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A rare benefit

I’ve started this post four different times now, on five different days. I’m already tired of it, and I still haven’t figured out how to start. Does that ever happen to you? Do you do what I do and take a "break" to raid the walk-in at Delancey for chocolate chip cookie dough? Do you tell yourself, What harm could it really do if I listened to Freedom '90 again? Do you ever wonder if you’ve missed your chance to be a dancer in a Janet Jackson video? Shall we start this thing already?

First, I want to tell you that I was elated by your response to Delancey. Totally elated. Ecstatic. Even slightly stoned. I’m still coming down from it. Thank you so very, very much. And HURRY UP, MAY OF 2014!

Now, speaking of Delancey: when I was cleaning up the office there a couple of weeks ago, I found a large container of shredded, unsweetened coconut.  We’d been using it to make macaroons that were served with a key lime mousse, but the mousse was no longer on the menu, and the coconut wasn’t flagged for another use, or not yet.  So I took it home - a rare benefit of being the unfortunate person charged with maintaining the office!  I WIN THIS TIME - and made something with it that we liked so much, and ate so quickly, that I made it again less than a week later.  The recipe I’m talking about comes from Heidi Swanson’s wonderful Super Natural Every Day, a title that has recently joined the select group of favorite cookbooks that I keep on top of our refrigerator. It’s called a macaroon tart.

(For the record, June did not eat any, but she wished she could.)

What we have here, or what we had before we ate it all, is a buttery crust that tastes and crunches a little like shortbread, topped with hunks of soft summer fruit and a blanket of chewy macaroon. Heidi’s original recipe calls for studding the tart with blackberries, but I had some beautiful apricots on the counter, so I used them instead. I also threw in a few raspberries, but I preferred the apricots.  I loved the apricots. In fact, I want to call this an Apricot Macaroon Tart.  I think I will. And while I’m in the business of making bold statements, I should say that I also took liberties with the crust. I hope Heidi will still call me a friend. Her recipe calls for white whole wheat flour, but my niece Hillary is living with us this summer, and she’s gluten-intolerant, so I gathered up my courage and tried making a gluten-free version of the crust. I used a mixture of buckwheat, brown rice, and tapioca flours, and though I don’t know what the tart would taste like as Heidi intended it, I liked the toasty, nutty flavor of the buckwheat so much that I now can’t imagine the tart without it. Apricot, coconut, butter, buckwheat. I’m in.

Happy weekend.

Apricot Macaroon Tart
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day

A word (or many words) about flour: using Shauna’s 40/60 ratio for gluten-free baking, I whisked up a batch of all-purpose flour mix from 100 grams of buckwheat flour, 100 grams of brown rice flour, and 300 grams of tapioca flour.  (I then used 170 grams of this mixture in the recipe.)  I have no idea how well this mix of flours would work in other recipes, and I probably did everything wrong, but it worked nicely here, yielding a crust with a crunchy, slightly nubbly texture and great buckwheaty flavor.  The one thing that I will say, however, is that the crust wept a not-insignificant amount of butter onto the sheet pan.  I have to assume that this had something to do with the mix of flours I used, and their properties? Anyway, I doubt that the original recipe, as Heidi conceived it, has a butter-weeping problem.  In any case, consider yourself alerted. If your crust leaks a little butter onto the sheet pan, don’t worry.  That’s why the sheet pan is there.

And one more word about flour: even if you do eat gluten, as I do, you really should consider using some buckwheat flour. The next time I make this tart, I might try using a mixture of buckwheat flour and standard all-purpose flour - maybe one-third buckwheat and two-thirds all-purpose?  Not that white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour are not interesting enough, but I really love what buckwheat brings to this crust.

Oh, and if you find yourself without pistachios and are contemplating a trip to the grocery store: don’t worry about it.  I’ve forgotten to add the pistachios both times that I’ve made this tart, and though I imagine it would be prettier and maybe a little, little bit tastier with them, it’s wonderful without.

Finally, if you live in Seattle, I strongly recommend the apricots from Bill’s Fruits, a stand toward the Ballard Inn end of the Ballard Farmers’ Market.

