I’ll just take everything citrus, thanks

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Hello hello internet blog friends!

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What’s new with you? Business as usual over here, still very obviously obsessed with all things citrus. If you’re like me and just can’t get enough of all varieties these days, make this! You won’t be sorry.

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Meyer lemons are still going strong (at least over here in northern California) – I’m lucky enough to have access to a full tree of them but I’m still seeing them in stores too, so you should be good to go. Meyer lemons make the most perfect curd – light yellow and perfectly lemony. I’ve reached the point where I use very little sweetener in the citrus curds that I make – I want to have the tart citrus flavor at the forefront, not the sweet!

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Eat this for dessert, for breakfast, for snacking purposes… it’s delicious any way you slice it. I just want all the citrus, all the time!! Just make sure lemon is your thing before making this — it’s not for the citrus faint of heart ;)

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Let’s see, what else…

Mother Nature has been doing some spectacular things in the sky lately!

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Happy spring! Go eat some lemon tart with your loved ones.

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Meyer Lemon Tart with Blackberry Sauce on an Almond Crust

Not for the faint of heart! If you love tart & citrus things – this is calling your name. Lemons and berries are a natural pairing, and almonds are basically the food of the gods. Tart, lightly sweet, and perfect for spring. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo. A Wait are Those Cookies original recipe. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; servings: 2-8!

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For the meyer lemon curd

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • zest of 3 meyer lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge (but not there yet!) of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – don’t let it boil. It will still be slightly runny but will firm up in the fridge. While it’s still warm, strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the blackberry sauce:

  • 2 c blackberries
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

In a high powered blender or food processor, puree the blackberries until smooth. Push the puree through a metal strainer into a large bowl to remove the seeds, then stir in lemon juice and maple. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use – you’ll only use a tablespoon or two to make the swirl on the top of the tart, so keep the rest for extra tart topping.

For the crust:

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 c unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Add in melted coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract, almond butter, and maple syrup, and stir until combined – the mixture will be crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350, and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. Poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill with the lemon curd. If you’re planning on the blackberry swirl, use a ziplock bag with a teeny corner cut off to pipe the sauce into the curd, and then use a knife to swirl it around (alternatively, use a pastry bag if you’re less lazy than me!). Bake for 8-10 minutes to set the curd, then let cool completely at room temperature. Top with slivered almonds and shredded coconut if desired. I prefer to chill mine in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge (though I dare you to have any!).

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Blood oranges: Mother Nature’s ombre playground

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It’s blood orange season! They are just absolutely gorgeous, I never get tired of that beautiful color.

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They remind me of stained glass… appropriate, considering architecture and food are two of my fave things (really?! I’m sure you had NO idea). Case in point: old and new! A favorite juxtaposition.

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I love how they’re variegated in color too – you never quite know what you’re getting. Dark red? Ombre? Everything is fair game when mother nature gets involved.

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It’s sunny and beautiful today!! I’ve been enjoying the rain but I must say I’m not minding the sun either… AND it’s ski season! Tahoe-bound this week to get back on my K2 babies — it’s been way too long. Actually I’m currently sitting OUTSIDE to write this, what?! Weird. But awesome. Hooray for wifi that extends into the back yard!

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But back to food. This tart is perfect winter dessert — I’m also pretty sure I’ve said that about the last five citrus desserts I’ve made but that’s because it’s TRUE! Citrus + winter = made for each other. The brightness of the citrus perks up even the greyest of days, even for someone like me who *likes* the grey! (I like sun too, don’t get me wrong)

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Highly recommended, easy and delicious. This can also be made in stages and left overnight in the fridge before serving, so it’s a user-friendly experience all around. Lightly sweet, lightly tart, orangey & chocolatey.

Happy weekend!

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Blood Orange Curd Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust with Candied Ginger

Blood orange curd is like lemon, only it’s orange! Brilliant, no? Ha. Lightly sweet, somewhat tart (though less so than it’s lemony cousin), complemented by a chocolate coconut crust and candied ginger… for breakfast and dessert! Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serving sizes are up to your discretion. A Wait are Those Cookies original – the curd is riffed off of my usual go-to, and the crust is an easy favorite I’ve modified many times for different tarts.

