Apple tarts & north coast fun

Hi friends!

It’s been a little while – C and I took a great trip up to the north coast for my birthday – we stayed in the cutest airbnb and explored the area. Lots of coast hikes, fresh produce and relaxation time. Here are a few favorite photos!

rail bikes on the Noyo Skunk train line!
monster zucchini from the airbnb garden (yes, we ate it)
look at the bee photobomb!

Turns out you can actually make a galette in a cast iron on the stove, in a pinch!

I’d make this again actually, even though it was initially just a punt because of an oven issue. I made my normal galette dough, piled the fruit in there (I’d saute it first next time), let the sides crisp up a little before folding them over the fruit and putting a lid on it. It cooked in about 15 minutes on a high burner – and it was amazingly delicious. Ha! Success.

Since I’m working today for a deadline early next week (taking a minute while I wait on content to write this…), I got up early to make time for this guy… I had some ricotta in my fridge that I really wanted to us, and it’s officially apple season! This looks fancy and intimidating but it isn’t, at all – basically just whisk everything together and call it good. Perfect for a lazy weekend baking project.

It’s gluten / grain free, lightly sweet and light on the stomach – it’s really just all ricotta, but it doesn’t feel like a heavy dessert. Pears would probably be good here too, if you didn’t have apples (I’ve made a variation of it before, with peaches – also excellent. Find it here)

Otherwise, busy as usual. I hope your weekends are going well! Happy October :)

Ricotta, Apple & Rosemary Tart

Gluten and grain free, refined sugar free. Lightly sweet and light on the palette – this is a fairly delicate dessert! Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several. Leftovers will keep overnight in the fridge, but it’s best the day it’s made. A Wait are those Cookies original.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, baking soda and rosemary. Add in vanilla and almond extract, maple, 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 your tart pan or pie dish of choice 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 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

For the ricotta filling:

1 2/3 cups ricotta cheese
Scant 1/4 cup maple
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 400°F

Make the filling:

Combine the ricotta with the eggs and maple. Add the zest and chocolate. Pour the filling into the prepared tart shell. Top with sliced peaches. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the ricotta filling is set and caramelized.

Allow the tart to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before refrigerating. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Store any leftovers covered with foil in the fridge overnight.

Crumb cake and more pluots

Hi friends, happy weekend! I wish it was the beginning of it and not the end, but at least there’s a long weekend upcoming.

I have a cake for you today! Cakes feel few and far between around here, but I stumbled on this recipe and had to try it. I had stashed some ricotta in the freezer awhile back (not the best for its texture if you’re going to eat it plain, but if you’re baking with it, it’s fair game!) and wanted to pair it with the stone fruit that is all I want these days.

This cake is a pleasantly dense, nutty little thing – I think of it as a breakfast or brunch cake; something that is perfect alongside coffee. It does well served warm out of the oven, or chilled for a couple of hours in the fridge (my favorite, since the chilled cake texture is amazing).

The whole thing is very lightly sweet – there are only two tablespoons of maple in the entire thing, so the almondy dough and fruit flavors can really shine. It’s whole grain and infinitely adaptable – don’t have pluots? No problem – sub in figs, peaches, nectarines, plums, or any other fruit that catches your fancy. I think any berries would be excellent here, and I’m dying to try it with fresh figs – we’re almost into peak fig season here on the west coast!

We had it for brunch this morning – post workout and pre hiking (me) and cycling (him). Exercise nerds? Yeah, we are.

I got a new wetsuit and I’m SO excited about it – I was swimming without one the last week or so but I really love having one for my morning swims – it’s just so much more pleasant in the bay with one on, ha! This one is sleeveless, which is clutch. Not having anything over my shoulders is amazing.

my favorite swimming conditions – calm and foggy

Not a whole ton going on in other news – just cruising along into September (birthday month!) and crossing my fingers for no excessively hot weather in SF because we just know how much I looooove that, ha NOT.

I hope everyone out there had a good weekend! Sending good thoughts from my kitchen for good weeks all around.

