Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Apple Tart

Apple Tart with Salted Caramel by Amy Roth Photo

I’m not sure what came over me last weekend, but the idea of a salted caramel apple tart just worked its way into my imagination and wouldn’t let go. It was entirely too specific to be denied — an apple tart would’ve been fine, even an apple crisp, but this HAD to have salted caramel, and had to be gluten-free. So I got to work.

While this tart is easy enough for even novice bakers to make, it has a few parts to it which add up in terms of actual cooking plus resting time. If you’d rather not do it in one pass, you could easily start a day or two early by prepping the crust and the caramel and refrigerating them until you’re ready to proceed.

Gluten-Free Tart Crust

I wanted to use almond flour for the crust because I thought the flavor would complement the apples and caramel nicely, so I searched for a recipe that guaranteed something more flaky than dense and chewy, which can sometimes be a problem with almond flour. Turns out that meant adding some tapioca starch, but not enough to overwhelm the nutty flavor of the almonds. The recipe I chose from Cassidy’s Craveable Creations worked out great. There’s no need to parbake — just follow her instructions to prep and rest the dough, then go from there. (You’ll need to purchase finely ground almond flour rather than almond meal for this, which isn’t always easy to find locally. Bob’s Red Mill is delicious, but too coarse for a lot of the recipes I make, so I order flour online in five pound bags and store it in the freezer for maximum freshness. I’ve put together a shopping guide at the end of this post so you can find any specialty items I mention.)

Salted Caramel

Salted caramel is a snap to make, and it’s a great way to use any leftover heavy cream you may have hanging around. The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes more than you’ll need for the tart, so you have an excuse to warm the caramel for an ice cream topping, eat it with apple slices, or just sample it liberally from the jar. Most recipes are pretty similar and don’t call for vanilla, but I have a ridiculous amount of vanilla bean pods in the cupboard, so I simmered one with the cream, and it really added a nice depth to the final product. (If you ever need vanilla beans — especially in bulk — but can’t bring yourself to purchase them at the extortionate prices charged by grocery stores, do what I do and order from ebay. Seriously.)

This tart can really use a generous application of salted caramel (and it’s great drizzled over the individual slices), so don’t be shy when you’re building it. The apples aren’t tossed with sugar before assembly, so if you prefer a sweeter tart, be generous.

Vanilla bean pods by Amy Roth Photo

Apples and Assembly

To make the tart a bit prettier than I normally would, I left the apple skins on and cut them into thin slices before arranging them in the pan in half-apple groupings. Instead of trying my patience with a knife, I set my mandoline to cut 1/8″ slices, which ensured even slices and sped up the process considerably. But even with the mandoline, it took a little while to slice five apples, so I dipped the fresh slices into a mixture of citric acid and water to keep them from browning. You could use plenty of lemon juice in the water instead of the citric acid powder, but I’ve never had much luck with it. Neither one is strictly necessary since browning won’t harm the flavor, but it makes for a nice presentation.

My 9″ tart pan was perfect for this application, but you can use a pie plate if you prefer. Just don’t use deep dish unless you increase all ingredients. Even so, the apples may look a bit meager in there after baking.

The only difficulty with assembly was taking pictures between each step, but when the photographic muse calls, one must listen! In fact, I created a little animation of the process, if you’d like to take a look:

Gluten-free apple tart with salted caramel by Amy Roth Photo

While making a pretty tart takes a little more effort than my go-to apple crisp, the extra time spent in the kitchen is certainly worth it! Nothing says fall like a delicious apple dessert.

Slices of Salted Caramel Apple Tart

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Apple Tart with Salted Caramel by Amy Roth Photo
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Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Apple Tart

An apple tart with soul – salted caramel adds depth and the nutty almond crust plays beautifully with the other flavors in this perfect fall dessert.

Course: Dessert
Ingredients
Salted Caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Apple Tart
  • 4-5 baking apples (like Cortland or Granny Smith)
  • citric acid
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar optional, for sprinkling
Instructions
Almond Flour Crust
  1. Follow instructions at the blog post listed in Recipe Notes (below) for tart preparation. After chilling dough in refrigerator, roll out between two sheets of parchment paper, remove one piece of paper and turn dough over and into a 9" tart pan with removable bottom. Remove top sheet of parchment and press dough into the pan. Trim excess dough either with a knife or by pressing dough against the edge of the pan. Refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the tart.