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For the curd (make at least one day ahead so it can chill overnight in the fridge)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c blood orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 3 blood oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, blood orange juice, lemon juice and orange zest. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – it will still be runny but will firm up a bit in the fridge. Strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

For garnish:

  • 2 small blood oranges, sliced thinly
  • candied ginger
  • shredded coconut

Assembly:

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

Top the cooled tart with sliced oranges & candied ginger + shredded coconut if that’s your jam (melted chocolate wouldn’t come amiss either, I’m sure)… Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers – I usually just cover the original pie dish with foil but an airtight container works just fine too.

Happy eating!

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Tarts for days. Grapefruit is the new lemon (at least for today)

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Sometimes, you just need all the citrus. ALL the citrus! Lately I’ve been eating a ton of mandarins and clementines – they have been so delicious and they’re such a great snack!

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But sometimes you need more than just a citrus snack… you need citrus DESSERT. When that happens, I usually gravitate toward lemon curd for it’s bright, citrusy, sunshine-in-my-kitchen scent and taste. But I’ve never actually made grapefruit curd until now, despite loving grapefruit even more than lemon.

I’m not so sure how it translates into photos, but I promise it was incredibly delicious…

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This is definitely going into the rotation. I actually added a slight bit of lemon to bump up the citrus flavor – next time, I might even reduce the honey a bit to really bring out the citrus tang. It makes a great change from lemon curd, and a great tart filling. I had no idea grapefruit and ginger were flavor affinities, but they are! And it’s a match made in gastronomic heaven, at least for those of us who love grapefruit.

By the way, this tart make excellent breakfast. Just a suggestion…

A bit more progress in the SF series, of course.

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Keeping it short and sweet today, and finishing with this to my beloved grandpa who transitioned off this earth plane this past weekend: You are responsible for so many wonderful memories, and for my fierce love of malted milkshakes. Happy travels, you are so, so missed. Om Shanti, Grandpa.

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Grapefruit Curd Tart with Coconut Ginger Crust and Citrus Coconut Cream

Citrusy, relatively light on the dessert-intensity scale, and perfect for the winter season. Dairy free, gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, paleo if that’s your jam. Full of healthy fats and vitamin c! The crust is a riff on my usual citrus bar crust, but I’ve discovered it makes a good tart shell too. You’ll want to make the grapefruit curd ahead of time, and chill the coconut milk overnight. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish.

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For the curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2/3 c grapefruit juice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 large grapefruits, about ~1 tbsp zest
  • scant 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, solid
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

In a non-reactive saucepan, combine eggs, grapefruit and lemon juice, zest, honey, coconut oil, and sea salt. Heat over medium-low, whisking constantly. The curd will begin to thicken as it cooks, and usually is as thick as it’s going to get after about 10 minutes. I usually strain mine to get rid of any erroneous bits – a metal strainer over a bowl works just fine; I recommend straining it while it’s still warm. Let cool completely in a bowl sitting in an ice bath, then move to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before using (overnight is preferable, which is why I usually try to make this the day before).

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, ginger, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, almond butter, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

For the citrus coconut cream:

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge
  • zest of one grapefruit
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp grapefruit juice

For topping:

  • candied ginger!

Zest the citrus, and rub the coconut sugar into it until fragrant. Open the can of coconut milk and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla, coconut sugar-zest, and grapefruit juice, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

To serve, top the tart with segmented grapefruit and citrus coconut cream. Don’t skip the candied ginger! It’s awesome. Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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Sometimes, dessert just needs to be an unashamedly sloppy, delicious mess

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This tart is a lesson in what dessert sometimes should be: an aesthetically pleasing, sloppy, delicious mess. Because sometimes dessert should just be eaten out of the pan it was baked or assembled in, with two spoons and happy grins. Or, you could attempt civilized plating (as I did) when you consume it for dessert, with a hasty decant into bowls topped with ice cream. Which is perfectly acceptable. Until the next morning when you peek at the custard tart that’s been hangin’ in the fridge overnight and notice that the custard has decided to attempt an escape outside its proscribed bounds, at which point you decide to eat it out of the pan with spoons. Wise and delicious decision!

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Sometimes, you need a less than perfect dessert. Messy, delicious and less than perfect is exactly what this tart is. You’ve been warned! Indulge accordingly.

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In other news, I completed another year on this earthplane, and celebrated accordingly at Gary Danko! Nowhere else am I going to sit down to a four course dinner with two desserts. Shockingly, I didn’t even need a wheelbarrow to leave…. I consider this a success all around. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday weekend such fun! Y’all are so rad.

