I think that the recipe just used some mixed nuts right from the can. Good in theory but did you know that lots of canned or jarred mixed nuts contain gluten? I know, it makes me crazy (or should I say nuts?) too – what the heck is gluten doing in a can of nuts?
I am fortunate that my grocery store has implemented a system where they put “GF” stickers under all the gluten free food in the store. So that made it very easy for me to notice that in my particular grocery store there were NO cans of gluten free mixed nuts available. I just wanted to take this opportunity to point out once again if you need to be on a gluten free diet, you need to READ labels. You can’t 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 wanted to also make them dairy free and I tried something a little different in my crust instead of just using shortening or dairy free butter substitute – so I experimented with using a can of Solo Almond Paste instead. It was a worthy experiment – the crust was not quite as flaky as one would be if made with either butter or shortening but the payoff was in taste! It was like a crust made with almond cookies! It is also super simple to make – I just whizzed everything in the food processor and then pressed it into tart pans – no rolling! How much do we love that?
One thing to keep in mind is that you do not want to over process your crust dough or add too much water – you want just enough water so that when you squeeze a handful of the crumbs in your hand, they hold together. Resist with every fiber of your being to turn that bowl full of crumbs into something that looks like dough – trust me on this! And use cold water – I put some water in a glass with some ice cubes to really get it chilled.
For my tarts I used a combination of sliced almonds, pine nuts and pistachios because I like those and I had them on hand but you can use whatever combination of nuts you like. My pistachios were already roasted and shelled so I used them as is but I toasted the almonds and pine nuts in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, roasting really enhances the flavor of nuts. And take note – it is not just cans, bags and jars of mixed nuts that can contain gluten, cans of single nuts can too so beware and read the label unless you are using whole nuts and shelling them yourself!
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 it out of the recipe.
These tarts are fab just as they are but if you really want to gild the lily, add a scoop of dairy-free ice cream!
Gluten Free Nutty Tarts Recipe
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 –use divided
One 8 ounce can Solo Almond Paste (not pie filling or marzipan)
2 – 4 tablespoons ice cold water
½ cup sliced almonds
½ roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts
¾ cup raw honey
2 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
3 large eggs
Combine the white rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 5 seconds to combine. Break the almond paste into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Pulse in long pulses until the mixture resembles coarse sand. With the processor running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together when squeezed in the hand. Mixture will still appear very crumbly.
Divide the mixture between six 4 inch tart pans with removable bottoms (or one 11 inch tart pan), pressing the mixture into the pans firmly. Refrigerate the 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 the nuts are starting to brown and fragrant. Let cool.
Prick the crust in many places with the tines of a fork. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until they are just starting to color.
In a large mixing bowl combine the honey with the melted Earth Balance, vanilla and almond extracts, remaining ¾ teaspoon of salt and whisk. Whisk in the eggs. Fold in the nuts. Divide the mixture between the pre-baked crusts. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the crusts are brown and the filling is set around the outside and just a little jiggly in the center. Let cool and remove from the tart pans.
A gluten free recipe that makes 6 four inch tarts or 1 eleven inch tart.
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