Salted Caramel
  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until a deep amber color. 

  2. While syrup is cooking, simmer heavy cream and vanilla bean in a small pot. Remove vanilla bean just before proceeding with the next step.

  3. Once sugar reaches the proper color, whisk in heavy cream, taking care as you do because it will foam up. Continue whisking over low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth.

  4. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in butter and salt. Allow to cool before proceeding with apple tart assembly.

  5. Mix a small bowl of water and citric acid according to instructions on the package and set next to your work station.

Apple Tart
  1. Cut apples in half lengthwise and core. To slice, turn an apple half on its side so the apple is taller than it is wide, with the cut half is facing away from you. With a mandoline set to 1/8", slice the apples as far down as you can go without endangering your fingers.

  2. Stack the apple slices in order so they re-form the apple half. Dip in citric acid & water and set aside on a plate or cutting board. Repeat with remaining apples.

  3. To assemble, remove prepared tart shell from the refrigerator and add 3-4 large spoonfuls of salted caramel to the base of the tart. Spread with a butter knife or small offset spatula. 

  4. Arrange sliced apple halves decoratively into tart shell. See video for how I did it, or just wing it. Fill in any open spaces with smaller groupings of apple slices.

  5. Brush apples with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if using.

  6. Place tart shell on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for approximately 60-75 minutes (possibly more), or until a skewer inserts easily into the thickest apple sections with little resistance. If tart dough starts to brown too much, wrap the edges in foil.

  7. Cool in tart pan to room temperature before serving. Drizzle with salted caramel sauce for a decadent presentation.

Recipe Notes

Use your favorite tart dough recipe or follow instructions for the one I used at Cassidy's Creaveable Creations

Gingered Pomelo Sorbet

Pomelo Sorbet with Ginger

Do you do pomelo? The first time I had one, I had no idea about the pith situation, nor the thick skin on the segments and had a time with it. I’d heard they were delicious, saw one at a market, and picked it up for lunch thinking it’d be a nutritious option and I’d get to try something new to boot. Hah! Back in my office, I went to work peeling it with the steak knife I had in my drawer. And I kept working. And peeling, and working, and peeling. Until finally — no lie, about 10 minutes later — I got to the good stuff! I never made the mistake of tackling one outside of my own kitchen again, and have gotten more adept at it over time, but still don’t have them as often as I should.

Then a month or so ago, Darcie mentioned that she wanted to do a tutorial on prepping pomelo (which, by the way, is a terrific guide). I casually mentioned that maybe we should do a sorbet with the sections, and the next thing I knew, she’d come up with an amazing recipe. Let me tell you, it pays to be friends with a recipe developer!

Gingered Pomelo Sorbet

It was an overcast day, so we decided to use natural light to give the photos a soft feel. I really enjoyed taking a break from my strobes, which I’ve come to rely on even when going for a daylight look; it was nice to get back to my magic window and take a WYSIWYG approach to lighting. The props and backgrounds came together easily as well once we saw the prepared sorbet. The blue tile offers a nice complement to the edging-toward-coral sorbet, and the diamond pattern on the light gray bowl relates to the starburst pattern on the vintage Ovenex loaf pan. I’d say it was a success all around, and look forward to making this again now that I have the secret formula for getting to the meat of the pomelo in record time!

Be sure to visit Darcie’s site for the sorbet recipe — it’s a real winner.

Gingered Pomelo Sorbet Scoop

Pavlova Wreath with Berries

Like clouds in edible form, pavlovas are delicate and ethereal, and can really rain on your parade if the circumstances allow. It’s a meringue allowed to form the backbone of a dessert, so you’ll want to treat it with care because it’ll respond in kind. Warm the eggs before beginning your recipe. Make sure the whites, mixing bowl and beaters are completely free of any oil/yolk. Start whipping the egg whites slowly, then gradually faster until stiff peaks form. And follow the directions for baking in the recipe. It can be a delicate balance, making sure it’s cooked through and dried without browning, but you’ll be rewarded with a scrumptious and impressive-looking dessert, which you then pile high with whipped cream, berries and jam. It’s beyond delicious, and my favorite of our Sweets Week desserts by far. Please visit Darcie’s blog for more about this dessert.

So this is it for the Advent Calendar — I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts Darcie and I have shared this month! We’ll be taking off for the holidays now, but plan to be back in the new year with more posts, probably of the healthy/nourishing variety. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, and Happy New Year! Catch you in 2017.