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Hmm, what else. It’s officially autumn! Which means apples, scarves, boots, and pumpkin. And baking. Except that the Bay has decided to have a heat wave these last few days, which means baking is totally off the table until it gets back down into the 80s, at least. Since when do I wear a dress and no jacket in San Francisco all evening?! Since never… until yesterday! Reason number one to eat messy, cool, creamy dessert that can be had with minimal baking and heating of the kitchen!

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More drawing! A wee bit of dome practice with the beautiful San Francisco city hall.

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Nighttime cityscapes are so beautiful.

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But back to the food!

This tart presents beautifully but once cut, devolves into a sloppy, delicious mess. But, fear not! Just grab a spoon and eat it straight from the pan. Messy and delicious, just how dessert should be.

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Maple Custard Apple Tart with Almond Crust

Lightly sweet, creamy and an appropriate amount of crust. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, paleo & dairy free with one small swap (coconut oil for butter in the crust). Yield: 1 10″ pie pan of the deep variety; serves as many as you feel like sharing with. Recipe adapted from Hip Foodie Mom, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp salted butter (or coconut oil), melted
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white

For the custard:

  • 1.5 c coconut milk (mine was light; use whatever you have)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the apple topping:

  • 2 apples, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam, thinned with a bit of water and lemon juice

Because the custard needs to sit and chill in the fridge after cooling for at least 2 hours, I made this a day ahead and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. The crust only takes about 15 minutes to bake, so the tart itself comes together quite quickly.

Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a 9 or 10″ deep pie plate with coconut oil or butter. For the crust: in a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, and coconut sugar. Add in melted butter or coconut oil, vanilla, and egg white, and stir until combined — I found it more fun and more efficient to use my hands at the end. Press the dough into the bottom of your pie plate of choice, poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

For the custard: in a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium, until small bubbles begin forming along the egg whites. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, maple, tapioca starch, and salt. Slowly temper the eggs by pouring the hot coconut milk into the egg bowl in a thin stream, whisking constantly until all the milk is incorporated. Pour this whole bowl of goodness back into the pot that was previously holding the coconut milk, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the custard begins bubble and thicken (you’ll know. it’ll go from watery to thick enough that your whisk makes tracks). Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and let sit until cool. Give it a good stir, and store in an airtight container in the fridge if you made it ahead.

Pour the custard into the completely cooled crust. Thinly slice 2 apples of choice, and drop them in a bowl of lemon water to prevent browning while slicing. In a small bowl, thin the raspberry jam with a few tbsp of water and lemon juice (I used the leftover from my apple-soaking water). Fan the apple slices across the surface of the custard, brush with the raspberry jam mixture to prevent excess browning. Cover and refrigerate if not eating immediately!

Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered, but don’t expect it to stay in one piece! The custard is runny — best advice (and I definitely put this into practice) is to just eat it with a spoon, straight out of the pie plate. For breakfast! Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Spinach. On. The. Ceiling?!

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Did I tell you that vaccuum vati found a piece of spinach on the kitchen ceiling the other day? 

Yeahhhh. That happened. How on earth did I manage that?! Welcome to my life: “Hello, my name is Hayley and I am obsessed with spinach!” I toooold you I put spinach where it didn’t belong, but um I had no idea it had gotten on the ceiling..?! I mean, I know I eat it multiple times a day, but that must have been some pretty ferocious chopping. You know, like Chopped Kitchen type of chopping.

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On. The. Ceiling. The mind boggles. 

Anyway.

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Today’s post has nothing to do with spinach and everything to do with apples. Mmm. Appleeesssssss. I feel like the witch in the Wizard of Oz when I say that… 

This tart is simple, good for your body, and good for your soul. It’s not very sweet–if you’re looking for a sweet dessert, this isn’t it. But I like it for a mid-meal snack post workout… or dessert, since I like mine less sweet anyway. I liked it with some added applesauce, and a few pieces of chopped date. It’s gluten free, vegan if you sub out the honey for maple, and contains no refined sugar. Hooray! I made it on a day that was cloudy and overcast, perfect for apples and baking. Simple, beautiful, and good for the soul. 

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And here. Happy Monday, here’s something beautiful! Have a wonderful day :) 

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Apple-Almond Tart 

Recipe lightly adapted from Tales of a Kitchen, here! This makes one full-sized tart/pie, depending on the pan you use. I would recommend a pie pan, as the crust is very crumbly—I don’t think it would come out of a tart pan too well. Next time I make this I think I’ll add dates to the crust instead of honey—I’d like it to be a bit crustier, less crumbly. But still delicious as is! Serves 8. 

