Thursday, September 17, 2009
Almost Gluten-Free Plum Tart
A lovely friend of the family gave me a big bag of Italian plums, so I made a couple of almost gluten-free tarts.
I do not have celiac's disease (as far as I know), but I avoid gluten and challenge myself to bake gluten-light, and/or gluten free. If you are gluten intolerant or allergic, you can use rice or millet flour instead of spelt flour. Spelt is actually very low in gluten, but it is not gluten-free. As a general rule, I also bake without cow's milk, but I do use butter.
This recipe is loosely adapted from a combination of recipes I no longer have on paper, but can vaguely call up from memory, and a couple that I found on the web: one from (glutinous) Epicurious and one from Gluten Free in South Africa.
This recipe makes enough dough for two 9 inch tarts. Preheat oven to 425. Important note: When you use flour that is gluten free, or almost gluten free, I recommend using a tart pan with a removable bottom if you want to easily cut pieces that stay in tact. Gluten free crusts crumble and disintegrate easily.
Tart Pastry Dough
2 cups white rice flour
1 cup white spelt flour (or a gluten free flour: millet, rice, quinoa, etc.)
1 stick plus 3 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into small 1/2 inch pieces (very cold or frozen)
1/3 cup organic sugar
2 packets of vanilla sugar (I brought these back from Germany, but you can probably find them in a European import store)
pinch of sea salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup almond or rice milk
4 pounds of Italian plums (or a big bowl full), pitted and quartered
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar + 2 packets of vanilla sugar (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
Juice from half a large lemon
Dough: Put the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl. I don't have a food processor, so I use two sharp knives and I cut the flour-butter mixture with one knife in each hand, chop chop chop, alternating hands, bringing the knives toward you until the little lumps are the size of breadcrumbs. This takes some time, but it's fun. Now, mix in the yolks with a big wooden spoon or your hands. I just use my hands. Much more efficient. Slowly mix in the milk, 2 tablespoons at a time until you can form the dough into a firm smooth ball that is not sticky. Divide the ball into two balls and set aside, or refrigerate until you're ready to bake. You can keep the pastry dough wrapped in plastic for several days in the fridge or frozen for a week or two. When you're ready, push the dough into the bottom of the pie pan with your fingers, spreading to cover bottom and sides. You may need to redistribute it a bit to cover all surfaces. Now, you're ready for the filling!
Bake: Bake at 425 for the first 15 minutes. Reduce to 350 for 30-40 minutes. Crust should be golden and plums bubbly. Allow to cool for at least a half hour.
Enjoy with coffee or tea!