Start the holiday festivities with this Tricolored Beet Tart by following these how-to tips, and you will be confident this beautiful and bold appetizer will wow any crowd.
Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

When it's your turn to host—whether it's Thanksgiving dinner or just a gathering of friends one evening—it's important you find recipes that allow you to impress your guests without ramping up your stress. Now is a great time to learn about the simple beauty of a puff pastry tart.

What's So Great About a Puff Pastry Tart?

Puff pastry is a delicately flaky, buttery pastry. It's extremely versatile and a real lifesaver to the time-crunched hostess. Puff pastry is similar to phyllo dough. Both are made of layer upon layer of flaky dough that turns crispy when baked. The neutral flavor of puff pastry makes it a great vessel for any number of toppings or filling. You can go sweet with a jam and fruit pie, or make it savory with sliced vegetables, caramelized onions, and melty cheese in an easy tart. The options are as endless as your imagination.

Where Can You Buy Puff Pastry?

Quite possibly the best thing about puff pastry is that it's available year-round in the frozen food aisle. Puff pastry is "laminated dough." Layers of dough are sandwiched between each other to create a thicker "dough." The dough is then folded several times to add even more layers to the pastry. Once you thaw the dough, you need to work quickly to keep it from drying out.

Follow this recipe for the Tricolored Beet Tart for a perfect example of how versatile a puff pastry tart can be. The gorgeous ombre colors are created by shingling the beets, creating a beautiful grid of color that is easy to put together but will impress any group. These steps include tips for the most successful tart and foolproof Thanksgiving appetizers.

How to Prepare Beets

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

1. Gently score a 1-inch border around the pastry dough so it looks like a picture frame. Use a light hand here: You don't want to cut all the way through the dough, or the edge will separate from the center. Prick inside the frame with a fork so the edges rise while the center remains flat.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

How to Bake Beets

2. Layer beet slices like roof tiles, slightly overlapping them for a pretty shingled look and a tart filling that feels abundant. Alternate beet colors for a gorgeous ombré effect. You could also use thinly sliced multicolored carrots or a combination of carrots and parsnips. Sliced sweet potatoes are also a great option if your guests just won't dig the beets.

How to Choose Good Beets

When you're at the farmers' market or grocery store, be sure to pick up good beets for this easy beet puff pastry appetizer. These tips will help you ensure the beet you pick is the best beet possible:

  1. Feel the bulb. If the beet gives when you squeeze, it may be old or rotting. Look for a beet that is firm and doesn't give when squeezed.
  2. Look at the leaves. If the leaves are still attached to your beets, make sure they look healthy and vibrant. Leaves will quickly wilt, but they shouldn't be rotting when you buy them.

Have leftover beets or looking for a way to use the greens? Read our guide to Use the Whole Beet so no piece of the ruby root vegetable goes to waste.