For the crust:
1 ½ cups (170 g) white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or a mixture of flours (see above)
¾ cup (60 g) unsweetened finely shredded coconut
½ cup (100 g) sugar
½ tsp. fine sea salt
10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the filling:
2 cups (140 g) unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 large egg whites
8 ounces (225 g) fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
1/3 cup (45 g) pistachios, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan, and set it on a rimmed sheet pan.

To make the crust, combine the flour, coconut, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Stir in the butter, and mix until the dough no longer looks dusty and all flour is absorbed. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan: it should form a solid, flat layer. Bake for 15 minutes, or until barely golden. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Combine the coconut, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Add the egg whites, and mix until well combined. When the crust is baked, evenly distribute the apricots over it. Drop dollops of the filling over the fruit, using your fingers to nudge it into the spaces in between.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the peaks of the filling are deeply golden. Cool completely before topping with pistachios, slicing, and serving.

Yield: 8 to 12 slices, depending on how much you like dessert.


Blogger Shila said...

What a stunner. Now I will have to actually buy enough summer fruit to bake with (but not make jam with!)

Congrats again on Delancey. I can not wait to devour it!

3:13 PM, July 19, 2013  
Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

oh, bless you, Molly. You had me at macaroon tart, but to see that you had ALREADY made it gluten free for me, and you discovered the beauty of buckwheat flour? Be still my heart. I shall be picking up some apricots as soon as they come into season in Chicago!

5:27 PM, July 19, 2013  
Blogger Lecia Phinney said...

We have apricots! And extra coconut! Adding this to my weekend agenda. Alexi has to work; the boys and I plan to do nothing at home - their favorite pastime. Which means I can bake. xo

5:35 PM, July 19, 2013  
Blogger RachelB said...

This sounds fantastic. I don't know if I will ever get to make it since my husband has a thing about coconut (not sure what exactly, I am still mapping the edges but I think macaroons play into it).

6:13 PM, July 19, 2013  
Blogger jennifer said...

sounds great!!

6:41 PM, July 19, 2013  
Blogger Emily said...

If I ever do karaoke, I'm singing Freedom 90. That song rocks my socks off. :-)

6:49 PM, July 19, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

such a great post -- I love your writing!

7:51 PM, July 19, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely recipe -- must try! But I am left wondering what other cookbooks that are part of the select group that live on top if your fridge? Any chance you will share the list with us? Thanks!

9:15 PM, July 19, 2013  
Anonymous Julie said...

Shortbread, fruit and chewy macaroon? Yes please! And I even have 4 egg whites languishing in the fridge, needing to be used. A clear sign if ever there was one...

11:03 PM, July 19, 2013  
Blogger Annika Bock said...

What a beautiful cake! And just like that I have all the ingredients at hand. Let's see if it works with Italian prunes as well.
And congratulations again on your book - I am so looking forward to reading it.

2:41 AM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger Denise in PA said...

I am SO making the macaroon tart! Thank you!! o:)

5:23 AM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger Liria said...

Apricots and gluten free tart, sounds really good. I have been taking a look on Amazon to Heidi's book and now I'm decided to buy it. If you like it that much must be worth to read it and try a few recipes.

6:52 AM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger Laurel said...

That book of Swanson's has SO many great recipes! I borrowed it from the library, photocopied a few extra recipes, but, still, am dying to purchase it for myself. One of my favorites is the tortellini salad. I've done so many variations on the theme, and they just keep getting better. Definitely want to try this one too!

8:10 AM, July 20, 2013  
Anonymous Liza in Ann Arbor said...

I have always loved Freedom 90-heck, George Michael in general! Video's awesome. Love apricots too!

9:25 AM, July 20, 2013  
Anonymous wanderingeducators said...

YUM. we have fresh peaches. YES. Thank you for this deliciousness!

10:37 AM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger Christine said...

I, too, position Heidi's book in my most-used section, which I keep stacked horizontally on a tickety old cupcake tower. It works for me. The ravioli salad remains my favorite of all the things I've tried, but I hadn't worked up the courage to do this one yet. Or maybe I just didn't have the ingredients? Apricots I have.