Tuscan Ricotta Crumb Cake with Pluots and Blackberries

A pleasantly dense, lightly sweet breakfast cake – or dessert – but really excellent with coffee. Yield: one 7″ cake, serves several with small wedges. Refined sugar free and whole grain; easily gluten free with a cup for cup flour blend. Recipe gratefully adapted from Jules’ Kitchen, here!

For the dough:
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c shredded coconut
2 oz almond flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2.5 tbsp unsalted butter, cold & diced into small cubes
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:
1 c whole milk ricotta (drained if especially runny)
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp maple
1 tsp vanilla extract
heaping handful of fresh blackberries
4 small pluots

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 7” cake pan with butter (alternatively, a 6 or 8” would also work – just adjust the bake time up or down accordingly) Line the greased pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut, almond flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Work the diced butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse sand. Add maple, vanilla, and almond, followed by the beaten egg. Use your fingers or a fork to work the egg into the dough – it doesn’t need to come together into a ball, it just needs to stick together when you press it with your fingers. Press half the dough into the cake pan to form the bottom layer.

In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, lemon zest, vanilla, and maple. Spread the filling over the bottom crust, and top with blackberries and sliced pluots. Sprinkle the rest of the crumble topping over the fruit and ricotta.

Bake for 35-40 minutes – the topping should be lightly browned. Remove and let cool in the pan for at least ten minutes, then lift it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve warm, or chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Stone Fruit Season

I’ve decided that it’s very hard to not enjoy peak stone fruit season.

It’s literally all we want to eat (okay not true, I’m never NOT in the mood for thai food, ha) but for everything else right now… bring on the stone fruit!

This weekend was full of pluots, courtesy of my imperfect produce box – these were slightly scarred but so perfect, taste-wise. I wanted a crumble since I hadn’t done one in awhile; I love that they keep the focus on the fruit. It’s basically fruit and nuts, at least the way I make them! They end up making great breakfast the next day – not shocking to anyone who’s read this blog for awhile :)

The color of these lil beauties is amazing! Just look at it:

This is riff number approximately 10000 of fruit crumbles… I’ve probably made this exact version at some point in the past and just didn’t write it down. Regardless, it’s a much-loved favorite with the two of us! Super simple, very adaptable and quickly made.

Let’s see, what else! Had a little al fresco drawing adventure with a friend today, super fun as I haven’t drawn from life in a loooong time. I was still drawing buildings but hey, usually it’s from a photo! The wind proved challenging but it wouldn’t be the SF that I love without excessive wind, so we just made it work.

Lots of swimming for me lately of course – without a wetsuit! It’s the “warm” bay water season so I’ve been taking advantage of it. It’s maybe a strange choice of things to get you out of bed in the morning but I love my 6am swims, wetsuited or not! I find them extremely satisfying.

I suggest seizing the stone fruit moment while it’s still peak season! The closer we get to autumn, the less perfect they are. Get on it!

Pluot, Blueberry & Ginger Crumble

A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ crumble, serves 4-6. Refined sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan with a grain free option. Lightly sweet, nutty and fruit-forward.

For the crumble

1 c almond flour, packed
1/4 tsp sea salt, heaping
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c oats* (Omit for grain free)
1/4 c unsweetened coconut
1/4 c crystalized ginger
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple
1/4 c melted coconut oil

~6-7 pluots (they’re usually on the small side)*, chopped into slices or chunks
~1.5 c wild blueberries (mine were frozen)
1 tbsp tapioca starch + 1/4 c water
1 tbsp maple
zest and juice of one lemon

*since pluots are usually on the small side, I recommend using 6-7 of them; the flavor balance is perfect when it’s about half pluot, half blueberry

Preheat the oven to 350 and grab some kind of 8″ or 9” baking dish – this is the least fussy recipe ever, so square, round, etc – whatever you have is fine! I used a deep 9″ pie plate. In your baking dish of choice, toss together pluots, blueberries, lemon juice and zest. In a smaller bowl, whisk together tapioca starch & water, add maple, then pour over the prepared fruit. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the fruit is baking, make the crumble. In a large bowl, stir everything together: almond flour, salt, cinnamon, oats (if using), chopped walnuts and coconut, maple, vanilla, and coconut oil together, then stir in crystallized ginger.

