Dessert for Socially Distant Times

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This post is brought to you by Social Distancing, plus Life in the Time of Covid19: the Cook Your Pantry Edition!

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I’m doing my part to stay sheltered in place and avoid unnecessary errands – which means I’m also getting a little creative with my baking situation. Not sure about where you live, but here in SF the stores are pretty cleaned out. I’m noticing now that the shelter in place has been in effect for a few weeks and the markets have been limiting the amount of shoppers in the store at one time, more products are appearing back on the shelves, but certain things (ha, toilet paper) are still totally cleaned out.

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I was able to stock back up today with the intent of not going back to the store again till I run out of fresh stuff, but in my mind somehow I had coconut milk in my pantry….. and WOMP I totally did not.

So!

Time to get creative. I’d already made the crust (way to plan ahead there & actually check the pantry first, whoops…) and I already knew a tart was going to happen. Luckily I almost always have whole milk because, coffee + milk frother = life. I also happen to have raw cacao butter in my pantry – I bought it with no clear purpose forever ago, and never got around to using more than a teeny bit. Behold! Saving my bacon in a time of shortages, quarantines and social distancing. 

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Unfortunately, that means this isn’t dairy free, but if you’re prepared with a nondairy alternative, you’re set! Full fat coconut milk is my fave for these. Though in the spirit of using what you have – experiment! I’m a big fan. Some of my best kitchen creations have been happy accidents and/or just a whim.

This uses blueberry powder that I picked up awhile back (yet another baking whim) – I’m glad I did, it’s a fun product to use. A little weird maybe in a liquid suspension like this panna cotta-hybrid, but I’m not sure I care! It’s still delicious, and a fantastically weird color. We could all use a little brightness in our days lately – might I suggest a fun colored baking project? Worked wonders over here for all parties involved.

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We ate this one as usual for dessert and for breakfast, since these tart shenanigans are so well suited for that. This one is a little different than a typical panna cotta – I was in experimentation mode so I wasn’t overly concerned with how it came out; it ended up as a tart-panna cotta hybrid. Way firmer in texture than a panna cotta would normally be, due to to the cacao butter (which solidifies when cold) but still that filling-to-crust ratio that my tarts typically have. A winner, in my book, despite being a product of the pantry and these strange times.

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Side note: I discovered last week that I can make matcha tea lattes in my milk frother and boy did it make my week.

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A few iphone snaps from my social-distancing-approved outdoor exercise outings: we’ve had some spectacular clouds lately, and I’ve been loving the rain!

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And also, my urban jungle is coming along nicely! 19 pots and counting (clearly not all plant friends are pictured)

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Be well, and safe!

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Blueberry & Cacao Butter Tart on a Cornmeal Lemon Crust

Gluten free and refined sugar free. A Wait are Those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ tart; serves several. Lightly sweet, lemony and fresh. Ideal for breakfast or dessert.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/3c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, baking soda and lemon zest. Add in vanilla extract, maple, lemon juice, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″ tart pan (w/ removable bottom) with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

For the filling:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.5 whole milk
a few chunks (?!) of cacao butter (~1/2 cup of solid cacao butter)
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
Scant 1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c blueberry powder
1/4 c lemon juice, cold

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cold lemon juice. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the whole milk into a small saucepan. Add cacao butter, maple, vanilla, salt, and blueberry powder. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Top with whatever pretty things your heart desires! Serve cold out of the fridge. Store any leftovers covered in the fridge as well.

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