11:29 AM, July 20, 2013  
Anonymous Dana Staves | Whisks & Words said...

I disliked coconut as a kid, so I carry over this ingrained prejudice against it (even though, I find, I actually do like coconut). This recipe sounds delicious, and has inspired me to try a coconut recipe! And Heidi's cookbook is going on my wish list - you're the second person in my blogosphere to mention it this week!

11:48 AM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger BrooklynSalt said...

Coconut and pistachio also go really well with fresh mango. I've been craving that combo for a while and this tart is a great way to put them together!

1:51 PM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger Allison Backous Troy said...

This looks so good! One question: how would you adjust the sugar if you were using sweetened coconut? I just have a huge bag of it in my fridge, and while it's been showing up in granola, I'd love to try this. SO excited for your next book!

7:35 PM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger Dizzy Lizzie said...

Love the recipe. Maybe I'll have to buy Heidi's book! All the best for your book. I cant wait for it. If its half as good as A Homemade Life was, its gonna be awesome!

9:16 PM, July 20, 2013  
Blogger De yummyblogsisters said...

was just looking for a nice summer pie recipe! I am going to make someone really happy with this...

1:10 AM, July 21, 2013  
Blogger Linda said...

Oh, that my husband liked coconut. I would make this but I would then eat the whole thing.

6:46 AM, July 21, 2013  
Blogger KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

This looks and sounds delicious.

1:27 PM, July 21, 2013  
Blogger Nouveau Chef said...

I LOVE Bill's Fruit! I just wish I could have enough of his apricots to actually make something with them. I gobble them up as is too quickly!

5:52 PM, July 21, 2013  
Blogger Sarah said...

I am so thrilled about your new book coming out! I read your first book often it's a favorite of mine. I decided to check out Heidi's book and I love it it's now a new fave of mine as well has her old ones. This looks amazing I think I might give it a try!

7:00 PM, July 21, 2013  
Blogger Unknown said...

Macaroons with key lime mousse? That sounds like my ultimate dessert!! But this tart sounds fantastic too, so until you share the recipe for the lime mousse, I'll give this a go.

7:58 PM, July 21, 2013  
Anonymous sara forte said...

Sounds so great. I know you hear this often, but I hope it always warms your heart a bit - I love your writing. Always makes me feel like we're close friends on an easy coffee date. A crazy feeling when I know thousands of people read your blog, likely feeling the same. Quite a gift you have, Miss Molly.

8:14 PM, July 21, 2013  
Blogger A.S.U. said...

Do you beat the egg whites? Or just mix them in as is? Looks great, want to try this today!!

12:21 AM, July 22, 2013  
Anonymous Chiara said...

As someone that writes for a living, yes, that definitely happens to me. I love when you find something you didn't expect and turn it into something great. The tart sounds amazing, I'll definitely be making it soon.

5:57 AM, July 22, 2013  
Anonymous doro burke said...

I Love your blog and read it frequently.
This cake sounds fantastic, i made one similar using rhubarb this spring, I will definately try it with the apricots it sounds lovely. greetings from Germany!

6:25 AM, July 22, 2013  
Blogger Rocky Mountain Woman said...

how beautiful is that?

can't wait to try it...

10:04 AM, July 22, 2013  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi, all. Thanks for stopping by!

To answer a couple of questions:

Allison Backous Troy, hmm... I'm not sure. I've only made the recipe with unsweetened coconut. If I were you, I'd just try cutting back a little on the sugar and see how it goes. Let me know what you figure out!

A.S.U., no need to beat the egg whites. Just stir them in!

11:45 AM, July 22, 2013  
Anonymous Charlotte said...

Your first book has been on my "to read" list for a long time. And I finally just got it. And I'm only a couple of recipes in, but I love it. So, thank you.

8:57 AM, July 23, 2013  
Anonymous Evie said...

I so enjoy your writing. And as for this recipe, I'm gonna try it as soon as I gather up the ingredients. I have a fancy Le Creuset tart pan that I've not yet used!