Remove the fruit from the oven, and toss a bit to redistribute. Drop the topping over the fruit, and bake for another 25 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Excellent with ice cream! It’s also fabulous cold after being refrigerated overnight and served straight out of the fridge – highly recommended. Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge for a day or two but I dare you to have any ;)

Birthday!

Okay so I’m a little off my normal posting schedule (Wednesday?! weird) but I have camp imminently approaching (yay!!) and then some vacation (MORE YAY!), which is going to throw off my normal schedule anyway, so why not.

Hello!

Happy midweek, if there is such a thing. At least there is a three day weekend coming up!

Also, Fave BoyHuman had a birthday yesterday! So of COURSE there was a baked thing.

and a tiny Yoda of course

He requested chocolate and blueberries, so I ended up making a dark chocolate torte with mascarpone cream and blueberry chia jam. Soooo yum. It’s been a minute since I’ve made a cake, and this one did NOT disappoint. Adapted it from a friend/the local baker behind Bojon Gourmet – her stuff is seriously amazing.

Plus, I only dropped one version of this cake. HA. I was overdue for a kitchen mishap I think… much cursing ensued, but I think it actually did me a favor, since I was able to tweak the flavors and the baking time a slight bit on the second go round, and eat some cake scraps (obviously. I not above eating them off my floor, or the bottom of my oven).

This cake sounds intimidating maybe but I promise it’s really not! Most labor intensive thing in here is beating the egg whites, which in my mind is just fun – I love watching egg white alchemy take place. It’s also gluten and grain free, plus refined sugar free depending on the chocolate you use.

There’s been other baking happening too that hasn’t really made it on here – last weekend I made what is approximately my 1,000,000th galette (I love them, what can I say) – it was delicious and so simple. This one was cherries and apricots – they are very much in season right now so I’m taking full advantage. Probably should invest in a cherry pitter though…

You can use any of the galette recipes on here (like this one) – just swap in enough cherries and sliced apricots until you have a large enough pile to fill your dough.

Let’s see, what else.

In other news, working too much. Can’t wait for camp, and then also vacation. Wheee!

I think that’s pretty much it…. tired after what has been a crazy start to the week. Time for the cake recipe! I hope the rest of your week goes by quickly and that it’s a smooth slide into the holiday weekend.

Dark Chocolate Torte with Mascarpone Cream and Blueberry Chia Jam

Gluten and grain free; refined sugar free depending on the type of chocolate you use. I suggest Hu or Raaka if you need or want it to be strictly refined sugar free. I used a blend of what I had on hand, which wasn’t STRICTLY refined sugar free, but close enough :) Yield: 1 6″ cake, serves several with small slices or two with a lot of leftovers for breakfast!

for the cake:

Cake recipe gratefully adapted from The Bojon Gourmet, here! Her recipes are so well written, I’m not going to mess with rewriting! Her blog is beautiful, just go take a look. My notes are below for my adaptation.

  • I used a blend of 67 and 85% dark chocolate plus a chunk of unsweetened (100% cacao) to get to 6oz and it was delicious
  • Used 2tbsp cassava flour to keep it grain free
  • Replaced the sugar with 1/4 maple into the chocolate batter and 3 tbsp coconut sugar in the egg whites
  • Added 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Used a 6″ springform for 3/4 of the batter, 3″ springform for the rest (optional, of course – the batter fits into an 8 or 9″ pan perfectly) – the 6″ went for 20 min

for the cream:

1/2 c mascarpone
1 c heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup

Whip everything together until it holds its shape with soft peaks (for softer cream) or stiffer peaks if you want more body. Chill until needed.

for the blueberry chia jam:

2 c blueberries (I used 1 c fresh, 1 c frozen wild)
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp maple
1 tbsp chia seeds

Bring berries, lemon juice and maple to a simmer over medium high, then lower heat. Cook until the juices are bubbling and juice is reduced, 10-15 min. Stir in 1 tbsp chia seeds; mash slightly to squash berries, remove and let cool; chill in the fridge overnight if you make it in advance (keeps for at least a week in the fridge).

