Beetroot, feta, ricotta, honey and thyme: some flavour combinations are just a match made in heaven. All wrapped up in some short, flaky, golden pastry and you’re welcome: our work here is done. Serve this with a green salad.
Getting ahead: There are lots of ways to get ahead here: the beetroot can be baked and sliced a day in advance, the onions can be prepared in full a day ahead and the pie crust also keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days (or frozen for longer). Once assembled, the pie can wait in the fridge for a good few hours – at least 6 – before going into the oven. Once baked, the pie is best eaten the same day, either slightly warm or at room temperature.
A mix of purple and golden beetroots looks great here, but don’t worry if you can’t find golden. Just increase the purple beetroot to 300g.
small purple beetroots 2-3 (200g)
golden beetroot 1 medium (100g), (or just 300g total of purple beetroots, if you can’t find golden)
unsalted butter 15g
olive oil 2 tbsp
red onion 1 large, cut into ½cm-thick slices (170g)
caster sugar 2 tsp
cider vinegar 2 tbsp
za’atar 1 tbsp
parsley leaves 5g, finely chopped
oregano leaves 5g, finely chopped
garlic cloves 2, crushed
feta 90g, crumbled into roughly 2cm chunks
egg 1, beaten
runny honey 15g
picked thyme leaves ½ tsp, to garnish
salt and black pepper
For the pie crust
plain flour 80g, plus extra for dusting
wholemeal flour 35g
caster sugar 1½ tsp
flaked sea salt ½ tsp
oregano leaves 1 tbsp, finely chopped
thyme leaves 1½ tsp, finely chopped
unsalted butter 115g, fridge-cold and cut into 1½cm cubes
ice-cold water 60ml
Preheat the oven to 220C fan/gas mark 9.
Wrap the beetroots individually in foil and bake for 1-1½ hours, or until completely soft and cooked through: timing can vary quite a lot, depending on the size of your beetroots. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then use an old tea towel to gently rub away the skins. Slice each beetroot into 2-3mm slices and (if you are starting with a mix of purple and golden) place in two separate bowls. Combine the golden beetroot with ⅛ tsp of salt, a good grind of black pepper and ½ tsp of oil. Combine the purple beetroot with a good grind of black pepper, ¼ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil. Set both aside until needed. The next time the oven is used it will be 200C fan/gas mark 7, but turn it off for now.
To make the pie crust, put both flours into a large bowl along with the sugar, salt and herbs. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour. Don’t overwork the butter – you want chunks of it throughout the dough. Add the water and use your hands to gather the dough together into a shaggy ball. Transfer to a well-floured surface and roll out into a rough rectangle, about 28 x 18cm. The dough here is fairly wet and sticky, so you’ll need to flour your hands, rolling pin and work surface often. This is the way it is meant to be, though (and it makes for a wonderfully short and flaky pastry).
Fold the shorter ends in towards each other so that they meet at the centre, then fold the dough in half, like a book. Roll out the dough once with a rolling pin and then just fold once in half again, like a book. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).
Continue with the filling by putting the butter and 1 tablespoon of oil into a medium sauté pan and placing on a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned. Add the sugar, vinegar and ⅛ teaspoon of salt and cook for another minute, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes, then stir in 1 teaspoon of za’atar, the parsley and the oregano.
Put the ricotta, garlic, ⅛ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper into a bowl and set aside.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured sheet of baking parchment (about 30cm square) and roll out to form a rough circle. It will have uneven edges but should be about 28cm wide. Lifting up both the baking parchment and the dough, transfer to a baking tray: you don’t want to be lifting it on to the tray once filled.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the base of the dough, leaving a 1cm rim clear around the edges. Top with half the feta, then the onions. Next, and this time leaving a 3½cm rim clear around the outside, top with the beetroot, alternating between purple and golden, with a little overlap between each piece. Wash your hands well (so that the feta does not turn red!), then scatter the remaining feta on top.
Using a knife, make incisions around the edge of the galette: you want these to be about 8cm apart and 2cm deep. Creating these “strips” will allow for the beetroot and cheese to be encased. Taking one strip at a time, fold it over the beetroot, in towards the centre of the galette. Repeat with the next strip, pulling gently to slightly overlap and seal the last fold. Continue this way with the rest of the strips, then refrigerate the galette for 30 minutes (or up to about 6 hours, if you are getting ahead).
Preheat the oven (or lower, if it’s been on since the beetroots were roasting) to 200C fan/gas mark 7.
Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes, or until deeply golden and cooked through. Drizzle with the honey and the remaining 1½ teaspoons of oil, then scatter over the remaining 2 teaspoons of za’atar.
Transfer to a wire rack so that the bottom remains crisp and leave to cool for about 15 minutes. Garnish with the picked thyme leaves and serve.