10:57 AM, July 24, 2013  
Blogger Cruz said...

I'm going to buy this cookbook! How do you keep your slim figure?!

8:00 PM, July 24, 2013  
Blogger Kara said...

Dear Molly,

A Homemade Life may have changed the very way I think about my (kinda small, totally sweet) life. I cannot WAIT to read more from you. Congrats on Delancey. And June! And your life. :) Love, Kara

5:41 AM, July 25, 2013  
Blogger Gemma said...

'Does that ever happen to you?' Far too often - so many posts started, stopped, abandoned! But... thank you for the reminder to pick up Heidi's book again. I haven't looked at it for a while and had forgotten how many recipes we tried and loved and how many there are still to try.

8:59 AM, July 25, 2013  
Blogger Evan said...

Perfect for the stone fruit languishing on our counter from the food share!
I'm interested to try a gluten-free flour concoction...

1:57 PM, July 25, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sound wonderful, can't wait to make it. Also, could you please, pretty pretty please, add a 'Pin It' button to your posts so I can keep your recipes on my pinterest page? THANKS!

2:48 PM, July 25, 2013  
Blogger Julie said...

As it happens, I have a bunch of mangoes this week, and I was wondering about making this with mangoes. I have never baked with mangoes, though, so I am unsure. Anyone have thoughts on this? Thanks, this looks fabulous. (and since I never comment here, let me add that June is wonderful and I love seeing pictures of her. Looking forward to your new book, too)

8:10 PM, July 27, 2013  
Blogger Anouk said...

Baked this beauty yesterday! My tart pan (springform pan actually) was slightly smaller so used little less of everything to make crust. Made one from 2/3 white spelt + 1/3 buckwheat flour, also scaled back on the butter since you mentioned you had some weeping problems. To avoid this, I also chilled the crust in the fridge prior to baking. Seemed to resolve the issue. Turned out lovely! After making the crust, I noticed I ran out of coconut... Oops, kinda essential for macaroon tart I guess :) But partly replaced it w/ hazelnut + almond meal, which also paired very well with the apricots but maybe made a tart a bit heavier.

1:53 AM, July 29, 2013  
Anonymous Juanita said...

I made this tart with a combo of buckwheat, whole wheat pastry and AP flour. Delicious! Will do it again. Maybe try the pistachios next time.

6:14 PM, July 29, 2013  
Blogger tiffany said...

I recently swapped a bit of coconut oil for butter and/or vegetable oil in my favourite pie crust and the results had people begging me to quit my job and open a bakery. That won't happen, but I appreciated the compliment, so I thought I'd pass it along -- considering that you have coconut in the crust anyway ;) Enjoy!

8:45 AM, August 06, 2013  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I had to pop by and share that I made this last week. I actually have SNED, but it was your post that brought my eyes to the recipe again. This tart will now be a standby for me. (I almost always have coconut in my house because of your granola recipes!) It's so easy and so freakin' delicious. I used 1/2 cup graham flour along with ww, blackberries & apricots for the fruit. Pistachios topping it off were icing on the cake- I loved them. Thanks, Molly!

8:26 PM, August 07, 2013  
Blogger HadleyEG said...

I'm planning on making this today! I'm feeling pretty darn excited about it. I have a few peaches I'm going to use, and might also include some roasted rhubarb. Now the question is, do I use the whipping cream in the fridge to make whipped cream to top this, or save it to top something else this weekend....?? Life's tough questions.

6:29 AM, August 15, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is excellent! I used sweetened coconut, so reduced the sugar -- only 1/3C in the crust & only 1/4C in the filling -- just right with apricots, which needed a little sweetness.

Can't wait to try it with other fruits & also with part buckwheat (I used white wholewheat flour).

Many thanks for such a lovely dessert!


3:21 PM, September 05, 2013  
Anonymous Rebecca Egbert said...

This tart looks incredible, but maybe it's the little legs in the picture I really love.

Thank you for your beauty.

11:09 AM, September 17, 2013  

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