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Laze around with me on a cloudy Sunday and produce the following:

  • 1 c oat flour
  • 1 c almond meal/flour (I grind my own from an equal amount of almonds in the food processor)
  • 1/2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 apples, cored, peel on (I used fuji and daisy girl)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 5-6 tbsp almond meal
  • 2 apples, finely sliced, peel on

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used a pie pan). 

In a large bowl, combine oat flour, almond meal, coconut, coconut oil, honey, and lemon zest. Mash it all together (ideally using your hands, it’s much more fun) until combined. Press the resulting mixture into the prepared pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork, and bake for 9-10 minutes, until lightly browned. When done, set it aside to cool slightly.

While the crust is baking, toss cored apples, cinnamon, and vanilla into the food processor (or blender). Blend until a smooth puree is reached. Toss this into a bowl, and stir in 5 tbsp almond meal. If it’s not thick enough and is still a little watery, add another tbsp of almond meal. Pour the filling into the slightly cooled crust, and arrange the finely sliced apples in a pretty pattern (this is very soothing, I found). 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until your house smells delicious and the apples are a golden brown. Let cool before slicing, and store in the fridge! Excellent with a little extra applesauce, or I’m sure whipped coconut cream would be delicious as well, if you can be that on top of things (unlike me). 

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Baking > Stress Butterflies

mmm, antioxidants!

I warned you about the baking itch, did I not? Or wait. Let’s be real: the stress baking prior to my thesis presentation on Tuesday! Butterflies, I will defeat you with copious amounts of baked goods! So there. Baked goods and lots of yoga. Stress ain’t got nothin’ on downward dog. (Or this is what I will tell myself, ha)

So, since I had a spare afternoon yesterday relatively unexpectedly, I made a tart! Because what else am I supposed to do with that time? That’s right, I thought you’d agree that a tart is clearly the superior option.

This tart was/is delicious! I’m so pleased with myself since I winged bits of it, and threw a bunch of elements together into a credible whole. YAY! Love when that happens. The flavors all work really well together, and it’s even semi-healthy! Or at least not bad for you… I’m sure I can come up with some nutritional benefits: coconut is always good; the crust is vegan; blueberries contain LOTS of antioxidants, and cardamom has some spice-type benefit, I’m sure. And it gave me another excuse to use my tart pan, and that awkward half bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer.

AND I baked it whilst wearing one my pearl necklaces. Which made me feel lots like Julia. Especially when my tart turned out fabby! Don’t forget, you’re all alone in the kitchen! Bonnnnnn Apetit!

crust! I always have fun with my tart pan...

Blueberry Tart with Coconut-Cardamom Pastry Cream and Almond Crust

Makes one 9″ tart. I used a really basic crust recipe, and adapted the pastry cream from Delicious Shots, here! Assembly is really easy, and the chilling times are probably the longest part of this recipe. Fresh blueberries would be wonderful, but frozen work just as well—I defrosted them in the fridge and then in the counter for a bit. The crust is suuuper crumbly, but don’t worry, you can press it into the tart pan and it’ll behave.

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Tart Crust:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1.5 tbsp almond paste
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

In  a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add in butter and almond paste until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add water until the dough comes together. Don’t worry if it’s crumbly—mine was, and turned out fine. Shape into a disc, and wrap in plastic. Let it chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out to 1/8″ thickness on a floured surface, and press it into your tart pan, evening out the sides as you go. Prick the bottom with a fork, and line with foil and weights (I used rice. Beans are fine too, or pie weights if you’re swanky and have cool kitchen tools like that). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Mine went for 20 with the weights, and then 5 without them. I’m sort of a crust noob, so mine seem to come out ‘needing improvement’. Granted, I usually think they taste great… this one maybe could have used a tablespoon-ish more Earth Balance, perhaps?

cardamom flecks!

Coconut-Cardamom Pastry Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp cardamom, depending on preference (I used more like 1/2, since Kira and I are cardamom nuts)

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar until light yellow in color. Toss in the cornstarch and the flour, and whisk until combined. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk, vanilla, and cardamom, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Temper the milk mixture by pouring it in a steady stream over the egg yolks/sugar, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once the two are completely incorporated, pour the mix back into the saucepan, and bring to a boil again, still stirring constantly (Sorry. Lots of stirring. But oh hey, arm workout!). The custard will start looking thick and your whisk will make tracks. Boil for just one or two minutes, and then remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool. I used a shallow one, so it would cool faster… and place a bit of plastic wrap or sandwich baggie over the surface to prevent a skin forming. Once cool, place in the fridge for further chilling.

tart. Sans antioxidants.

