Parsnip Tarte Tatin

Being a winter vegetable, I associate parsnips with comfort food such as roast veggies and soup.  But they're nearing the end of their season now and are at their sweetest as cold weather (and boy, we've had a lot of that!) turns more of their starches into sugars.  I thought I would try something different with the humble parsnip and make it into a dish more in keeping with a lighter spring menu as this tarte tatin goes well with a fresh salad.

A tarte tatin is an upside down tart with a caramelised fruit centre but the sweet parsnips work really well in this recipe:

Serves 2 - 4

400g parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
25g butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
freshly grated nutmeg
150g ready rolled puff pastry

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C if fan oven), gas mark 6
  2. Put parsnips in a pan of lightly salted water and bring to the boil then simmer for about 6 minutes until tender
  3. Drain and leave to steam dry.  Score the tops lightly with a sharp knife
  4. Heat the oil and butter in an oven proof frying pan*.  Add the syrup and fry the parsnips over a medium to high heat for 2 - 3 minutes until they are caramelised and golden.  Season with the nutmeg
  5. Unroll the pastry and cut out a circle a few centimetres larger than the pan.  Prick over the top with a fork and lay the forked side of the pastry over the parsnips, tucking the edges in down the sides of the pan
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp
  7. Leave to stand for 2-3 mintues then slide a flat-bladed knife around the edge to loosen the pastry.  Put a serving plate on top and then turn out onto the plate so that the pastry is underneath and the parsnips on top.
*  I don't have an ovenproof frying pan so used a normal pan for caramelising the parnips and then put into an enamel dish that was vaguely frying pan shaped, and this seemed to work ok!


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