I’m a rather organized, reasonable and strategic person… with a few specific exceptions:
#1: Chocolate chip situations: I don’t measure them. I can’t explain it. Pastry chefs are the “brain surgeons” of the kitchen, required to abide by weights + measures so I know better, and yet I still can’t shake the idea that more is more.
#2: When I walk into this store: something comes over me (perhaps it’s this amazing smell.) Money leaps out of my wallet without asking and new boots and dresses leap into my hands. It’s insane/amazing.
#3: A the grocery store: I typically have some sort of *list*, but I rarely stick to it and always end up with one bunch of this-that-looked-amazing, or some new granola, that yummy looking yogurt, all-the-spices I’ve meant to pick up, or the random ingredient that I’m pretty sure I wanted but for a recipe I don’t remember why or which one. And sometimes I’ll think of one thing that I’d *like* to have and I’ll stop for that, and end up walking out with an cartload of other delicious stuff.
This grocery store habit is amazing in only one way: I never have a shortage of delicious things to eat, and I typically have all the ingredients I’d need to make almost anything. The same habit is totally paralyzing in other ways; first, it’s really expensive to run amok in the grocery store. (Especially this gourmet/boutique version that we all love shopping and eating at.) Secondly, while I don’t remember the last time that I wasted a single nibble of produce, I have a whole pantry full of flours, spices, dried fruits, nuts, and special ingredients that it might take me a short lifetime to use up. Don’t get me wrong; having pantries, cabinets and ice boxes bursting at the seams with creative and interesting ingredients means that there’s always something amazing you can pull together. But sometimes, creativity comes from making do with what we have. Which brings me to the last reason that this grocery habit is not awesome: if I am constantly surrounded (or stocked) with quick solutions to what to cook or eat, I never get creative. And this is the opposite of what I want to be in the kitchen.
So, I attempted to break (or at least mix up) my grocery habits the other week when I challenged myself to only spend
$20 ok, $30 at the grocery store. At first, it was torture not to run out to the store when I ran out of an ingredient I typically always have. Bananas were the first to go. Then avocados. Then butter, bread and oats. And once the $30 was spent (which is far more than enough food for one or two people, by the way, depending on what you’re buying and how you’re cooking,) I had to think more about what I was preparing, and what I was going to eat. I finally used up all of those dried strawberries in rice porridge for breakfast instead of making oatmeal w/bananas. Instead of running out to buy a loaf of bread, I baked up a batch of these (also because I had just a bit of yogurt in the fridge.) I know that this sounds scary and boring to some of you, but I promise that this gets brilliant, and exciting in simple way that makes eating weeks all the more tasty for you as it did for me, if you have the confidence to know what ingredients can do what.
This same week, my dear friend Kate had a birthday, and I’m pretty certain that the best gifts are baked ones so I whipped out a few of my favorite recipes to prepare for her. It turns out that I was short on ingredients when it came to cakes, cookies, and ice cream, but I had everything I needed to make coconut macaroons (plus a bit of butter and a pint of raspberries) and so this little tart was born. And it might be the best dessert I’ve made all year, and a few of my most trusted palates agreed.
This tart: you only need seven ingredients, one bowl and a tart pan to mix it up. It’s quick to bake, easy to assemble, and really impressive to present. You likely have most of the ingredients in your pantry already and if you don’t, get going on that modern pantry and go stock up on butter, eggs and coconut because really, what have you been doing with your grocery money?
A quick note on substitutions here: you say that you don’t have white whole wheat flour? No problem – all-purpose flour will work just fine. This tart crust would also be an excellent candidate to be gluten free if you have a favorite flour mix. (I recommend using 1c almond flour and 1/2 sweet rice flour for the 1 1/2c of regular flour) You don’t have raspberries? No worries – blueberries, cut stone fruits or cherries would also be divine. And don’t forget a little lime or lemon zest on top when the tart is done baking.
Lastly, I baked the tart and carried it to the party in this nifty little box, allowing it to cool as it traveled. You could bake it a day ahead and it would be delicious. Leftovers are exceptional for up to two days after baking, if kept covered and refrigerated.
Enjoy this one – and by the way berries are here! So summer is on the way! Yay! – xo L
- 1.5 pints of fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (regular all-purpose flour will work, too!)
- 2 3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (divided)
- 1 1/4 cup raw cane (or brown) sugar, lightly packed (divided)
- scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large egg whites
- zest of one lime
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees with racks in the middle. Butter an 9-inch round tart pan (a rectangle of about 8x11 will work beautifully too.)
- In a large bowl combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the coconut, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and salt. Stir in the melted butter and mix until dough is crumbly but no longer dusty looking. Press the mixture into the prepared pan (it should form a cohesive base that isn't too flaky,) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- In the meantime prepare the coconut macaroon topping. Whisk the egg whites until just frothy, then add the remaining 2 cups coconut and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Now, assemble the tart. Evenly distribute most of the raspberries across the tart base. Next, use your fingers to drop little dollops of the macaroon topping over the berries, pressing the topping into the spaces between and around the fruit. If need be, pick up the berries and press a little bit of the macaroon beneath as well, but use all of the macaroon filling and make sure to let a little bit of the vibrant red of the raspberries show through. Zest the most of the lime over the tart, then bake for about 20 minutes or until the peaks of the macaroon topping are deeply golden. Let tart cool, then garnish by sprinkling any remaining raspberries across the top and add one last little zest of the lime for color. Slice, eat and enjoy!