Assembly! (Aka the best part)

  • Fruit of choice. I recommend blueberries… I used about 5 oz, or half a bag of frozen.

Pour the custard into the cooled crust, and smooth it out until it looks pretty…and then top with fruit! Easy peasy. And delicious. And looks like you put so much more work into it than you actually did. Shhh, I won’t tell :)

Best eaten the day it’s made, but it still makes excellent (if not quite as aesthetic) leftovers. Store in the fridge!

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Tarting up February!

mmmm, CRUST!

I like to think I know myself pretty well, in terms of food-type oddities and  proclivities. As such, I know that February irritates me. It’s such a bleh month in the middle of everything, and there is a distinct lack of interesting produce. I’ve already gone nuts over squash, waaaay back in the fall… I love sweet potatoes but I eat them all the time anyway…and there is a depressing amount of fruit available. As in, local and seasonal fruit, if you please (Besides, strawberries in winter just look sad. All pale and anemic. I would much rather eat them in the summer, thankyouverymuch).

BUT.

I discovered a solution to this problem.

Waaay back in September, over Labor Day weekend, I procured some fresh peaches (thanks, Dave Lakey!). I fought the urge to eat them immediately, and instead sliced them up and threw them into the freezer. All neat and nicely labeled, I was determined that they would remain in there, until the dead of winter (aka February), when nothing grows and I was itching for some summer fruit. Genius, clearly.

Over the weekend, when I spent a bit more time thinking about/researching/drooling over pie and tart recipes than actually thesising, I realized the time for peaches had arrived! And oooooh was that a good decision…

THIS. Is what happened.

peeeeachesss!

Fresh peaches in February! Can you ask for anything better? It’s like summer in a bite. And a healthy bite, no less! The crust has healthy fats from olive and canola oil, and the custard is made with yogurt instead of cream. And fruit is the most important part! It’s totally justifiable to have this for breakfast.

okay, so the pictures of this weren't super fantastic... but the crust was beautiful! clearly my favorite part.

Peach Custard Tart

Crust is slightly adapted from the Garden of Eden blog, and the custard is adapted from Eating Well, here. Makes one 11” tart.

For the crust (most low maintenance tart crust EVER):

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 2 tbsp milk of some kind (I used plain soymilk)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar (no need to sift). In another small bowl, whisk together olive and canola oil, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add liquid into dry, and gently stir until just combined (be careful not to overstir). Gather this up and plunk it down into your tart pan (in the absence of a tart pan, a pie dish is fine)… then flatten the dough on the bottom and up the sides by pressing gently with the flats of your fingers (this is the fun part!). Try to get it to an even thickness all around and up the sides, about 1/8″.

messy, but delicious.

For the filling!

  • 4-5 peaches, sliced (mine were frozen. I ran them under cool water until I could separate them into slices, but didn’t defrost the completely to prevent peach mush)
  • 3/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 c lowfat plain yogurt*
  • 3/4 c milky beverage (soymilk again for me)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp organic cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

*The original recipe called for greek yogurt… but Kira and I, being the frugal/practical types that we are, decided to try it with regular yogurt, since that was what we had on hand. Excellent decision, as it turned out deeelicious. Either type is fine!

This is ridiculously easy: dump all the above ingredients in a bowl (except peaches), and whisk until smooth. See? Easy.

I told you the crust was pretty!

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange the peaches around the bottom of the crust (they don’t have to look pretty). Pour the custard over the top, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the edges with foil to prevent excess browning (I did a rather ineffectual job, but I like the rather caramelized edges, so… not a big deal!). Reduce oven temperature to 350, and pop it back into the oven for another 40 minutes to an hour. Mine was done at about an hour and 10 minutes—I checked it at 40, and then put it back in for 15 minute intervals. You want a knife to come out clean when inserted into the center. Let cool before eating, about an hour and a half, to make sure the custard has time to set.

This is EXCELLENT cold. In fact, I think it might be better cold the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other. It is also excellent with a blob of vanilla ice cream, of course.

uh oh... evidence!

Tart-tastic Antioxidants!

mmm, antioxidants!

