Did I mention last time how P tends to stock the refrigerator? Well, this time he outdid himself! On a recent trip to Manish Market (the fruit market in Crawford) he got excited seeing all the juicy fruits and hauled them in kilos. When I visit Crawford Market, I know my tendency to go overboard so these days I make a list and try not to go beyond it. A good idea is to carry fewer cloth bags. I do not accept plastic bags or paper bags so this way I am forced to shop only as much as my two bags will hold.
P does not mind carrying more bags or lugging as much as I do. He is not a CI shopper like me but he has a weakness for fruits. The last trip meant a lot of stone fruits desserts at home. I am not complaining!
Two days after the cherries languished in the refrigerator awaiting their turn to be used up, P picked up the entire carton and placed it on the table, asking the kids to dig in. Jr.P in his excitement said, “You mean we can have as many cherries as we want just like that – plain?” It took me a moment to realize that I had not allowed them to relish the fruit at all! Every time I purchase cherries I end up making pies, cakes or tarts instead of letting anybody relish the taste of the fruit. I don’t act like this when its peaches or apples but cherries have this effect on me. It was good that Jr.P said that for I might have ended up a monster otherwise. I washed the cherries and told them to have as much as they wanted and that I would make a dessert later. They did not want 1.5 kgs so I did make a tart after all.
The tart is very simple. No refrigeration or rolling required for this one. You do need some nuts – almonds, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts – to get the crust right. Only rice flour does not hold the same magic. I tried hazelnuts this time, to see whether the gf girl can handle it. If you are allergic to nuts try sunflower seeds instead. There is no ‘right’ proportion or measurements used. I did make a note later of how much of each thing went into making the tart, but you have to go by feel. I use organic flours and find brown rice flour the best suited. Sorghum works too.
Dish: Thin crust, vegan, gluten free cherry tart
Yield: One 9″ tart + enough for another 6″ tart
Oven temperature: 160 deg. Celsius with fan
Ingredients for the crust:
Brown rice flour – 1.5 cups
Hazelnut flour – 1.5 cups
Any non-dairy milk – 1/3 cup
Flax meal – 2 tbsp.
Canola oil – 2 tbsp.
Corn syrup – 1 tbsp.
Raw cane sugar -2 tbsp.
Whisk flax meal in warm milk and set aside.
Blitz the flours and sugar together till mixed well. Empty into a wide mixing bowl.
Whisk canola oil, corn syrup, and milk together lightly or blitz for just a turn to get a creamy emulsion. Pour into the bowl along with the flour.
Mix with your hands well till you get a smooth dough. If needed add more milk by tablespoons. The dough should be soft but will not come together as well as dough made with white flour.
Now grease a 9″ tart pan lightly. Break the dough into crumbs and place it all over the pan. Pat it and press it so that it covers the whole pan in a thin layer, about 2mm thick, not more. I use a pav bhaji masher to pat the crumble. Using the back of a small bowl to press will work equally well. Press the dough over the sides and trim the overhang.
Poke with a fork randomly and place inside the refrigerator while you make the filling.
The filling is made up of fruits covered with a cake topping. First prepare the cake batter.
If you notice the ingredients, it is nothing but the crust with some baking powder and vanilla!
Brown rice flour – 1 cup
Hazelnut flour – 1/4 cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp.
Vanilla seeds, scraped from 1 pod
Raw cane sugar – 2 tbsps. (2 tbsps. more if you have a sweet tooth – this makes the tart perfect for us)
Non dairy milk – 1/2 cup (I use nut milk) + 1 tbsp. flax meal
Cashew yogurt or any other non-dairy yogurt – Almost 1/3 cup (Add enough to get a pourable batter)
Oil – 1 tbsp.
Blitz dry ingredients together. Set aside in a bowl.
Whisk flax meal into warm milk. Blitz all wet ingredients together.
Mix the wet into dry mixture of flours. Beat well to get a pourable batter. Adjust consistency by adding more cashew yogurt.
Preparing the fruit layer:
Wash and dry 3 cups of cherries. Pit them. I mixed a tbsp. of plum chutney I had prepared earlier this week for a tangy taste. Add a tbsp. of cornflour and 1 tsp. lime juice instead, along with a tbsp. of granulated sugar. Heat lightly till the cherries are well coated, upto 3 minutes. Cool.
Assembling the tart:
Remove the prepared pan from the refrigerator. Brush a layer of warm jam (optional) thinly. Now spread the prepared fruit evenly. Pour the cake batter without disturbing the fruits.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 deg. Celsius for about 40-50 minutes till the top is brown. Rotate skillet half way through baking. The topping will develop cracks and is perfectly natural. Insert a skewer to check for done-ness, if in doubt. If done, the tart will pull away from the edges.
Cool to room temperature before cutting. Cut in the pan itself and serve the tart with a dusting of vanilla sugar, cherries and vegan cream, if needed.
Best eaten cold. Tastes better if kept for a couple of hours.