Serve this however you like! I chose to frost mine but that’s totally optional – it would also be excellent served in wedges with cream and blueberry jam dolloped over the top. It keeps very well in the fridge – I frosted it a few hours before serving, and served it cold. You can also let it warm up slightly on the counter a bit before serving. Store it covered in the fridge for a day or two after if you have leftovers.

Fog & Fennel

It’s a foggy, mellow weekend in the city today – I LOVE days like this, where I wake up to the fog curling up against my windows, and then by noon it starts to clear but only kind of, so if you look up, you see it moving fast overhead, and obscuring bits and pieces of the city.

Then by midafternoon it starts coming in again, and by evening things are covered again. Arguably, I think one of my favorite things about living in the city is the fog – I find it magical and beautiful.

It’s also insanely windy today – I took a long, rambly walk down to Fort Mason & along the water, and the bay is verrrryyy whitecappy today.

fog!
for reference, this is where I swim! it’s protected by a pier but even so, there were some major swells in there today

In other news, made a crumble! I had some fresh fennel in my produce drawer that I’d been ignoring, and I really couldn’t figure out how I was going to get around to slotting it into meals. Instead, I used it here!

Fennel + apple + walnut is a match made in heaven, and I love the addition of ginger to anything. This crumble is also very dietary-choice friendly; it’s gluten, dairy & refined sugar free with an easy grain-free alternative. Yay! It also comes together in a snap and requires minimal effort, a yay for those lazy weekends.

I felt like I spent most of today doing house tasks… I kind of love days like this though, since they make me feel accomplished. Spent a ton of time troubleshooting & descaling my moka pot today too… I love good coffee and it’s so sad that my bialetti has suddenly decided to not work properly. I THINK it needed a good descaling, so ran it through two cycles of that… let’s see how this goes. Fingers crossed it starts behaving. It’s been giving me trouble for at least a week, and I’m over it.

Happy weekend! I hope yours is equal parts fun and relaxing.

Fennel, Apple & Blueberry Crumble

Gluten, dairy & refined sugar free + vegan. Easily grain free if needed/wanted – just omit the oats (it’s just as good that way, promise!). Earthy fennel, fresh apples + blueberries & a nutty crumble topping. Yield: 1 8 or 9″ crumble, serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original.

For the crumble

1 c almond flour, packed
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt, heaping
1 tbsp maple
1/4 c melted coconut oil
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c oats* (Omit for grain free)
1/4 c unsweetened coconut
1/4 c crystalized ginger
2 tsp fennel seeds, very finely chopped (or ground in a mortar)

1 bulb of fresh fennel, finely diced
2 granny smith apples, peeled & chopped into small cubes
~1 c wild blueberries (mine were frozen)
1 tbsp tapioca starch + 1/4 c water
1 tbsp maple
zest and juice of two lemons

Preheat the oven to 350 and grab some kind of 8″ or 9” baking dish – this is the least fussy recipe ever, so square, round, etc – whatever you have is fine! I used a deep 9″ pie dish. In your baking dish of choice, toss together fennel, apples, blueberries, lemon juice and zest. In a smaller bowl, whisk together tapioca starch & water, add maple, then pour over the prepared fruit. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the fruit is baking, make the crumble. In a large bowl, stir everything together: almond flour, vanilla, salt, oats (if using), maple, chopped walnuts and coconut, fennel seeds, and coconut oil together, then stir in crystallized ginger.

Remove the fruit from the oven, and toss a bit to redistribute. Drop the topping over the fruit, and bake for another 25 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Excellent with ice cream! It’s also fabulous cold after being refrigerated overnight and served straight out of the fridge – highly recommended. Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge for a day or two but I dare you to have any ;)

Spring = Rhubarb

The first of the rhubarb!

