Preheat oven to 450° F.
Peel the carrots and cut into rounds (about ½ inch thick). Toss with olive oil, herbs, spice, pepper and coarse salt and spread in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast in the oven until soft (about 20 minutes). Transfer to counter and cool (save the rosemary and sage).
Reduce oven to 400°.
Melt sugar with molasses and honey. Add lemon juice and pour into cast-iron skillet. Arrange carrots to fit snug and divide cheese over the carrots.
Place the round of pastry (about ½-inch wider than the skillet) on top. Tuck in the edges of the dough around the carrots, transfer to oven and bake until pastry is crisp and bronzed (about 20 minutes). Take out and cool for 5 minutes (don’t let the syrup harden). Using a cutting board, turn the tart upside down and let drop down from the skillet (the runnier the syrup, the less likely carrot pieces will remain stuck to the skillet). Crumble rosemary and sage over and serve.
About this recipe
• Make sure you prepare enough cut carrots to fill each pie pan snug. Better to have more (that you can freeze for another use) than come up short.
• Season the carrots well before roasting.
• You can make this with either shortcrust pastry or puff pastry. Shortcrust pastry will be crumblier and firm; puff pastry will yield a more pliable base when turned over.
• You may want to oil (or butter) the skillet before adding the syrup: it will help prevent carrots to remain stuck to the skillet when you turn it over. Alternatively, use a nonstick pie pan.
• Replace (or mix) carrots with other root vegetables, from beets to sunchokes. Make sure whichever root vegetables you use, they are cooked soft before assembling the tart.
• Not a fan of blue cheese? Use feta, goat cheese or ricotta!
Saddlehorn Winery Blanc du Bois (dry), Washington County, Burton, Texas. $19. saddlehornwinery.com.