Yup, I’m still alive. I have been doing plenty of baking over the past 6 months, but I haven’t felt much like blogging about it for various reasons. However, two things happened this weekend that have inspired me to write again! (1) My brother started a tumblr blog about his semester abroad in France (jealous!) and (2) I baked something that might actually be useful to people.
I had my (other) brother and his roommates who are in town visiting over for dinner Saturday. I asked if there was anything in particular they would like for dessert. My brother’s response: “Chocolate something is being requested. Lemon is also in great favor. Some lemon-chocolate hybrid would perhaps be spectacular.”
I am not generally a huge chocolate/lemon or even a chocolate/fruit fan, but I aim to please! I found several variations of a recipe for a lemon curd tart with a layer of chocolate ganache on the bottom that sounded… not bad. I thought the tartness of the lemon curd would go well with dark chocolate.
The only problem was that my brother doesn’t eat gluten.
Gluten-free breads and pastries often suck, no offense. I looked at a bunch of recipes for gluten-free pie crusts etc., but I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of ingredients I probably wouldn’t ever use again, like xanthum gum. So I poked around in my pantry and found some almond meal (from baking macarons) and chickpea flour (impulse purchase at the Italian Store) which are both gluten-free. I decided to take a regular sweet/short pasty crust recipe and substitute the almond and chickpea flours for the wheat flour. This could have turned out REALLY BADLY and I was very nervous while it was baking, but it actually came out tasting like… a sweet pastry crust. In fact, it turned out to be outright delicious! The texture and taste were both great and I would never have guessed it was made with random bean flour if I hadn’t baked it myself. Seriously folks, chickpea flour is awesome. Plus it is high in protein and fiber, so you can tell yourself that your dessert is healthy.
We ate the whole thing before I thought to take a picture, but it looked just like the picture from the recipe that was my inspiration (minus the beautiful cake stand):
Sweet Pastry Crust (Pâte Sucrée)
Adapted from www.joyofbaking.com.
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
Substitute 1/4 cup almond meal and a scant 1 1/4 cups chickpea flour (besan) for gluten-free
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Pulse butter in food processor or beat in electric mixer until softened. And the sugar and beat/process until light in color. Gradually add the egg and beat or process just until incorporated. Add the flour and salt (sifted together) all at once and beat or pulse just until the mixture forms a ball. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can roll out the dough or pat it evenly into the tart pan. The dough seemed stickier than usual with the chickpea flour so I patted mine. Prick crust and freeze for 15 minutes before baking (to prevent the crust from shrinking). Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the crust is golden and your kitchen starts to smell delicious (my very scientific way of knowing when baked goods are done). Let the crust cool completely before filling it with your choice of filling.
For the Lemon Chocolate Tart -
To make ganache, melt 4 ounces of chocolate over a double boiler and slowly whisk in warm cream until it reaches the consistency of a thick icing (about 1/4 cup). While still, warm, spread the chocolate into a thing layer in the bottom of the tart shell.
Make lemon curd - I like this recipe - and pour over chocolate layer. Let the tart chill in the fridge until firm.