Pavlova Wreath Close-Up | Amy Roth Photo

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Pavlova Wreath with Berries

Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Dessert
This Pavlova Wreath with Berries is gorgeous and wintery with fresh flavors you can't get enough of.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint whipping cream (chilled)
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)

Pavlova

  • 4 extra-large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (white wine or distilled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Berries

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup Bonne Maman Four Fruits Preserves

Note

Pavlova base adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.

Directions

Pavlova
Preheat oven to 180°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, gradually add the sugar and beat until shiny, stiff peaks form. Sift the cornstarch over the egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla and gently fold together with a spatula.
Spoon large dollops of the meringue in a circle on the parchment paper. Using a spoon, spread slightly, forming a wreath shape with a shallow trough. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The merengue should remain very light in color. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. The end result should be crisp and dry on the outside.
Berries
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the fruit preserves for about 30 seconds, until slightly thinned. Add half of the blackberries, crush with a fork and stir until combined.
When the base has cooled and you are ready to serve the dessert, whip the chilled cream.
To assemble the pavlova, place the base on a serving platter. Spread the whipped cream over the base. Top with the remaining berries, then drizzle with the fruit preserve sauce. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Panettone Bread Pudding

Anyone who’s been around this blog for a while knows I’m a huge fan of bread pudding. It might’ve even been my first dessert-love, especially the way my grandma made it — just a touch sweet, with meringue on top, served with evaporated milk poured over the top. (Because you cannot separate a Cajun from their Pet Milk. Preach.)

But over the years, I’ve fooled around with the basic recipe a lot, and come up with different variations — everything from a blueberry-heavy pudding to a bananas foster bread pudding that I wouldn’t kick out of bed. But this version with Panettone is maybe the simplest one, and certainly has a great holiday spin. And if you must top it with something other than Pet Milk, it does not suck with the warm spiced rum sauce I found at Bon Appetit. Good gawd! Outrageous doesn’t even begin to cover it.

See what Darcie had to say about this over at Gourmet Creative, and enjoy!

Panettone Bread Pudding

Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert
Panettone Bread Pudding makes an everyday dessert extra-special for the holidays.

Ingredients

  • 1 Panettone bread loaf
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 12oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons butter (chilled, cut into small dice)

Optional

  • 1 splash bourbon

Note

Since Panettone is such a moist bread, you’ll need to dry it out before proceeding with the recipe. If possible, a day before you make this, cut the bread into large cubes (about 1 1/2”) and let them rest on a baking sheet on the counter until you’re ready to prepare the bread pudding. Alternately, toast the bread cubes in a 200°F oven until they’re dried out a bit. Check for doneness every 10 minutes. Ideally, the bread cubes should be as dry as stale bread, but less dry than toast.

Delicious topped with Spiced Rum Sauce from Bon Appetit.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch square baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for bread. Add bread, tossing and pressing down so it absorbs the egg mixture evenly. Let soak for a 30 minutes, then spoon into prepared baking dish. If any of the bread cubes are still dry at this point, add a splash of milk and let it soak in a for a few minutes. Sprinkle butter cubes evenly over the surface of the bread pudding.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, or pudding is evenly browned and puffy. Bread pudding will shrink as it cools.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Dump-It Cake

This cake. Oh, man. THIS CAKE. I really dislike baking, but love This Cake so much that I’ve made it many times over the course of this year — and no one ever knows it’s gluten-free! When something this special comes along, I just have to share it with you, and Sweets Week seemed like the perfect spot for it. The original recipe at the New York Times (by Amanda Hesser of Food52) is wonderful, I’ve no doubt, but I turned to Cup4Cup Flour to make it gluten-free, as I have so many times in the past. The selling point for this blend is that it can be substituted cup-for-cup (See what they did there?) for AP flour without any additions, but I keep coming back to it because those claims are actually true and it doesn’t have an odd taste the way so many other GF blends do.

I also incorporated quite a few suggestions from the comments section of the Times article, so I thought it would be easier to communicate everything to you in the form of a recipe here rather than a bunch of notes about substitutions you’d have to figure out on your own, so enjoy! I didn’t use the original frosting recipe because I found it much too heavy on the sour cream, but use it if you like that flavor, or try your favorite frosting, or just open up a container from the baking aisle of the grocery store – I promise I won’t tell a soul. And please let me (and the original poster) know what you think if you try it! Check out Darcie’s post here for more about this amazing, rich, delight of a cake.

