The older I grow, the more wisdom I gain. The problem is that wisdom is mostly gained through experience, which means that one has to make mistakes before she can grow in wisdom. One difficult experience in my life through which I gained wisdom actually has to do with wisdom, but the tooth kind, not the intangible, transcendent kind. Phillip had a wisdom tooth that had abscessed and needed to be removed. I had a tooth that received trauma some years ago, the root of which began to abscess, and needed to be removed. Why Phillip and I decided to have our teeth extractions within a day of each other, I can’t say. We may have thought it efficient to have an easy week at the same time while we recovered from our tooth extractions. I don’t know. I do know it wasn’t a good idea for us to be both suffering from pain, unable to eat normally. I ended up with dry socket, which made the situation that much worse. We struggled through a couple of weeks of pain and soft, liquid diet, but in the end we gained in wisdom – never will we schedule such procedures during the same week – and I gained a deliciously elegant, yet easy dessert recipe for my recipe collection.
Truthfully, the two to two and a half weeks I was suffering from dry socket and mouth pain, I just didn’t feel like cooking at all. Moreover cooking seemed a chore, since neither Phillip nor I could eat anything that had small particles of food nor much texture. We got our calories through smooth soups, scrambled eggs, protein drinks, smoothies, and commercially produced pudding (something I NEVER buy). Fortunately someone told me about Central Market’s chocolate pudding, which doesn’t have a bunch of objectionable ingredients as other processed puddings do. Following my tooth extraction I bought a couple of containers of the pudding along with containers of yogurt and ingredients for smoothies.
When we finally came out on the other side of mouth pain, we still had one unopened container of chocolate pudding in the fridge. After a while I decided to use it in some way before the expiration date. I had some raspberry jam in the refrigerator and decided to use it and the pudding to make an easy tart. To the crust I added some crushed dried lavender, just enough to detect, but not enough to overpower the other flavors. The crushed caramelized almonds add a delightful crunch and warm buttery element to the tart. The only parts of this dessert that takes any effort at all to make are the crust and the caramelized almond slices, but these super easy and fast to make. The lavender flavor really shines in bites of the tart which include the crust edge. The flavor combination is rich and decadent. What originated as a way to use something in the refrigerator before it expired has ended up being a go-to dessert when I need something easy to make, yet flavorful and elegant.
Obviously Central Market chocolate pudding isn’t available everywhere, but Kozy Shack and Trader Joe’s are decent chocolate pudding brands without objectionable ingredients. Of course if you have time, you can make your own chocolate pudding while the crust is resting and blind-baking. Fortunately raspberry jam with simple ingredients and sweetened with cane sugar instead of corn syrup is available just about everywhere. Using store-bought ingredients doesn’t mean the quality of the ingredients has to suffer much!
Crushed rose petals can be substituted for the lavender in the tart crust. Rose and raspberry are complementary flavors.
When I make caramelized almond slices, I actually just use this recipe from the Land O’Lakes website instead of developing one of my own.
Gluten-Free Lavender Chocolate Raspberry Tart
This tart, made with a combination of home-made and purchased ingredients, is easy to make, but gives the impression that it takes a lot of time and effort. It's so rich and delicious that it will become your favorite easy dessert to serve to guests.
- 90 grams gluten-free oat flour BE SURE to use purity protocol oats
- 60 grams sweet rice flour
- 30 grams almond flour NOT almond meal
- 25 grams tapioca flour
- 25 grams arrowroot flour
- 65 grams powdered sugar
- 9 tablespoons butter cut in small pieces and well chilled
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 egg yolk if needed
- 1 cup almond slices
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons sugar separated
- 1/2 cup purchased raspberry jam
- 16 oz Central Market, Trader Joe's, or Kozi Shack chocolate pudding
For the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut the pieces of butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture looks like corn meal, with only a few larger pieces of flattened butter visible.
Stir the egg yolk into the dough mixture, until the mixture forms into a ball (if mixture is too dry, add an egg yolk and mix until the mixture is moist enough to form into a ball; if it’s too sticky, the rice flour or tapioca flour you use when you roll it out will remedy the stickiness.
Flatten the ball of dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest for thirty minutes in the refrigerator.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and let it warm to nearly room temperature. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease the removable bottom of a tart pan with butter or coconut oil. Flatten out the dough. Sprinkle both sides of the dough with tapioca flour. Place the dough between two pieces of wax paper. Roll the dough into a circle larger enough to fit into a 9 inch tart pan.
Using paper as aid, turn dough into the prepared tart pan. Peel off paper. Fit the dough into the pan and up the sides of the pan as needed. Seal any cracks in the dough.
Pierce crust all over with fork to prevent the crust from bubbling up while blind baking (or use pie weights and skip the fork piercing). Place the crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Bake the crust until golden and the bottom is set, about 20 minutes. Remove the finished crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely before assembling the tart.
For the Caramelized Almond Slices: While the pastry is resting or baking, melt two tablespoons of butter in a wide skillet. Add one cup of almond slices and four tablespoons of sugar. Stir over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent the almonds from burning, until the sugar melts and the almond slices begin to turn golden in color. Remove the caramelized almonds from the heat. Stir in the remaining two tablespoons of butter until well mixed. Spread the caramelized almond slices on a piece of wax paper, evenly and in one layer. Allow to cool completely. When the almonds have completely cooled, roll over them with a rolling pin, pressing firmly in a back and forth motion, to roughly chop the almonds.
To Assemble the Tart: Spread 1/2 cup raspberry jam over the bottom of the cooled tart crust. Place the tart in the freezer until the jam is gelled enough that you can spread the pudding over it so that the two ingredients form two separate layers. Spread the chocolate pudding evenly over the chilled raspberry layer. Sprinkle the almonds over the top of the chocolate pudding layer, covering the pudding completely. Chill the finished tart for about thirty minutes. Remove the tart from the refrigerator, then pop the tart out of the pan. Using a cake mover, release the tart from the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a platter. Store the tart in the refrigerator.