Good Morning! How was your weekend? Did you get out for Fall walks and smiling at the glorious colors of the season? The leaves are just beginning their color dance. The park across from is showing visible signs of orange and pale yellowish green. I think by the time Halloween rolls around the leaves will match the hues of the pumpkins!
Meanwhile, I am happy for days like yesterday with crisp, clear skies, a warm sun and lots of exploring. In a quest to explore more of legendary Brooklyn, I poked through parts of Williamsburg aiming to go to Egg for brunch. The walk was lovely and I happened of several shops that caught my curiosity and I must return for a proper perusal. Egg itself was an odd experience. I had heard highly about and chose the place to finally try with a friend. But after an weird wait list schedule and a oddly managed process of having both empty tables and long lines, we left disappointed with the food. But, not to be dampened by that experience, Mast Brothers next door calmed us with lovely truffles and brownies. Much recommended. Mast Brothers like Dandelion Chocolates of SF, perform their entire process from bean to bar on premises. They offer tours within the facility every day. I was too late for the one yesterday but plan to go back.
From there, it was on Lower East Side again. I did say it was my favorite place to go! This time it was far East to Tompkins Park. There were hockey league games on,which, were fun to watch, strolls, chats. brief stop at The Bowery Hotel and then a leisurely tea in the garden of
. Both places are fab watering holes and on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Bowery is old school, vaulted ceiling, Victorian decor. The Standard is chic, contemporary and garden is distinctly Alice in the Wonderland with pink and green wrought iron tables and astro turf but lined with real glorious hedge plants. A good old ramble for the day indeed!
Ok, well, let's talk about the recipe for today. Tarts were my favorite until the whole gluten avoidance through it into a loop. Lately, I have decided that I cannot let tis gluten this hold me hostage and I must find ways around it. On which topic, btw, Shauna of Glutenfree Girl is running a Kickstarter to fund selling her gluten free flour blends. Such a great idea to do that and you know it is carefully unprocessed and tested to work great!
Anyway, back to my experiments, my only constraint was that I did not want to use xanthum gum. I have list for why not but it is irrelevant. I just did not. I wanted to use something less processed essentially, be it corn or any other grain. I of course use psyllium a lot and lately, I have discovered the greatness of potato starch. If you are starting with gluten free baking, I recommend this post about gluten replacers.
For the flour, there are a variety, but not all taste good. In fact from trial and error, I realized some taste really awful! Bean and rice flours are the most difficult to work with. Rice leaves a papery dry texture in my mouth. I have yet to try sweet sticky rice flour and that will be next. So far, my best work on baking has been with nut flours, ground corn, chickpea, oat and millet flours. Almonds of course are a staple and there are umpteen baking recipes using ground almonds.
But, have you noticed, nuts are expensive! The other day, I was musing that gluten free life is a tad pricey and then realize with a smack that it was a brilliant way to moderate consumption! I mean, I really do not need to have cake or sweet tarts everyday. Yes, with wheat I could afford to do that but I neither ate them nor was it good for me. So, these days, I am lot more considerate of what I bake. This is also the reason, I am trying to find worktables with cheaper and more easily accessible flours. For example Teff is supposed to be fantastic but at $8 a pound, I cannot afford to eat it regularly. On the other hand, rice flour is really cheap and if I can work a way around its dryness, I think I will be very very happy!
Anyway, in one of those moments of worthiness, I made this almond tarts. Also, this was a recycling of the pulp I get out of making almond milk. This way, I get twice the value for the quantity of almonds. The milk and a baked product. Make the pulp into the flour is easy but slightly tedious. You have to dry the pulp in a low oven for a few hours until crusty and then process to a dust. The dust does not taste much like almonds but when baked has all the lovely elements of almonds.
I kept the filling simple. I found a shop selling sheep yogurt which works better for my system than cow dairy and also it has slight nutty note to it. It goes well with cardamom and the almond crust. Topped with season's last peaches, it was a divine treat!
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Almond Tarts with Peach and Cardamom Yogurt
For the crust:
1 cup almond meal
1 yolk + 1/2 egg white
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T honey
1 tsp psyllium, ground
1/4 tsp salt
4 T butter, melted
2 T almond milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
For the filling:
1/2 cup sheep yogurt
2 T honey
2 cardamom pods, crushed
2 ripe peaches, sliced
Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix all the ingredients together. It will form a crumbly mixture.
Press into two four inch tart molds. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and it holds together as a shell.
Remove from molds and cool completely.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, honey and ground cardamom. Divide the yogurt mixture between the two shells and arrange the peach slices on top. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Before serving, drizzle with more honey if desired and top with crushed almonds.