Tonight we attended a potluck to welcome the foreign exchange students to our community. These events are always a tad, well… awkward for me. The foreign exchange kids all make something from their home countries to share and they are left wondering why the woman who encouraged them to cook won’t take a taste of what they have labored over. I usually end up dragging my love with me. He dutifully tastes and smiles.
I became smarter this time. I ate before we went. (Seriously, two rooms of the hosts’ house are FILLED with food offerings – it’s tough!) I also made a dessert that I knew I would want to eat. And I ate it first. Before anyone else could. (>insert evil grin here. lol<) I put it on a side table and moved the serving utensil off to the side so my fellow wheat-free or gluten-free guests could partake without worries too. May I just say… YUM. Doing that manuever again! Not only did I get to each something gluten-free (and thereby stand around holding a paper plate too… LOL) but I had leftovers! The leftovers lasted as long as a single car ride where we dropped them off for sweet Gaby who wasn’t able to make it. She saved me from having to purchase larger pants by taking the remaining pieces off my hands.
I used this fabulous recipe from Stephanie Jarwoski to get myself started and found that I did very little adapting to make this recipe reflect the flavors I’m in love with at the moment. This recipe looks like a great beginning for a million other recipes to follow. It’s also quite simple and time-friendly for a tart with a cheesecake-like filling. I started baking/cutting, etc when we got home from running errands at 4:15 and it was out of the oven and ready to go by 5:40. Now, THAT, is helpful. The party started at 6:00PM!
Using fresh apples was key – and use an apple you love to eat. The original recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but I chose Gala apples. I have a bag of Pink Lady apples in the fridge to try next. (I’m repeating myself here from a previous blog post… but may I just say – I *love* the name “Pink Lady!” for apples! LOL).
Here’s the recipe I made tonight. I hope you enjoy it as well. I know the gluten-eaters at the party enjoyed it. I *loved* watching their faces as they ate and said “Wait, you’re eating this too!? This is GLUTEN-Free? Incredible!” Yea, baby!
Ginger, Apple and Cream Cheese Tart
1 cup GF Flour Blend (with xanthan gum or add 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum)
1 cup powdered sugar
20 Gluten-Free Mi-Del Gingersnap Cookies (about a half of a bag)
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/4 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon “pumpkin pie spice”
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons finely chopped candied ginger
4 cups Gala apples (about 4 apples), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1/2 cup sliced almonds
*Preheat oven to 400F
- In a food processor, pulse together flour, powdered sugar and cookies until flour-like.
- Add butter pieces and pulse together until well-blended.
- Pour into spring-form or tartlet pan and press to form a bottom crust that goes up the sides of the spring form pan about one inch or into the tartlet edges.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator when you prepare the filling.
- Again in the food processor, combine: cream cheese and sugar until well blended.
- Add egg, and vanilla extract and pulse until blended.
- Pour into prepared crust and spread evenly across the crust.
- Return the crust/filling to the refrigerator to stay chilled.
- Combine the sugar and seasonings into a bowl.
- Cut/prepare apple slices.
- Place apple pieces into the bowl with the sugar/spices and toss to coat evenly – or mix with your hands.
- Add finely chopped candied ginger and mix to spread evenly.
- Pour/spoon the apple slices atop the filling. Spread them as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds.
- Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and apples are fork-tender.
- Use a different fruit: pear, berries, etc.
- Add raisins to the apple mixture, or dried cranberries.
- Omit candied ginger from the cream cheese filling – or sprinkle it into the fruit mixture.
- Add ground cloves to the fruit mixture.
- Omit 1/2 cup of the flour and use one bag of gingersnaps.
- Use one bag of gingersnaps for the crust – just crush in a food processor and add 3 Tablespoons melted butter.
I’m sure there are a million more adaptations that you can create with this.
These are just the ones that I was thinking of as I made it tonight.
Happy GF Eating!