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  • Recipe Redux: (Very) Rustic Gluten Free, Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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    A funny thing happened on my way to developing my contribution to this month’s Recipe Redux challenge–I learned in the last month that it appears that gluten and I can no loner be friends…or even acquaintances. So, imagine my dismay when this month’s challenge was a (healthy) take on the beloved (if not past their day in the spotlight) cupcake.

    I’m just gonna say it…gluten free baking is depressing. Now granted, I’m new at this and I know that sometimes when something is new it feels like it will never be enjoyable (exercise comes to mind). I feel this way about GF baking. Will I ever whip up a moist, tender cake or pliable, flaky pie crust again?

    Back to the cupcake challenge. A little story about the cupcake craze. About 10 years ago, my friend Nicole and I sat at the dinner table with our husbands. She and I were lamenting our recent layoffs as part of the dot-com crash of the early 2000’s and waxing poetic about how nice it would be to bake stuff for a living. People smile when they are eating cookies. People love people who can bake stuff. Especially if they then sell those baked goods so one does not have to bake themselves. As we brainstormed, we came up with a shop that would sell cupcakes and tea…we were going to call it “Cup & Cup Co.” and it was going to be AMAZING. As our husbands laughed at the name, we plotted location, menu and logo. Long story short, life happened. She had a baby, I lost focus and lo-and-behold, the cupcake craze was born about 10 minutes after we decided that someone else could get rich off selling cupcakes for a living. I mean whoda thunk?

    But I’m not bitter.

    Wow, I’m kind of all over the place. So, why is my Recipe Redux cupcake recipe challenge a tart? Well, because the gluten free chocolate cupcakes I made, while having an excellent flavor, had the texture of what I imagine the inside of a tennis ball to have. Luckily the team over at RR gave us some leeway and encouraged us to explore any handheld dessert that might start the next craze. I decided that a hand pie would be fun. First, it’s just fun to say (go ahead, say it…you know you want to) and second, who doesn’t love pie!?

    Little did I know that gluten free pie crust is just as challenging as cake batter. It’s not mailable and it’s hard to roll out without it looking like the ground of the Mojave dessert in July.

    The good news is, it tastes…well…pretty good. It’s crispy and kind of nutty…all good there. Of course, my lack of experience with baking sans gluten all led to this recipe for a (very) rustic gluten free low-sugar tart with in-season rhubarb and strawberries, Splenda®, stevia and a small amount of sugar. I also use vegan shortening, which eliminates the saturated fat and cholesterol in the butter and shortening traditionally used and still creates a nice, flaky crust.

    Got suggestions and tips on gluten-free baking and cooking? Please share them and renew my hope in the promise of living without the joy of traditional baking!

    Rustic Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Tart.


    Rustic Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Tart.

    ©2013 Kindred-Kitchen / Nancy Granada

    Recipe Redux: (Very) Rustic Gluten Free, Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

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    For the filling:
    3 Cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into small 1/4″ pieces
    3 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped into small 1/4″ pieces
    4 TBSP. Spenda® Brown Sugar Blend for Baking
    2 TBSP. Sugar
    1 tsp. stevia powder concentrate
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    pinch of kosher salt
    Juice of 1/2 a lemon
    3 TBSP. cornstarch


    For the gluten free crust:
    (if you don’t need to avoid gluten, by all means, make your favorite pie crust (one of mine is Martha Stewart’s classic Pate Brisee))
    1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (many choices are available in most grocery stores)
    pinch of salt
    pinch of sugar
    8 TBSP. very cold vegan shortening (I freeze it) (Earth Balance is a good one)
    6 TBSP. ice cold water


    1. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine

    2.  Cut the shortening into small cubes and add to flour mixture. Pulse several times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs

    3. Turn processor on low and slowly add the water, one TBSP. at a time until it starts to come together and holds form when you press some in your hand

    4. Roll out onto parchment and cover with a second piece of parchment and roll into a 10-12″ circle

    5. Place the crust (parchment-and-all) on a rectangular rimmed baking sheet

    6. Spoon the filling in the center of the crust, spreading out to sides leaving about 1″. Fold sides up (sure to drain off most of the liquid that accumulated)

    7. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve with vanilla frozen yogurt or whipped cream


    11 responses to “Recipe Redux: (Very) Rustic Gluten Free, Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Tart”

    1. Mary says:

      Congrats on your long weight loss. 98 pounds-that is fantastic. Your dessert looks delicious and is a great offering for those (like you) who need to follow a gluten free diet.

      • Nancy Granada says:

        Thanks Mary! Though I’ve kept the weight off for nearly 20-years…it’s work every day! Hopefully my GF recipes will continue to improve 🙂

    2. Loved the story about your cupcakery dreams, & the recipe looks tasty!

      • Nancy Granada says:

        Thanks Kat (I’m really not bitter….maybe a little :))

      • Constance says:

        Coconut flour is simple dried, untenesewed coconut ground until it is flour consistency. It may be possible to make your own in a coffee grinder. I’m not sure, I haven’t tried. The thing about it is that it’s very drying it SUCKS up moisture like you wouldn’t believe. So, you could sub more almond meal + just some shredded coconut if you want the coconut flavor. But, you will have to adjust proportions quite a bit. I’d try a cup of almond meal and see if that gets you something workable. Maybe start with 3/4 cup and add the last 1/4 cup a bit at a time. I’m not positive it would work, but it’s worth a shot.

    3. I got to say I’d be snarfing down this tart based on looks alone! (I always use “rustic” with my baking as my pie crusts are never pretty 🙂 As far as good resources on baking gluten-free, TRR member Gretchen of kumquat blog has excellent recipes with wonderful tips. EA of The Spicy RD and Inspired RD (other TRR members) also have great tasty GF recipes, too.
      BTW, I still think you should open Cup & Cup someday – you can specialize in GF treats!

      • Nancy Granada says:

        Thanks for the tips Deanna! I remind myself that when I first started losing weight, healthy cooking and eating were a challenge (and not always enjoyable) for me…and yet here I am! Hopefully this GF challenge will have the same outcome :). (and who knows…Cup & Cup Co. may have a resurrection!)

    4. Alysa says:

      I have no tips on gluten-free baking except to suggest passing the duty along to your mom…My mom does all the GF baking for our family now. I just can’t get it right!

    5. well i think your tart looks lovely… especially if it’s the beginnings of gluten-free baking for you. i have no doubt you’ll figure it out. feel free to check out my site… especially the gluten-free ratio rally posts. they cover lots of baking basics and link you to other successful gluten-free bloggers. good luck and let me know if you get stuck.

      • Nancy Granada says:

        Thanks so much Gretchen…will check out your site for sure! (Luckily I like a good challenge, so I am determined to master the art (and science) that is gluten free baking!)

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