So, it’s only taken me 5 months…but now I can finally say I’ve posted a recipe featuring lemon-thyme! I do use thyme a wee bit in my cooking, but not nearly as much as my favourites mint, coriander and parsley. Here, I’ve added lemon-thyme to a light summery strawberry tart with quick and easy roasted almond pastry.
Gluten-free, of course.
The almond studded pastry is rich, crumbly and gloriously short. This recipe requires you to simply press the dough into the tart case. ( I’ll save the pastry rolling for my next post, Christmas fruit mince pies!) You can make this tart in stages if you wanted to, making it that much easier to plan ahead for Christmas lunch. The tart pastry base can be made, pressed into the tin, then popped into the freezer all ready to bake on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, if you have time.
The topping is like a slightly thickened compote made with naturally sweet strawberries, a touch of tangy lemon…then the secret weapon, sprigs of fresh lemon-thyme. It’s not a dominant flavour by any means, more of a subtle almost indistinguishable perfumed note, that will leave people guessing. This too, can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. This tart transports really well, but leave assembly until you get to your destination as I’d hate to see the filling tip out while going around a sharp corner! Simply bake the tart shell, leave it in the tart case to transport along with a container of the filling. Too easy.
If you don’t fancy making a tart, the strawberry filling would be equally as nice spooned over pancakes, muesli, yoghurt or even over vanilla ice-cream for a real treat!
I had a wee brain wave once we had already started eating, that would make this tart even more satisfying…if you tolerate dairy you could try it out; smear vanilla marscapone over the cooked and cooled tart shell before topping with the strawberry filling! Ooh la la!
I don’t know about you, but we had a really busy weekend. We had plenty of laughs with great friends (happy birthday Rhyannon!), ate great food and took loads of photos! Here’s just a few I thought I would share with you all. Those cute little pottery wall hangings above are made by local Raglan artist Haley Hamilton.
gluten-free strawberry & lemon thyme tart recipe
This tart would also be lovely made into individual tarts of you have mini cases. To make dairy-free, simply substitute the butter for dairy-free margarine in the pastry. I tend to use butter for most of my baking (as we are not too intolerant anymore). But because I don’t use it too often, I like to cut a 500g block into 100g slices and freeze. This makes it easy if you need to make pastry, simply grate, straight from frozen. If you eat wheat, simply use 150g plain flour in place of the rice flours and tapioca and omit xanthan gum. Glutinous rice flour can be found at Asian supermarkets. Serves 6-8.
- 3/4 cup (90g) brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup (25g) tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup (25g) glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 cup (50g) demerara or any raw unrefined cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 110g butter, frozen, then grated
- 75g whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 675g (approx 5 cups chopped) strawberries (seconds or “jam” berries are perfect), hulled and cut in half if large
- the zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp demerara or any unrefined cane sugar
- 3 rounded tsp gluten-free cornstarch (known as cornflour in NZ), mixed with 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water
- 4 small sprigs of lemon thyme
Grease the base and sides of a 9-in/22cm tart tin with a removable base.
Place flours, xanthan gum, sugar and black pepper into a food processor. Pulse a few times to evenly distribute. Add the grated butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the chopped almonds and pulse a few more times to slightly break them down (it should still be reasonably chunky). Dump the mixture out into the greased tin. Press the mixture firmly around the edges first and then using a spoon, firm down on the base. Place into the freezer and leave 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F.
Put the strawberries, zest and juice, sugar and thyme sprigs into a medium saucepan. Pop a lid on and cook over medium heat for a few minutes (approx 2-4) until the berries start to break down. Mix a little of the berry juices into the cornstarch (cornflour), then add this to the berries, mixing carefully until it bubbles and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool.
Remove the tart shell from the freezer and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
To assemble, carefully turn tart shell out of the tin and transfer to serving plate. Remove thyme sprigs from the filling and discard. Carefully spoon filling into cooled tart shell, and serve. This tart is not the easiest thing to serve up as the pastry is so lovely and short. Do your best to cut nice even pieces, scooping up any filling that falls off and dollop onto the slices again. I promise you, it’s beautiful flavours will more than make up for it’s somewhat rustic presentation! Serve with vanilla ice-cream or softly whipped cream. Enjoy!