Chocolate Cake Slice | Amy Roth Photo

 

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Chocolate Dump-It Cake

Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
This gluten-free chocolate cake is everything you want in any chocolate cake — rich, moist, and thoroughly chocolate-y.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar (plus more for dusting cake pans)
  • 5oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (plus more for greasing cake pans)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon espresso powder)
  • 2 cups Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Note

I adapted the original New York Times recipe to make this cake gluten-free, plus incorporated several of the helpful notes in the comments section.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack to catch any drips as the cake bakes on the middle rack. In a 2- to 3-quart pot, mix together the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, and coffee. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper and grease the paper as well. Use extra sugar to dust the pan as you would with flour; this results in a crispy exterior and adds a nice little bit of sweetness.
When the chocolate in the pot has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions, and without over-mixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice to blend. Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, run knife around the edges of pan, then turn cakes over onto cake plate. Carefully remove parchment paper, then frost.

At Least Thanksgiving Dessert is Set

Thanksgiving is coming! Yikes! I’ve been bookmarking recipes on my “Thanksgiving” Pinterest page for a few weeks, but somehow lost track of time and now it feels like:

I’LLNEVERGETEVERYTHINGDONEOMGRUNAWAYRUNAWAYRUNAWAY!

Deep breaths…

I’ve never been one for making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, I was planning to serve my Short Rib Ragu as the main this year, but my father-in-law ordered a turkey for us instead, so we’re going with a tried-and-true menu! We’ll pick up the bird Wednesday, which means no dry brining for us, but I’ve found a few traditional recipes that should do the trick, either alone or in combination. The bird will be 18 POUNDS for only five of us and I really don’t know if my refrigerator can accommodate such a large bird, but at least we’ll have plenty of gumbo over the weekend, if anyone wants to join us.

Seriously. Please join us.

So as far as I can tell, we’ll have a fairly traditional Thanksgiving, with:

Nibbles

  • Cheeses, olives and Prosecco
  • Endive with figs, blue cheese, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar

Main Course

  • Turkey – I’m leaning toward this simple recipe, though Peking-style sounds amazing, and I wonder if breaking apart the bird before roasting would be the better course of action. I can break a raw chicken into parts without mangling it most days, but fear this beast will be too much for me to handle.

Sides

  • Purple potatoes, either salt roasted whole or prepared this way
  • Kale salad, which I’ll try to replicate from a salad I threw together a couple of Thanksgivings ago. I really should start writing things down!
  • Alton Brown’s cornbread
  • Green beans, maybe? I’m leaning toward the version on this Pinterest board with lemon and capers. What do you think?

Dessert

  • Apple Pie from Auntie El’s in Sloatsburg, NY (There’s no website, sorry.)
  • Sweet Potato Chiffon Puddings (picture above, recipe below)

While the menu doesn’t sound inspired, exactly, it will be the type of cooking I enjoy doing — simple home cooking that relies on fresh, whole ingredients. I’d love to throw in some of the traditional Cajun foods I grew up with (like my grandpa’s Oyster Dressing or Uncle Phil’s Cornbread Dressing), but I’d be the only one to eat them. And sentimentality aside, that’s a lot of work and expense for an already-busy holiday. Also, I can usually count on my dad to make oyster dressing at Christmas, so it isn’t that long of a wait.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you spending it with family, taking in strays or maybe escaping completely and going on vacation (preferably someplace warm)?

Sweet Potato Chiffon Puddings

Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Dessert
Misc Pre-preparable
These gluten-free Sweet Potato Chiffon Puddings have an airy texture, spicy orange flavor and can be made ahead in individual servings, so they're perfect for a dinner party or Thanksgiving gathering.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1lb roasted sweet potato (peeled)
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 3 Large egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 Large egg whites (room temperature)
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Note

If you'd like to make your own pumpkin pie spice, I highly recommend this recipe at My Baking Addiction.

I'm thinking a thin layer of caramel, dulce de leche or cajeta would be a delicious addition between the sweet potato and whipped cream layers.

I adapted this recipe from my favorite Sweet Potato Pie and this recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie at Chow.