I had to work a little to track some down – my usual market didn’t have any, but luckily I found some when I was out and about in a different neighborhood. Which also meant that I was that person walking down the street with a bunch of rhubarb clutched in my fist – but I am definitely okay being that person.

This cake is another variation on the grapefruit one I posted a few weeks ago – it’s a perfect snack or breakfast cake, as it isn’t all that sweet. It’s lightly spicy from the five spice, and the top gets jammy from the softened rhubarb + the actual jam involved. I use a jam that is fruit-sweetened only, which keeps this guy refined sugar free, but use whatever you have!

Almost wishing this had come out with the rhubarb slightly less soft – I may play around with it a little and see if I can make that happen.

Another insanely busy week here – I would like to stop working on the weekends please (insert eyeroll)…. this week should be less crazy though so I’m hoping for some downtime. At least I was able to swim most days this week; it is definitely preserving my sanity. Took today off since I know the humidity is supposed to drop next week which will trigger some autoimmune stuff – which means I’ll also be spending most days in the water, if at all possible.

Today was also a day of a food-photography mishap… I definitely broke the cake when I moved it from cooling rack to plate. Whatever, nothing some well-placed coconut won’t hide, and we’re going to eat it anyway so who cares. Not everything needs to be perfect.

I hope it is springy and nice where you are! I’m still hoping for some spring rains (CA needs it, but also I just love it.) Happy weekend :)

Rhubarb & Five Spice Upside Down Cake

Gluten free, dairy free & refined sugar free. Lightly sweet, slightly spicy, and perfect for spring. A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves several.

1.5 c almond flour
1/3 c cornmeal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp five spice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c maple syrup
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 stalks of rhubarb, thinly sliced
2 tbsp apricot jam (mine is fruit sweetened only)
2 tsp coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease an 8″ cake pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper – I flip it over, trace the outline & then cut, to get a perfectly sized circle. Spread the apricot jam evenly over the parchment, then drop the rhubarb slices into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt & five spice. Add in eggs, honey, coconut oil, vanilla & almond extract, and stir until all ingredients are just incorporated. Drop the batter into the prepared pan – it’s thick! That’s normal – just even out the top with a spatula. Bake for 35-38 minutes, until the top of the cake is lightly browned, firm, and a tester in the center comes out clean. You can cover the cake with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking if the cake is browning too fast – though mine was done at 35 minutes, and I didn’t need the foil trick. Remove and let cool for a few minutes in the pan before flipping it out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Stores well overnight in the fridge, and is arguably even better for breakfast.

Citrus Saturday

More citrus!

Couldn’t resist; I haven’t made a citrus curd in a bit, and I love using blood oranges while I can get them in season. Plus, C’s meyer lemon tree has been producing again so I figured I’d take advantage.

This is one of those desserts that looks and sounds fancy and intimidating, but it’s not! Break it down into its component parts and it’s pretty straightforward. It’s also grain & gluten free, plus of course refined sugar free – and actually, there is only 1/4c of maple in the whole thing! It’s perfect for those of us who like our desserts on the tart side of sweet, ha. The crust is actually naturally sweet from the almond flour though anyway, so it really balances out the citrus curd.

I took a field trip out to visit Goldie today – Karl wouldn’t come out to play but Goldie and I played hide and seek for awhile while I hiked the bluffs to batteries trail. All told, it was 7mi from the Lincoln steps > coastal trail > Baker Beach > bluffs to batteries > bay area ridge trail (presidio) > home, about two hours and a beautiful day.

hi Goldie!

Swam most days than not this week (see photo evidence), found some really pretty blooming things & watched a few gorgeous sunsets (yay western exposure from my apartment! amazing at all times except when it’s hot)

YES I wear a wetsuit, the water is currently 52 degrees so, yes.

Also, of course – I made a tart! Citrusy and nutty and delicious. Highly recommend, while we’re still in blood orange season (at least out here on the West coast/best coast.)

