea accompaniment (aside from gingerbread). I don't know what it is about pistachios... but they are so wonderful. Admittedly it can be a bit hard to buy them deshelled and unsalted (at least around here it is); but its not THAT laborious shelling and gently washing them in a sieve.

Mmmm I may just eat all of these before our guests come for lunch...