Directions

Pour orange juice and Grand Marnier into a small measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin evenly over the surface. Set aside for later.
In a food processor, add sweet potato, milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, pie spice and salt, and pulse until smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture reaches 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove pan from heat, add orange-gelatin mixture and orange zest and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
Pour egg whites into a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and add cream of tartar. Whisk on high speed until whites start to form medium peaks, about one minute. Add sugar a little at a time and whisk until stiff peaks form, about another minute and a half.
Using a rubber spatula, fold half the egg whites into the cooled sweet potato mixture until no streaks are visible, then repeat with the remaining egg whites.
Either spoon the pudding into individual serving cups and chill or cover bowl and refrigerate pudding until ready to serve.
Just before serving, whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Top puddings with the cream and sprinkle with ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg or crumbled gingersnaps, if desired.

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

If there’s one thing I hope I’ve made clear in this blog over the years, it’s that I hope you’re having fun in the kitchen and aren’t afraid to make substitutions. (Or is that two things? Oh, well.) Unless it’s a main ingredient like beef when I want to make pot roast, I don’t mind swapping out ingredients if I have something on hand that sounds appropriate.

Take this sunny, gluten-free lemon cake from Serious Eats. I haven’t had a great deal of luck with gluten-free cakes in the past, but this recipe sounded simple and intriguing enough for me to give it another go…with changes. I don’t often like the texture of cakes made with oil (and don’t keep vegetable oil in the house, anyway), so I used butter instead. I could’ve melted it to keep things simple, but wasn’t sure if that would leave me with the same texture I was trying to avoid, so I creamed it together with some sugar and hoped for the best. It smelled great and looked just fine coming out of the oven, so I was halfway there.

And then neither of the topping options sounded very good to me, so I whipped up a lemony cream cheese frosting that I thought would complement the cake. And it was tasty, but the cake’s texture was a little spongier than I like. But when I woke up the next morning, I gave it another try and was really happy to see that the cake had evolved overnight into something softer, almost pudding-like, probably the result of the humid weather we’re having. So I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe, especially if you like bright, lemon flavor without a lot of sweetness. Just wait a day for perfection.

And if you want it sweeter or tarter? Make a few substitutions. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? (Not rhetorical; I’d really love to know. Leave a comment with any baking horror stories you’ve experienced, please!)

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (plus extra for greasing pan)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup sweet white rice flour (5 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch (1 ounce)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (rounded)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2-3 lemons)
  • 2 Large eggs (at room temperature)

For the icing

  • 4oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • pinch kosher salt

Note

This recipe was adapted from Serious Eats. I wanted a lighter textured cake than oil normally provides, plus a slightly sweeter base and tangy icing. I think I succeeded on all counts, and thank Serious Eats for the inspiration!

Directions

CAKE
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter.
The the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until butter is light and airy.
In medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients — rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon zest and eggs.
With the mixer set to speed 3, add one-third of dry ingredients and mix until incorporated into butter. Add 1/3 of buttermilk mixture and mix until incorporated. Continue alternating dry ingredients with wet and mixing between additions until a batter is formed. Turn off mixer and scrape down the sides, then mix again for about 30 seconds.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool to room temperature in pan.
ICING
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until it's light and fluffy.
Turn mixer to low and add remaining ingredients, mixing until incorporated fully into cream cheese.
With the cake still in the pan, frost with cream cheese mixture.

Cherry Clafoutis

I know a lot of people are impatient for farmers’ market darlings tomatoes and corn to make an appearance, but I’m just happy to experience the seasons as they unfold and enjoy each week’s new arrivals. Cherries came to market two weeks ago and I’ve been shoving them in my face with a speed rivaled only by Ru at his bowl. But I managed a little restraint as well, because what’s the start of cherry season without a clafoutis?

If you’ve never had clafoutis, you’re in for a treat. It’s a simple, homey French dessert with a custardy base and fruit baked in. Cherry is very popular, but you can use just about any fruit you’d like, really. The traditional recipe isn’t gluten-free so I haven’t made it in a while, but when I saw a recipe by Kimberley Hasselbrink at Cookbooks 365 that used a mixture of almond flour and brown rice flour, I knew clafoutis’ time had come again for me. Visit Cookbooks 365 for the recipe and stick around for a bit for delicious, wholesome recipes and gorgeous photography.