Happy weekending! Go get outside :)

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Tart on a Hazelnut Almond Crust

Gluten & grain free; refined sugar free. I included a couple of options for the order of making this, so read through the whole thing before you get started :) A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ tart; serves several.

I stabilized the curd for this tart with gelatin, as I was after the texture of a panna cotta more than a softer curd tart for slicing and serving. I’m including an option for a baked tart, if you’d prefer to avoid gelatin or are out.

For tart assembly:

~1c of blood orange & meyer lemon curd, recipe below (I use all of what the recipe makes for a 9″ tart)
1 tart shell, recipe below
1/4 c cold meyer lemon juice (I used two lemons)
1 packet powdered gelatin
1 blood orange, sliced

I suggest making the crust first and letting it cool. Once it’s cooling, start the curd – then just adding the softened gelatin into the already warm curd once the curd is finished cooking.

In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 packet of gelatin over 1/4c cold meyer lemon juice. Stir until incorporated and let sit for a minute. Once softened, stir into the warm curd, whisking until the gelatin is dissolved completely (give it 1-2 minutes of continuous whisking). Strain the curd through a fine metal strainer into a bowl to cool a bit, before pouring the curd into the baked crust shell and transferring to the fridge to cool completely – preferably overnight but at least 4 hours. Top with sliced blood oranges, etc. Store the tart in the fridge until serving. Leftovers keep well overnight, refrigerated.

If you prefer not to use gelatin, you can also set the curd by pouring it into the pre-baked tart shell, and baking the whole thing at 350 for 8-10 minutes, then letting cool completely and refrigerating for at least 4 hours before serving. I prefer the gelatin method with this curd since it will set completely – the baked version might have more wobble / lose some structural integrity when sliced, but it’s a pretty solid second option & is definitely still delicious.

Blood Orange & Meyer Lemon Curd:

3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 c blood orange + meyer lemon juice (I used 2 blood oranges + 1 large lemon)
zest of 2 blood oranges
zest of 1 meyer lemon
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 tsp vanilla

I use a double boiler for this lemon curd, which I highly recommend! You don’t have to, but in my experience it makes for a better cooking process. Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler until it’s at a high simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, citrus zest and juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the butter one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, not adding the next tbsp until the first is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens and will coat the back of a spoon (or your whisk leaves tracks) – usually around 5 to 8 minutes. It’s a noticeable change when it happens, so just watch the cooking magic! Remove from heat, and whisk in gelatin (see notes above); strain through a metal strainer to remove zest and any bits of cooked egg and let cool until room temp before pouring into the tart shell.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/2 c hazelnut flour/meal
1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond & hazelnut flours, shredded coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, maple, 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.

Cake for breakfast

Cake!

It feels like I hardly ever make cake anymore, but boy am I glad I broke that streak.

I was intrigued by the idea of an upside-down cake, but I’ve never liked them that much since they are always SO full of sugar and way overly sweet. I liked the idea in theory but I was curious to see if I could pull it off with just a bit of fruit-only jam & coconut sugar. Turns out, it works marvelously! This guy is gluten & dairy free + refined sugar free; could probably be pretty easily vegan too with an egg replacement.

It’s citrusy and sunny with a satisfying crunch from the poppyseeds; the texture is great with a combination of almond flour & cornmeal. It’s not really dense exactly, but more like a cake/quick bread hybrid.

We both love poppyseed anything, so it was an easy sell. Both of us really enjoyed the cake aspect of it too, so I might put cake back in the rotation more frequently. This one is arguably best for breakfast; we ate it both for dessert and for breakfast per usual, but it reminds me quite a bit of a muffin (in a good way.)

Took a nice long walk on the beach at Fort Funston today; it’s been dry out here and my autoimmune stuff HATES low humidity so I’ve been in the bay or next to the ocean literally every day – and sometimes both.

March already, almost! That’s hard to believe. Definitely wishing I had another day of weekend. Hopefully yours were full of outside time and good food! :)

Grapefruit Poppyseed Upside-down Cake

Free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar. MUCH less sweet than a standard upside-down cake, which always contain scary amounts of sugar. This one makes an amazing breakfast cake, so highly recommend saving a bit for the next morning. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original.

