Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Pretty Healthy Lemon Tart

When my sore throat finally got better and my appetite returned, I wanted something good - really good!  I had two meyer lemons expiring in the fridge and I remembered a delicious lemon tart recipe that I got from a cooking class at our co-op, PCC Natural Markets, taught by Iole Aguero.  It is a very simple lemon tart in a buttery shell, decorated with powdered sugar - definitely of the quality you would find in a very good restaurant.  I found the recipe online for you, not on PCC's website, but on on a site called Tastebook.

I wanted to stay with my healthy eating program so I decided to make a few changes to the recipe, although I also remembered the frustration I had working on the Cooking with Coconut post when a "healthy" recipe turned out not to be tasty.  I decided not to go all out on the modifications.

First, I found a recipe for a paleo pie crust at Food Republic.  It sounded good and looked good in the photos, and I hoped the addition of tapioca starch to the almond and coconut flours would help it look and taste a bit more like a regular wheat flour crust.  I zipped it up in the food processor and when it didn't seem to "come together" into a dough ball, I added a few teaspoons of ice water, pulsing in between, just as I would do with regular pie crust.  After 4 teaspoons of ice water, the dough still didn't form a ball, but when I pinched it with my fingers it seemed to stick together well enough.  I  then used Iole's method of patting the crust into the tart pan instead of rolling it out.  This seems to work fine and avoids that moment when it breaks as you're transferring it into the pan.

For the filling, I followed Iole's recipe with two changes.  Instead of 1/2 cup of flour, I used the same amount of a Brown Rice Mix from Epicurious that I had made some time ago and have used successfully in other recipes where a little flour is called for.  It's a mix of brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour.  I think a mixture like Bob's Red Mill gluten-free baking mix would probably work in this as well.

I also substituted sucanat for 1/2 cup of the 1 1/2 cups of sugar called for.  I used regular white sugar for the other cup. I'm glad I didn't use more succanat because, although it doesn't taste any different, succanat is brown and the filling turned out just a bit more brown than the yellow it usually is.  (Even the regular recipe is never as yellow as those fake-looking lemon pies you see in some restaurant pie cases.)  My friend Charla commented on the Cooking with Coconut post that she loves coconut sugar.  I bet that would be perfect in this recipe, and I'll try it next time.  Thanks Charla!

Iole mentioned a tip to avoid spilling the filling while putting the tart into the oven - keep back the last bit of the filling and pour it into the tart after it's in the oven.  Duh!  How many times have I sloshed pie filling over the crust and sometimes even onto the oven?  More than a few.

I used regular powdered sugar to sprinkle on after the tart was cool.  It doesn't actually look as good without it, and I couldn't think of a substitute.  Also remember, I was hungry for something really good!  Here's how it turned out.  Stan and I were both satisfied.  The crust tasted a bit coconutty and buttery and the filling was as delicious as ever.

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