Go nuts for gluten-free tarts

Author Byline Image   I recall seeing a recipe for a mixed nut tart some time ago and thought to myself, “I like nuts, I like tarts, why not come up with a gluten free version?”
   The recipe I saw used canned mixed nuts, which is good in theory but did you know that lots of canned or jarred nuts contain gluten? I know, it makes me crazy too – or should I say nuts!
   You can never assume that just because something shouldn’t have gluten in it, it doesn’t.
   All right, now that my little public service announcement is over, let’s get to those tarts.
   I used sliced almonds, pine nuts and pistachios because I had them on hand, but you can use any combination of nuts. My pistachios were already roasted so I used them as is. To enhance the flavor I toasted the other nuts.
   This recipe is dairy-free but instead of using shortening I experimented with almond paste. The crust was not as flaky as it would have been with either butter or shortening but the taste paid off. It was like a crust of almond cookies.
   Keep in mind that you do not want to over process your crust dough or add too much water. Resist with every fiber of your being to turn that bowl full of crumbs into something that looks like dough.
   If you prefer not to mix flours you can use 1 ¼ cups of good, pastry quality gluten free flour instead – just check to see if it contains xanthan gum. If so, leave the xanthan gum out of the recipe.
   These tarts are fabulous just as they are but if you want to add an extra treat, top it off with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream.
Recipe Image
Carol Kicinski
These gluten-free tarts are chock full of nuttiness.
Gluten-Free Nutty Tarts
Makes 6 four-inch tarts or 1 eleven-inch tart
½ cup superfine or Asian white rice flour
½ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup superfine or Asian sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1¾ teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
1 (8 ounce) can almond paste
2 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
¼ cup pine nuts
¾ cup raw honey
2 tablespoons dairy-free butter substitute, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
3 large eggs
   Combine white rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum and 1 teaspoon salt in food processor. Process for 5 seconds to combine. Break almond paste into small chunks and add to flour mixture. Pulse in long pulses until mixture resembles coarse sand. With the processor running, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture holds together when squeezed in the hand. Mixture will still appear very crumbly.
   Divide mixture between 6 (four-inch) tart pans with removable bottoms or 1 (eleven-inch) tart pan. Press mixture firmly into pans. Refrigerate crust for at least 30 minutes.
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If the nuts need roasting, place them on a baking sheet and cook for about 8 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Let cool.
   Prick the crust in many places with a fork. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until they start to color.
   In a large mixing bowl, whisk together honey, melted butter substitute, vanilla extract, almond extract, and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Whisk in eggs. Fold in the nuts. Divide mixture between pre-baked crusts.
   Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crusts are brown and filling is set around the edges and jiggles a little in the center. Let cool and remove from tart pans.