The last meal and a gluten free rhubarb frangipane tart

Nigh on an eon ago, whilst undertaking my food studies course, we made frangipane for the first time. Frangipane is a filling for a cake or tart made with, or flavoured by almonds. In this day and age, it is normally made of ground almonds, butter, egg and sugar. The manner in which this mixture puffed up and surrounded the fruit placed on top, seemed magical to me back then and still does today.

It appears that this fluffy almond concoction could also have been a favourite of a saint. Some googly research unearthed the charming story of Jacoba dei Settesoli, an Italian woman who married into the Frangipani family in 1210. After meeting Saint Frances of Assisi, she became a friend and follower of his, devoting her life to good works. The story goes that upon his death bed, Francis called for ‘Brother Jacoba’ (as he had named her due to her fortitude), to bring him some of his favourite almond treats. Much to the consternation of the other monks, she was allowed in to the monastery with a basket of almond pastries and stayed until the revered man took his last breath.

This tale of a woman before her time, feeding a saint the food he wished for on his death bed, led me to ponder what my last meal on earth would be. Before making this momentous decision, I asked The Yak what he would choose. He replied that it would have to be his ‘once favourite dish’ from his ‘once favourite’ Italian restaurant Buon Ricordo. The legendary cream and Parmesan fettuccine topped with a truffled egg. He would also feast on a basket of the finest gluten laden breads.

For myself at the time of writing (I am nothing if not fickle), it would probably include half a dozen Sydney rock oysters ‘au naturale’, a bowl of buttery garlic prawns, a slice of good sourdough bread to mop up the prawny juices, steamed asparagus spears drizzled with lemon, a splodge of the creamy French soft cheese Buche d’Affinois and an icy cold glass of champagne. (Well, maybe more than one.) For dessert, this pretty and delicate cake would certainly be a contender. The piquant rhubarb offsets the buttery, nutty, sweetness of the frangipane perfectly.

A tart worthy of a saint or a Cheergerm’s last meal.


150g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder (1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 lemon rind finely grated
150g almond meal
35g (1/4 cup) gluten free plain flour
150g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths

Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease a 34 cm x 12 loose based tart tin rectangular tin or a 23cm loose based flan tin.
Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until they are light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the vanilla and lemon rind and beat well.
Add almond meal and flour and fold to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
Arrange the rhubarb over the top of the mixture in a pleasing pattern.
Put in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
If you want to serve it warm, give it 15 minutes before trying to take it out of the tin. Otherwise, cool completely then gently loosen the edges before removing carefully and placing onto a plate for presentation.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream or without. That’s really up to you.

Slightly adapted from the SBS food recipe website. Link follows the photos.

Spring has sprung and a gluten free asparagus and goats cheese tart

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris
I wonder where the boidies is?
They say the boidies are on the wing
That’s funny, I thought the wing was on the boidies.

Yes, spring has arrived in this Southern Hemisphere, slipping in and out admidst torrential rain and coolish days. Teasing us, then leaving us. With the tantalising promise that summer, in all it’s glory will soon be here.

Nothing says spring like an asparagus spear or two. Back in the good old gluten laden days, the Yak and I devoured many an asparagus tart made with puff pastry. Now the GF dust has settled, I am once again venturing into the whimsical world of pastry. GF styling it baby.

Thanks to the lovely ‘gf and me’ blog for their sour cream pastry recipe. I have provided a link to their original recipe below. This is purely a replica of theirs but I needed to add a dash of iced water, probably due to the difference in gluten free flour blends used. The sour cream in this pastry is banging. Having used it in my non GF pastry blends, it’s great to see it working here.

The pastry was light and crispy and The Yak has given this tart the big coeliac thumbs up. He is annoyingly endearingly asking me to make it again soon. Of course, you can use this filling in any regular gluten laden crust you desire.

This Meredith goats cheese was on special the other day and a free cheese cookbook was thrown in. Bonus! I have been loving on this cheese for quite a few years now. (It’s not illegal to love on a cheese, surely?) The experience of tasting this wee beauty at a farmers market years ago was surprising. It wasn’t all My Highland Goaty Oaty Oaty in your face but sweet, mellow and delicious.

This cheese is awash in golden fruity extra virgin olive oil with the herbaceous notes of thyme and garlic. Great in tarts, frittatas, fabulous tossed into a salad, thrown into a fritter batter or shmeared on a cracker or slice of fresh bread.


1 cup plain gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp salt
113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbl chilled water

Put flour, xanthum gum and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture comes together and forms pea sized balls.
Add the sour cream and pulse until the dough starts to hold together. You may or may not need to add the chilled water. I did.
Roll into a ball, cover with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 200C. Remove dough from fridge, let it sit for 10 minutes then place between two floured pieces of baking paper and roll out to the correct size to fit your tin. I used a 24cm loose bottom fluted tart tin. A rectangular one would be great. (I have misplaced mine.) Gluten free pastry can be very soft, don’t be surprised if you need to patch a few places.
Blind bake for 15 minutes. (This means lining the pastry with baking paper and placing beans or weights on it.)
Remove tart shell from oven, take out the baking beans then put back in the oven for another ten minutes.
The tart shell is then ready to fill.

