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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

date almond praline tart

date almond praline tart

This was the last dessert that I baked in my old oven.  Since then my kitchen has been undergoing a major renovation and is still not finished. I have greatly missed posting recipes and sharing thoughts on the food that inspires me. I think the most striking thing I have learned in this period of transformation is that I actually really need to cook and that cooking not only nourishes me creatively but also grounds me. I really can’t live without it and I can’t imagine life without my own kitchen again!
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coconut layer cake

coconut layer cake

I have been wanting to share this, my most famous cake with you for a whole year; after all it is what inspired half of the name coconut and quinoa. Part of the duo that helped brainstorm the name of this blog (some of you know him as Mr. Weiss) had been promised this cake for a very long time (and the other half of the duo, had been eagerly awaiting too!) (more…)

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our leased apple tree

our leased apple tree

Apple orchards are magical and enchanted places. When I bite into the first perfectly crisp apple of the season, whether at the green market or standing in an orchard, I laspe into a daze: what it is about that tart, musky flavor that enchants me? Where does it take me? There’s something magical in that mystery as I can never put my finger on it. (more…)

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strawberry custard tart

strawberry custard tart

I have a visitor arriving tonight; she’s one of my oldest friends. Our connection began at her kitchen table when I was four years old and she was a mother of three. I used to draw pictures while she cooked and baked for the many children and friends that passed through her home.
Now she’s a meditating world traveler, dividing her time between India, Holland and Bali.

She visits me wherever I live: we have baked cakes together at 6 am in Amsterdam, catered parties in London, and as I prepare this tart for her in New York I reflect on how my life has changed since we last cooked together in my kitchen. It has been a long time since I made her a birthday cake and deciding on what kind it would be took days of rumination.

In the midst of my usual flurry of activity before her arrival, cleaning and beautifying the house, shopping for her favorite tea, making up a bed and trying to get to the farmers market before the rain did, I reached a verdict. The fact that it’s peak strawberry season confirmed the tart below.

first piece

first piece

I have been making versions of this strawberry tart since my career in pastry began, but this one was going to be special. Organic macadamias left from my last trip to Australia and vanilla beans from you-know-where, create the base for this rich custard filling sans dairy.
I decided on a toasted coconut cookie crust, and this paired with fresh local strawberries and the macadamia vanilla bean custard created a tart that turned out delicate and refreshing, leaving us feeling light and elated; not heavy and regretful.
I use agar agar to set the custard and arrowroot to thicken it. The right amount and combination makes for a perfect consistency.
If you don’t get a chance to make this while the strawberries are around, use blueberries or raspberries.

Full name:
Strawberry Macadamia Vanilla bean Custard Tart with Toasted Coconut Cookie Crust

Crust
2 ½ cups dried coconut flakes (unsweetened) * see note
¼ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups whole spelt flour
large pinch finely ground sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (mild tasting)
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If you can’t get coconut flakes, use dessicated coconut reducing amount to 1  1/2 cups

Custard filling
¾ cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked in a cup of water while making the crust
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons filtered water
1 vanilla bean, split
¼ cup brown rice syrup
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons agar flakes
pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons filtered water

Strawberry topping
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon apple cider
½ teaspoon agar flakes
½ teaspoon arrowroot
1 quart fresh strawberries, cut in quarters
1 teaspoon maple sugar or other dry sweetener
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust
Pre-heat oven to 310 degrees, use a convection setting if you have one.
Spread coconut onto a baking sheet and toast for 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Place in a food processor with oats, spelt flour and salt. Blend until it’s a coarse flour-like texture, about a minute.
Place in a bowl add the olive oil and mix well, use your hands or a fork. Drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla and mix until completely combined. You should have a nice moist dough that isn’t sticking to your hands too much. If it is just add a little more flour.
Oil a 9-inch spring form cake pan. Press crust to about ¼-inch thick alittle over half way up the sides of the pan, see photo below.

pressing crust

pressing crust

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and smelling absolutely delicious. Set aside to cool.

Confession: I had a little dough left over and made 6 one inch jam dot cookies that I baked for 8 minutes. (sorry no photo proof)

Custard filling

Drain macadamias and place in a blender along with the 2 cups water. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes.
Place in a small-medium pot. Remove seeds from vanilla bean, using the tip of a small knife, add to the pot along with the pod. Also add rice syrup, maple syrup, agar and salt.
Place pot over high heat and whisk almost constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Whisking every 5 minutes or so.
Using a small spoon look closely at the custard mixture to see if all the agar flakes have dissolved. If not cover and simmer a couple more minutes.

agar, macadamia milk and vanilla bean

agar, macadamia milk and vanilla bean

In a cup place the arrowroot and remaining water mix well to dissolve, add to the simmering custard mixture and whisk until mix returns to a boil. Remove from heat. Mixture should be a heavy cream like consistancy. Let cool for 10 minutes, whisk again, then pour into baked crust. Once it has stopped steaming place in the fridge and chill until set, about 2 hours.

strawberries+tart

strawberries+tart

Strawberry Topping

Place ½ cup cider and agar in a small pot, whisk and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until agar flakes are completely dissolved about 8 minutes. Dissolve arrowroot in remaining cider and whisk into simmering mixture. Once it returns to a boil remove from heat.
Place strawberries in a bowl, add the maple sugar and vanilla and toss gently. Pour over the glaze and mix with a rubber spatular until all the straws are coated with the glaze. Spread onto cooled tart and return to the fridge to set the glaze.
Serve cold.

Makes 8-9 pieces.

the end

the end

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