1.5 c almond flour
1/3 c cornmeal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c maple syrup
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
zest of 2 grapefruits
juice of 1 lemon
Two grapefruits, peeled & sliced
1 tbsp apricot jam (mine is fruit sweetened only)
2 tsp coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease an 8″ cake pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper – I flip it over, trace the outline & then cut, to get a perfectly sized circle. Spread the apricot jam evenly over the parchment, then drop the grapefruit slices into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt & poppy seeds. Add in eggs, honey, coconut oil, vanilla & almond extract extract, grapefruit zest and lemon juice, and stir until all ingredients are just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan – it’s thick batter! That’s normal – just even out the top with a spatula. Bake for 35-38 minutes, until the top of the cake is lightly browned, firm, and a tester in the center comes out clean. You can cover the cake with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking if the cake is browning too fast – though mine was done at 37 minutes, and I didn’t need the foil trick. Remove and let cool for a few minutes in the pan before flipping it out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Stores well overnight in the fridge, and is arguably even better for breakfast.

Rainy days and a cranberry tart

Rain!

I love baking when it’s rainy, or really just doing anything when it’s rainy. I even like walking in it! Maybe because I lived in the pacific northwest for awhile, who knows.

We finally got some here in SF – and oddly enough, my autoimmune temperature disregulation stuff calms way down when it’s actively raining, or when the humidity is super high (bizarre, I know. If anyone has ANY insight into this…. please let me know!!) – so I definitely welcomed the day of respite. Plus, I love rain anyway, so no complaints there.

In other news, it’s mid-December already, what?! Insanity. It feels like it was just my birthday in September, and now we’re almost to the end of the year. To that end, I wanted to make something ridiculously “festive” and wintery – enter this cranberry curd tart! I’m in LOVE with the color. None of the photos are edited! This is just the unreal color that it naturally is.

It sounds complicated but really isn’t – basically just a riff on lemon curd, with the extra step of cooking the cranberries (which is fun anyway, I love listening to them pop). The tart itself comes together very quickly once the curd is made – all told, it’s in the oven for less than 30 min. The curd can be made in advance too, since it keeps really well in the fridge – and actually, the color deepens a little if you let it rest overnight. Fun!

See! Curd straight out of the fridge, after resting overnight.

We’ve had more gorgeous sunsets lately – a few that were worth climbing out my window onto the roof for photos. I happen to have the only apartment in my building that has direct roof access, so I try to take advantage…. I took the screen out of the window for that reason!

C and I also took a midweek mental health break walk over at Fort Funston – hands down our favorite beach out here. It was a beautiful, salty and humid 6 miles – perfect.

I hope all is well as can be in your worlds. I’m here to bring a little color to my corner of the internet and wish you a festive season, in spite what is happening in the world. Regardless of my own personal health stuff, I can always find joy in baking, and I hope that is true for you too! At the very least, you can come over here and look at pretty pictures, that’s good too :) Happy December baking!

Cranberry Curd Tart with a Cinnamon Cornmeal Crust

Refined sugar free & gluten free. Crust is easily grain free – just swap out the cornmeal for an equal volume of almond flour (or more shredded coconut). The curd can be made well in advance if desired – it keeps well in the fridge for several days. A Wait are those Cookies original, inspired by a New York Times tart that keeps cropping up in my feeds. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several.

For the crust

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add in vanilla, maple, 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; or alternatively a pie plate) with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge. Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Increase oven temp to 375.

Cranberry Curd

1 bag of cranberries, about 2 cups
1/2 c freshly squeeze orange + lemon juice (I used 4 small mandarins + 2 lemons)
1/4 c water
zest of 1 lemon
4 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c maple syrup
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium high, heat cranberries, citrus juice, water and lemon zest until cranberries pop, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the berries are very saucy, remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender (or a food processor). Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract all the good liquid. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the sieve too! Add liquid back into the saucepan (wipe it out first, if needed); discard solids.

