Upside Down Savory Spring Tart
By Nancy Eisman
The month of April is the foyer to Spring, with more daylight, newly emerging flowers, and delicious, fresh, seasonal ingredients to enjoy. The world is brushed with a palate of glorious green colors, from the leaves on the trees and the grass on the ground, to the asparagus, peas, artichokes, herbs, fava beans, scallions, and other favorites ready to inspire culinary creativity.
To contrast some of the fresh green colors and flavors, Spring also offers vibrant beets and rainbow carrots to complete the seasonal color wheel. The dish I’m sharing today, inspired by the Chilled Beet Tart from the February 2016 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, combines those beautiful colors in a show-stopping, jaw-dropping way. The original recipe was really gorgeous and I’m sure delicious as created, but of course I had to do a little ingredient swapping to make it my own.
The dairy cream cheese called for was easily replaced with a remarkable plant-based counterpart, now available in markets everywhere should you be motivated to go dairy-free. The other main change made was to crush a package of savory crackers and press them down over (under) the tart to form a thin crust for added texture.
Since I’d never made an upside-down anything, or a refrigerated savory, un-baked tart before I held my breath when I flipped the spring form pan over and removed the plastic wrap. The reveal far exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to making it again soon, with a few new swaps of course.
Note: Other Springtime ingredients to consider for this recipe are golden beets, candy cane beets, fava beans, artichoke hearts, leeks, and fiddlehead ferns.
Spring form pan & plastic wrap
1 package Melissa’s Steamed Beets
10-12 Carrot coins of each color: Maroon, White, Yellow, Orange
8 Asparagus Spears, 4” long
16 ounces Cream Cheese (dairy free – I like Tofutti and Follow Your Heart brands)
1 Jalapeno Chile, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
2 Green Onions, finely chopped and divided in half
2 tablespoons toasted Sesame Seeds
4-6 ounces Savory Crackers
Blend the cream cheese, jalapeno, tahini, and salt until combined and spreadable. Set aside.
Boil the carrot slices and asparagus spears for 10-12 minutes until tender. Plunge the veggies into ice water to retain the color, then drain and set aside.
Drain off the beet juice and cut the beets into ⅛”-¼”slices. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the crackers to the consistency of graham cracker crumbs, and set aside.
To assemble, line a spring form pan with plastic wrap, overlapping off the sides. Place ½ the beets, carrots, and asparagus on the bottom of the plastic lined pan in the design of your choice. Carefully spread ½ the cream cheese mixture to cover the vegetables. Sprinkle with ½ of the greens onions and ½ of the sesame seeds.
Place the remaining beets, carrots, and asparagus into the pan, and then cover with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the mixture, and pat down to adhere. Cover the pan and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
To serve, invert the pan over a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions and sesame seeds. With a serrated knife, cut the tart into wedges and serve with lightly dressed salad greens.