2 tbl olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs
100ml cream
2 bunches asparagus, washed and trimmed
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
100g marinated goats cheese
Pepper and salt for seasoning

Sauté onions until soft for about ten minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Let cool.
Beat eggs and cream, season with pepper and a wee bit of salt.
Place onions on bottom of blind baked tart and pour the egg and cream mixture over the onions gently.
Place the asparagus and tomatoes in an artistic (not so in my case) fashion. I did find it hard to squeeze the tomatoes in.
Break up the goats cheese and place on top. I dribbled a wee bit of the olive oil from the goats cheese jar over the asparagus. Season with black pepper and salt. (Remember the goats cheese is salty.)
Bake 20-30 minutes at 190C until egg is set and puffy and golden.
Serve with a salad, steamed green beans or whatever you fancy.

Pastry by gf and me, filling by Cheergerm

Just to note, there is no affiliation with Meredith Dairy, I just love their cheese.

Gluten free onion and mushroom tart. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

A tart by any other name is simply a topless pie. My goodness. This is all sounding a tad x-rated.

Gluten free pastry has, thus far, felt somewhat beyond me. Having enjoyed some perfectly lovely gluten filled pastry bakes in my past, a reluctance to stuff up gluten free pastry has always felt a bit too, well, potentially painful.

This bake was a game changer. Yeah baby. Well, kind of.

Starting at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon was probably not the best choice. Bite the bullet I told myself, now or never. Carpe diem, momentous self-help talk, yada, yada, yada. Snoreworthy.

After dicking messing around with the recipe, (it’s a medial condition), the recipe called for the pastry to rest for at least one hour. Here is the (pastry) rub. I knew it wasn’t right the minute I took it out of the food processor, but I ignored my gut instinct. Then, as I went to roll it out. The pastry completely fell apart…Arggghhhhhh…my nightmare was coming true.

However, a tad more iced water, a quick knead and it came together. With no time to waste, I rolled it out between two sheets of baking paper, blind baked it, filled it and baked it again. A millennium later, Bob was your uncle . (By this time the Yak had passed out on the floor from utter hungation.)

It turned out a treat. Second time around, I added just a tad too much water to the pastry. So it took a little more blind baking to dry it out. The moral of this story? Don’t be afraid if things go slightly wrong, you can usually fix them.

Love, love this sexy little tart. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more…) The filling is based on a French provincial classic. Caramelised onions, earthy mushrooms, floral thyme with some hacked up greens. Be inventive with the greeny bits. There was kale in the fridge but baby spinach, silverbeet, rocket or parsley would be just as good.

It is rich, filling and would be awesome cut with a sharply dressed salad. (By this, I don’t mean a bespoke suit with a french cuffed shirt and a pair of brogues.) When I asked The Yak if was it too rich, his reply? No way, are you kidding, I want chips with it. Sigh.

The crust is buttery, crunchy and this cheergerm don’t miss no gluten. The Yak went into raptures (as much as an Northern English born lad is able to.)

This pastry is a more ‘wholegrain’ adaptation from the Simply Gluten Free blog. I have provided the link below, it contains some fantastic pastry baking tips.


3/4 brown rice flour
1/4 buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1tsp xanthum gum

Whisk this together, this leaves you some flour for rolling the pastry out on. You use one and 1/4 cups of this flour for the actual tart base.

1 1/4 cups flour blend (see above)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
125 grams cold cold butter (pop in freezer 15 minutes before using)
5 to 6 tbls iced cold water (put ice cubes in cold water)

Place flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse 5 times to combine.
Add the butter and pulse 6 or 7 times until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with some pea size butter pieces.
With the processor running, add the water 1 tbl at a time until the mixture just clumps together. (This is the tricky bit, don’t go nuts with the water.)
Wrap (using a plastic bag for this step is a good idea) and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This allows the water in the pastry to redistribute.
Whilst pastry is resting, preheat oven to 180C and make the filling. (See below)
Bring pastry back out and let it sit for 5- 10 minutes.
Roll between two sheets of baking paper dusted with remaining GF flour mix.
Place pastry a pie/tart tin (I used a glass Pyrex) that has been buttered.
Blind bake 20 mins. (This means lining the pastry with baking paper and using dried kidney beans, dried soup mix (as I did) or blind baking stones.)
Remove baking paper and beans, gently prick the base of the tart with a fork and bake for another ten minutes.
Remove tart pastry, strew the onion filling over the base of the pastry, gently pour the egg, cream and parmesan mixture over the onion mixture stir through carefully, not touching the pastry.
Bake at 180 for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden and puffy.

3 large sliced onions
2 tbl olive oil
200g mushrooms, sliced
5 leaves of kale finely sliced
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbl fresh chopped thyme)
Splash white wine
3 eggs
100 ml cream 1/4 to 1/2 cup
2 tbls grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large frypan heat the olive oil then add the onion. Cook on a low to medium heat until the onion has begun to caramelise. This takes about 30-40 minutes.
Add thyme, mushrooms and kale. Stir through. Turn to medium heat
Add a splash of white wine and stir until all of the liquid has evaporated, season with pepper and salt and set aside to cool.
Whisk the eggs, cream, salt and pepper together. Stir the parmesan through this mixture.

Crust recipe adapted from Simply Gluten Free blog. (The link is provided after the photos.) The filling is a Cheergerm creation.