Add maple, salt, and butter into the cranberry mixture, heating over medium-low and stirring continuously until butter is fully melted, about five minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolks. Temper the eggs by slowly whisking in a bit of the hot cranberries; then continue to whisk in the rest. Add the whole thing back into the saucepan (no need to wipe it out here), and continue to cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until the curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon – about 8-10 minutes more. Whisk in vanilla, then remove from heat and let cool completely (I usually let it cool in a pyrex snapware container, not the saucepan). You can strain it again if need be – I found mine was smooth enough to do without.

The curd can be made ahead – it keeps well for several days in the fridge. No need to bring it room temp before using in the tart.

Pour the curd into the crust and smooth the top. Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes, until the curd is barely set. Cool completely before slicing and serving – even better, cool it in the fridge for a few hours before slicing. Leftovers keep well, covered, in the fridge at least overnight.

naked tart, with a small divot where I dropped a crumb and tried to get rid of it. oh well, perfection is overrated anyway.

All things cranberry

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

May or may not actually post about what I make for the holiday (sweet potato pie & cookies) but here at least is a treat that nearly everyone can share – my apologies if you’re nut free. Otherwise, these bars are refined sugar free (of course) but also are gluten & grain free, dairy free, vegan & paleo. Yay!

They’re also super easy and come together in about five seconds, a plus when oven real estate is at a premium, assuming you’re doing the whole turkey thing.

C and I loved that they’re tart but herby – the thymes gives them a unique flavor that’s juuuuust on this side of savory. We didn’t eat them with ice cream but I’m 100% sure that would be spectacular; they’re also equally good in wedges on their own. Excellent for breakfast, which is what we did.

Cranberry sauce has always been a favorite part of the Thanksgiving spread for me – generally speaking, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the traditional Thanksgiving food (I know I know save your gasping) – my mom would be one of the first to attest. When I was small, I didn’t like pumpkin pie (eeehh not a ton has changed there, tho I’ll eat a small slice) so I always just asked for a bowl of whipped cream instead. I STILL love whipped cream, so that’s not changed! But cranberry sauce – I remember being fascinated by the ridgy blob that came out of a can as a kid, and now the real, non-canned variety is hands down my favorite part of the spread.

These bars are a fun hybrid: they start with a layer of shortbready crust and are filled with a quick cranberry jam/sauce, followed by more crumbly topping. Super fast, super easy, super delicious.

And with that – happy Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday is relaxing and safe.

sunset & golden hour!

Cranberry, Pecan & Thyme Crumble Bars

Treats for everyone! Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, vegan, dairy free & paleo. Hooray! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ pan of bars, serves several. Perfectly tart and slightly herby; great for snacks or breakfast.

For the cranberry filling

1 bag (~2 c) fresh cranberries
zest & juice of one lemon
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp tapioca flour
1/4 c chia seeds
1 tbsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, lemon zest and juice, maple, sea salt, and tapioca until the berries have popped and the liquid is just barely boiling, 10ish minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chia seeds & vanilla; let cool.

For the crust & crumble

2.5 c almond flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp sea salt, heaping
3 tbsp maple
5 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/3 c chopped pecans
3 tbsp dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 and line some kind of 9” pan with parchment – this is the least fussy recipe ever, so square, round, tart pan, etc – whatever you have is fine! I used an 9” cake pan. In a large bowl, stir almond flour, vanilla, thyme, salt, maple, and coconut oil together. Reserve a heaping half cup and stir in the pecans and dark chocolate (this will be the top bit) – set aside. Press the rest of the dough into the base of the pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes until set.

Remove from the oven and top evenly with cranberry chia jam. Crumble the rest of the reserved topping on the berries, and bake for another 23-25 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown and the berries are bubbly. Remove and let cool completely before serving. It’s also fabulous cold – I made mine the night before serving, refrigerated overnight and served straight out of the fridge – highly recommended. Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge for a day or two but I dare you to have any ;)