First off, if you missed this week’s newsletter, than you missed the whole story about me LOVING spending time in the kitchen and my whole hoop-la about “culinary experiences.”
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a great deal for in-season priced, ORGANIC blueberries at $1.99 a pop. A light-bulb went off in my head, and all it said was “baking…baking…baking.” I loaded up the car with exactly 72 pints of berries, popped open the laptop, and started brainstorming all the delicious things I could make with these antioxidant-filled, little nibbles. From blueberry fro-yo to coconut flour blueberry muffins, our house was filled with blueberry treats.
Here’s WHY I splurged and tips on why you can too:
- The blueberries were on sale AND organic. Whenever you can find a great deal on seasonal, organic fruit, buy a few extra and freeze them for later use.
- Baking is fun. It’s a great way to relieve stress, try something new, and fail (or succeed) with no judgement.
- Healthy sweet treats make great gifts. It was father’s day weekend and it made for a great gift for my bf’s pops.
- You get to enjoy eating good food. When you take the time to prepare and make delicious food, the experience in preparing it and eating it can be quite fabulous. A rare treat for a busy gal (or guy).
- Organic Blueberries – high in antioxidants and low in sugar. (Antioxidants help remove free radicals, or harmful waste from our bodies).
- Organic Lemon – adds great tang/zing. It’s a common ingredient in most pies because it balances the sweetness.
- Organic Coconut Flour – high in fiber and protein, and low in carbohydrates, coconut flour is a great GLUTEN FREE baking alternative that’s made from the coconut meat. It can’t be swapped 1:1 for regular flour, but you can find loads of great recipes out there to help you. Shop for it at health-food stores, online, and at Whole Foods.
- Organic Coconut Sugar (fair trade) – naturally low on the Glycemic Index table, coconut sugar is a great 1:1 swap for most recipes. It’s made from the coconut palm blossom and has a great caramalized taste. Shop for it at health-food stores, online, and at Whole Foods.
- Chia Seeds – loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids, this is great for anybody looking to up their energy. In fact, lots of endurance athletes eat them to keep hydrated. Shop for it at health-food stores, online, and at Whole Foods.
I’m always looking to expand my healthy dessert repertoire. Most tarts use flour and butter. I tried coconut flour crust instead and it came out like a short-bread vs. a flaky crust. Super delish, just different.
Most pies will use loads of sugar and a corn/tapioca starch to thicken the juice. I knew that this would be a minimal baking tart, so I decided to reach for the chia seeds, which make this funky gel-like consistency when they hit moisture.
> For those with dietary restrictions: it’s gluten-free, low in sugar, & dairy free
> For those that love delicious food: this is darn delicious, refreshing, and simple to make
Ingredients – Tart Filling:
7 cups blueberries
zest of 1 whole lemon
¼ cup + 1 tablespoons coconut sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¼ cup water
Ingredients – Tart Crust:
Adapted from Smart Eats.
½ cup sifted organic coconut flour
½ cup organic almond flour
2 eggs at room temperature
3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or honey)
¼ cup coconut oil (melted) – or organic butter
⅛ tsp sea salt
Steps – Tart Filling:
- In a cup, soak 1 T of chia seeds in ¼ cup water until gel forms (about 10 minutes).
- In a small sauce-pan over medium heat, combine 4 cups of blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and coconut sugar. Gently stir the ingredients with a rubber spatula and avoid puncturing the blueberries as much as possible. You’ll know it’s done when the juice is slightly thickened and the blueberries remain plump.
- Remove from the stove and stir in the soaked 1 T of chia seeds.
- Once thoroughly combined, pour into a large bowl. Fold in the remaining 3 cups of fresh blueberries. (I haven’t tried this with frozen berries, but you can give it a whirl).
- Fold in the remaining 1 T of chia seeds and combine thoroughly. Let it cool until room temperature on the counter.
Steps – Tart Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Whisk almond flour, eggs, coconut sugar, melted coconut oil, and sea salt in a large bowl.
- Sift the coconut flour over the wet ingredients and mix to form a dough.
- Knead the dough for about 1 minute. If it feels too soft to roll, add a bit more coconut flour.
- Form the dough into a ball and place between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll out to ~ ⅛” thick.
- Remove the top sheet of paper and place over a 11” tart pan (or three 4” mini tart pans).
- Gently press the dough into all edges of the pan and trim off any excess. NOTE: this isn’t like normal pie crust and may break. Simply do your best to roll out slabs and press them into the pan.
- Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent bubbling.
- Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove and cool.
Steps – Combining Filling and Tart Crust:
- Once the tart crust is completely cool, gently pour the room-temperature filling inside. Spread smooth with a spatula.
- Place in the refrigerator to cool and resettle (at least 1 hour).
Makes one 11” tart (or three 4” mini-tarts)