I’m really trying to embrace the gluten-free thing. Some days are a piece of cake (not literally unfortunately). Others are torturous. And some just really seem unfair. Still, we make the best of what we’ve got, right?
Here has what being gluten-free has taught me so far:
1. eating out is a pain
2. no more beer (this has to be the hardest to deal with yet)
3. always read the label
4. gluten-free pasta tastes like rubber
5. gluten free pizza is extra crispy
6. and gluten-free tart shells? Well, they are kind of fantastic.
For the first time in my baking career, I had the pleasure of working with black pastry dough. Of course it baked up much lighter, but the initial colour was this very dark, greenish-black that was flecked with tiny specks of light green, pinkish-red, and creamy yellow flecks of butter. I have to say, I think I really enjoyed it.
In Greece, we aren’t very clued up on the whole “without gluten” concept just yet. Luckily for me I was able to find a single brand of flour in the grocery store that I could eat… but YIKES, it was 6 euros!!! For flour that’s just a joke. What am I going to do though, just put nuts every where? That gets really heavy.
In all fairness, I’ve been missing baked pastry so much that this was really worth the money.
…and the tart? Oh my goodness! Mel & I ate nearly the whole thing as soon as it was ready. He says he prefers the almond, ricotta & pear tart from earlier this week. Me though, I prefer the lightness of this one. Also, you can’t beat the combination of strawberries & pistachios together. It’s almost like magic.
Ingredients, pastry: (makes two 20cm tarts)
– 185g gluten-free flour
– 125g raw, unsalted pistachios, shelled
– 50g sugar
– 105g unsalted butter, cold & cubed
– 1 egg yolk
– 45ml cold water
1. combine the flour, sugar & pistachios in a food processor & process on high until the pistachios become a fine powder. Add in the butter, and pulse until the butter is roughly the size of peas.
2. add the egg yolk & water to the mix, and process just until the dough becomes to come together. Remove from the processor, form a ball, wrap tightly in cling-film & refrigerate for an hour or more.
3. once chilled, roll the dough out on a floured surface & then line a 20cm round loose-bottomed tart tin that has been greased with it. Poke holes throughout the dough with a fork. Place the dough in the freezer whilst the oven preheats to 205°C.
4. blind bake the dough for 13-15minutes (or until the edges start turning golden), remove the weights, & then bake for a further 3-5 minutes until the rest of the crust starts to get a little colour.
5. allow the crust to cool completely before filling.
– 500g mascarpone
– 150g heavy cream
– 60g dark brown sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 lemon, zest only
– 1kg fresh strawberries
1. combine the cream, sugar, vanilla & zest in a bowl, give it a good mix & then set it in the fridge whilst the tart shell bakes. This will allow for the sugar to dissolve & the flavors to meld a little.
2. remove the bowl from the fridge, add in the mascarpone, and either with a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, mix on high until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat or it will begin to curdle.
3. divide the mascarpone evenly between the two tart shells, and with the back of a spoon, spread it evenly.
4. wash, dry & cut your strawberries any way you desire, and then arrange them over the mascarpone.
5. it’s ready to serve….. try not to eat the whole tart in one sitting!
*** most people prefer to beat the heavy cream separately & then fold in the rest of the ingredients. Personally I prefer to do them all together because I find that everything distributes evenly. Having done both ways countless times, I haven’t found that it makes much of a difference. ***
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