I’m feeling less than creatively humorous today…It must be on account of all of the holiday sweets I’ve been consuming lately. Oops. Whatever, that’s not stopped me from baking like a crazy! Really, does anything ever stop me? … Correct answer: No.

BUT.

Bring on the healthy (ish) dessert! I win, I win!! Delicious AND nutritious (or hey, I can at least tell myself that, right?!). I sort of needed a break from all of the layer cakes. A short break, mind you, but a break none the less. In comes the tart! This tart is sort of a combination of a rice pudding and a tart crust, but it’s vegan! Which is awesome, as I’d like to get into more vegan baking (I find it intriguing). Besides, I LOVE rice pudding, and this definitely qualifies. It’s also really akin to a sticky rice dessert, which I ALSO LOVE (are we seeing a trend here?!), which therefore also makes it delicious.

On the nutritious side, it has a mostly minimal amount of fat in it—coconut oil is good for you, anyway! It also is made with black rice (sometimes known as Forbidden Rice, as only the emperor of China was allowed to eat it for the benefit of his longevity), which has more of the antioxidant antohcyanin than blueberries! It’s high in fiber, iron, and an excellent source of minerals. AND Kind of can’t go wrong, when I’m eating antioxidants for dessert! No wonder the emperor was so protective of his rice. But the common people have it now, so ha! Besides all that, it is a gorgeous purple color. Which makes my eyes AND my stomach happy. Everyone wins. Including the gremlins that hang out in my stomach, as we know they loooove color.

But wait. There is even more nutritionalness to be found in this dessert! The crust is made with whole grains and cashews (which contain the same oleic acid–monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil), and coconut oil, which is insanely good for you (the lauric acid is an antioxidant, among a million other things).

Okaaayyy. Enough with the nutrition lesson. I just really had to convince you how good this is for you… so that you’ll go home and make it. It’s fab, you won’t regret it. And then eat a slice. Or two. Or five. And revel in the fact that you’re making your body happy! It will thank you later :)

mmm, antioxidants

Black Rice Tart

From NeverHomeMaker, original here! (and their blog is fab, check it out!). Makes one tart.

For the crust:

  • 1/3 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (because it’s good for youuu!)
  • 1/8 tsp/a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp lavender (we grow our own)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the sticky rice

  • 2 c water
  • 1 c black rice, uncooked
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I used light from Trader Joe’s and it turned out fine!)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes

Whatcha do!

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease a tart pan (or a pie dish—my tart pan is in Salem, so that’s what I used).

In a food processor, process the cashews and 1/4 c rolled oats until finely ground. Add the rest of the oats, lavender and salt, pulsing to combine. I left some slightly larger chunks. Pour into a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Once melted, stir in vanilla and brown sugar, and simmer over a low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Mine looked weirdly separated/congealed, but turned out fine. Pour the hot syrup over the dry ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Press the crust into your pan of choice, making sure to cover the bottom and go up the sides a ways. Bake for 5 minutes, then let cool. When cool enough, let it set in the refrigerator.

While the crust is cooling, start the water for the rice. When it boils, add rice, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, and coconut flakes, and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes more. I stirred continuously (it makes for meditative thinking time, hehe), but I’m not entirely sure this is necessary—occasional stirring would likely be okay. Transfer the pudding to a bowl, and let cool. Chill briefly in the fridge before using. Once chilled, pour the pudding into the tart shell, and chill until serving. I topped mine with more shredded coconut.

It was deeeelicous! Mine had a little trouble coming out of the dish cleanly—my crust was rather sticky. Next time… more coconut oil to grease the dish. It was a bit more like a crumble than a tart slice, but ridiculously tasty nonetheless, so I wasn’t complaining ;)

Operation Release the Tart!

Finals?

What finals?

I’ve come to the conclusion (through careful analysis and methodological research) that I spend far more time baking, cooking, and planing what I’m going to bake and cook than I do actually studying. Oops. Whatever, I did well on my finals, so there! Besides, at least I know where my priorities are… food. And prohibitively (or not…apparently this isn’t stopping me) expensive active wear. As a close friend pointed out, I have been known to drop semi-ridiculous amounts on a pair of yoga pants, but there is no way on this earth that I would ever spend that same amount on a pair of jeans. Ha. Like I said, I have my priorities.

