Fresh strawberry tart with almond and spelt crust

I am very very lucky that at my job there are a lot of cookbooks hanging around. My colleagues often get sent more than one copy of a new book when it’s released meaning that there are spares lying around untouched. I tend to eye these up for a few days before plucking up the courage to ask if it’s okay to take one home.

One that recently caught my eye was Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Wholefoods Kitchen. The warm, homely lighting of the photos is gorgeous and there is a whole section dedicated to fruity, seasonal tarts that I found myself perusing in bed at 1am. Not only did these sweet tarts look amazing, the recipes looked relatively simple too.

This is a bit of a mish mash of two of Amy’s tart recipes. I used strawberries as they are in abundance at the moment and served it with a dollop of coconut yoghurt (as I was too rushed for time to make the custard filling, something I look forward to trying next time).

This is as simple and quick as it gets. You can make the crust the night before and leave it in the fridge before cooking the next day if you wish.

I found it is almost like a big strawberry topped biscuit as the base is nice and crunchy. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a day or so but the base will become slightly soggy (which I also quite like, weirdly).

I adapted this very slightly from Amy’s original recipes. I found I needed more of everything (perhaps my case was slightly bigger) and I added the lemon essence, which I would definitely recommend.

Fresh strawberry tart adapted from At Home in the Wholefoods Kitchen

SERVES

6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

120g whole almonds (90 ground, 30 chopped)
50g oats
½ tsp. salt
35g brown rice flour
80g spelt flour
4 tbsp. coconut oil, softened
4 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla essence
2 tsp. lemon essence

For the topping

420g fresh strawberries
240ml apple juice
1 tsp. agar flakes
1 ½ tsp. arrowroot powder
2 tbsp. coconut sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon essence
Lemon zest (optional)

METHOD

First roast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 150oC (fan oven). Lay the almonds out on a lined baking tray in a single layer and put them in the oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, give them a stir and toss them a little and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes until you can smell a lovely toasty flavour. Leave to cool.

Prepare the loose-bottomed tin by lining the bottom with greaseproof paper and oil the sides and bottom with a little bit of melted coconut oil or olive oil.

To make the crust grind 90 grams of the almonds in a food processor with the oats and salt until coarsely ground.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the brown rice and spelt flours.

Roughly hand-chop the remaining almonds and add them to the mixture.

Add the coconut oil (soften it first) and use a fork and your fingers to mix everything together fully.

Add the maple syrup, lemon and vanilla essence and mix again so that everything is combined. The pastry should be moist but not sticky.

Use your hands to press the pastry evenly into the prepared tin. Try to make it even and push the mixture up the sides as well.

Prick the bottom of the tart several times with a fork. You can leave this in the fridge overnight and cook it the next day or bake immediately.

To cook the tart, put it in the oven at 180oC (fan oven) for 18 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To make the filling, hull the strawberries, slice them lengthways and set aside.

Place the apple juice and agar into a pan. Bring to the boil over a high heat whisking continuously. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer for a few minutes until all of the agar flakes have dissolved.

In a small bowl dissolve the arrowroot in 1 ½ tablespoons of apple juice. Add this to the apple juice mixture, turn the heat up a bit and whisky until everything has thickened slightly. Once this has happened, take the pan of the heat and cover while you prepare the strawberries.

Put the strawberries in a big bowl and add the coconut sugar, vanilla and lemon essence and toss to combine.

Pour the warm apple juice mixture over the strawberries and use a spoon to quickly and gently mix everything so that the strawberries are all coated.

Pour the strawberries into the cooled pastry case and put in the fridge to allow the glaze to set (about half an hour).

Grate some lemon zest over the top if you fancy.

Keep the tart in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with coconut yoghurt or natural yoghurt drizzled with maple syrup.

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