Anyway. To illustrate this ridiculousness (no, not the yoga pants…anyone who sees me on a regular basis is fully aware that they comprise a good 75% of my wardrobe), I’ll give you the example of *the * tart. I’ve been eyeing my tart pan with a removable bottom (a genius invention, might I add) for about three months. And thinking about it, likely when I should have been paying attention to some theory or other. Thusly: Kira and I stumbled upon a tart in my La Boulange cookbook, that combined several of our favorite ingredients, and which looked like it could fly us to gastronomical heaven in about one bite.

gorgey dough

So. On Sunday, when we went grocery shopping, we bought the necessaries… goat cheese… creme fraiche… mushrooms… and BUTTER. (and hilariously ran into my painting professor, who then subsequently remembered that I bought creme fraiche, and asked  me if I was eating my way through the store. Duh. What on earth would I be doing instead?!) I have spent ALL WEEK up until today greedily awaiting the tart to be, to the point of pretending it was Thursday (aka Tart-Day), so I could make it earlier. But… I waited! Aren’t you proud? I satisfied myself with making the dough yesterday, so I could pretend to do something useful and productive besides studying. I did this after going to happy hour at the Wild Pear for a Peartini… And then I made dinner. And then I was tired, so I went to bed. Hmm. Being a senior is mildly exhausting. Teehee.

ANYWAYYY. I digress. Today was THURSDAY! TART DAY! The day I’ve been waiting for alllllll week, since my finals/semester is donezies (wheee!), and I got to make and eat this fab tart. And it was fab, believe me… Kira can attest, since after we ate it, we had to do some serious lying on the floor working on digesting. It was that good. I mean, I know it sounds a little sketchy, but just trust me. Such a gastronomical tasty win. Even better: We have TWO tupperwares of leftovers. Hellooooo, cold tart. Mmmm, you are going to be so delicious when I eat you. For every meal. Until you’re gone. At which point I will be terribly sad but probably also day-dreaming about the next gastronomical adventure. I’m just fickle like that.

creme fraiche is a beautiful thing

Tarte aux Champignons et Fromage de Chevre

From The American Boulangerie Cookbook. Makes… one tart, in an 11″ tart pan (or you could make smaller ones).

I found it easier to make the dough the night before, and then roll it out and put in the pan, so that it was ready to fill the night we wanted to eat it. Makes the dinner a little simpler.

Pate Brisee

  • 2.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 oz (10 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ chunks (I happened to use sweet cream butter and it was still amazing—it was what we had around)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c cold water
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

In the bowl of a standmixer (hello Kitchenaide I LOVE YOU!) fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add cold butter and mix on low speed, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (1-1.5 minutes). Add egg, cold water, and lemon juice, and mix until large lumps form. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead with the heel of your hand until the dough holds together. Shape it into a disc, and wrap it in plastic wrap (I stuck in a plastic bag). Refrigerate for at least and hour or overnight. I did mine for an hour and then rolled it out.

On  lightly floured work surface, roll out chilled dough (this is probably sacrilegious to the baking gods, but I zapped mine in the microwave next to a bowl of water for 15 seconds, to get it a little less dry to roll out. It seemed to work, and didn’t compromise the flakiness of the dough later). Try to roll it out to about 1/8″ thickness, and carefully transfer to the tart pan. Remove excess, and prick the bottom with a fork. Cover with foil or plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or overnight (mine was overnight).

The TART!

  • 1 pound mushrooms (we used half cremini and half white button)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 c creme fraiche
  • 8 oz log of goat cheese, cut crosswise into 1/4″ rounds (ish, mine were inexact) (we also used a honey chevre, which was aaaaa-mazing)
  • 1 chilled, unbaked tart shell

Slice the mushrooms, reserving the 12 prettiest slices for a garnish. In a large saute pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms until they render their juices, and then until most of the juice is absorbed. Ours had a bit too much juice, so we drained them prior to use. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread 1/2 c of creme fraiche into the bottom of the chilled tart shell. Top it with sauteed mushrooms, and then with the goat cheese rounds. Garnish with the reserved mushroom slices, and then dollop (what a great word) the tart with the remaining 1/4 c of creme fraiche. Bake immediately until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, 25-30 minutes (ours was more like 30). Let cool in the pan, on a wire rack (do not attempt to release the tart while it’s still hot… it’s a bit difficult, and may require 2 people…) (whatever. we were hungry). Serve with salad and bread, mmmmm.

I am DEFINITELY making this again. As soon as I get my hands on more goat cheese.

it kind of looks like pizza. believe me, it's not.