French Feta with Cherries | Minimally Invasive

Because I pitted more cherries than I needed for the clafoutis, I tried something a little different with the extras. To go with a luscious French feta I bought on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Corrado’s, I tossed halved sweet cherries with a touch of honey, some chopped rosemary, toasted and chopped pecans, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. The sweet-tart cherries balanced the salty creaminess of the feta so perfectly, I may or may not have eaten a quarter pound of cheese in one sitting that day. I’ll never tell.

All this talk of cherries has me hungry for more. Lucky me, I loaded up at the market again this weekend. Yum.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Hi, everyone! It’s good to be back. We’ve celebrated a birthday and an anniversary since I last posted, but those milestones caused barely a blip on our radar, given the other major happenings in our lives. We had even greater cause to reflect on another journey around the sun when Gil left the job he’d held for 17 YEARS to form a trade association for a segment of advertisers in the magazine he edited. More than just needing a change as part of a (thankfully non-sleazy) mid-life crisis, this is his chance to build a new business from the ground up, so after a lot of talking, we decided he’d be crazy not to try. It means tightening our belts for a little while, but that’s ok.

So we’ve both been working from home. Hey, I heard that sharp inhalation and can practically see you wincing! But really, it’s been great. Gil’s been traveling a bit, so we haven’t had two straight weeks of each other yet, but even when he’s here, he’s at one end of the house and I’m at the other. So no, we aren’t sick of each other yet.

My big news isn’t nearly so momentous. I fully expected a freelance photography career to have its ups and downs, but it’s been mostly downs for a while now. I’m looking into a contract position doing photo production work for the summer so I can earn a steady paycheck and refill the coffers, but to get my business back on track, I registered for Marie Forleo’s B-School. It’s a big commitment, both monetarily and in time spent, but the course has nearly paid for itself already and I’m only three weeks in. And I’m learning SO MUCH. I’ve never pretended to have a head for business, but it’s been shocking to find out how much I didn’t know, and terrifically surprising to have fun learning about building a business.

I’ve gained a lot of clarity about the people I want to serve, too, and I was shocked to discover that it isn’t major food magazines. Of course, I’d still kill to shoot for them, but the clients I’ve truly loved working with over the past year and change have been small business owners and restaurateurs — people with whom I can form a relationship and really help by providing beautiful imagery, be it branding photos or simple product photography and styling.

Now that I’ve gotten clear about the WHO, I need to figure out the HOW. So I’ll put this call out to you. If you fit the bill — maybe you own a small restaurant or run a food-related business, or just need better product photos for your Etsy store — give me a shout. I’d love to talk to you about your goals and how I can help you achieve them.

You may notice a little change in my site design, too. As part of B-School, we’re encouraged to provide opt-ins on our websites that offer our readers things they need or want. I can’t quite figure out what that might be for Amy Roth Photo, so I thought it’d be best to begin here, at the blog that started it all for me. I’m going to start sending out a monthly newsletter featuring new gluten-free recipes, product photography, and special offers (though probably not all three each and every month). If you’d like to sign up, you can either go to the bottom of this post and look for a light blue box, go to the top of the Blog sidebar, or down to the footer. I tried to make it easy for you, PLUS there’s a special thank you for everyone once you’ve confirmed your registration.

I know all of this has nothing to do with that bit of beauty at the top of the page, so thank you for bearing with me while I got that off my chest. What you see up there is a celebratory apple tart I baked for Gil’s last day at the office. We decided not to do a big blow-out celebration because it was happening right in the middle of my birthday and our wedding anniversary and frankly eating out a third time in the space of a week and a half just didn’t sound that appealing.

WHO AM I?!

To make the tart, I started with my standard gluten-free tart crust from Elana’s Pantry, dusted it with ground cinnamon, then proceeded with the free-form apple tart instructions at Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn. My mandoline didn’t come out to play because I’ve grown attached to the skin on my knuckles, so the apples were a bit thicker than they should’ve been. It didn’t affect baking time or flavor, though, so don’t worry if you have the same issue.

The tart was rich and buttery-tasting from the almond flour, but totally vegan. It wasn’t very sweet, so you could eat a large piece and not feel like you needed a nap, but it was still sweet enough to feel like a treat with afternoon tea. All in all, a great recipe for a quick dessert. I’d imagine it’d be wonderful with a dollop of pastry cream or whipped cream, but that experiment will come later.

For now, I’ll be working on B-School and planning a bigger work life.

One of Us! One of Us!

I’m generally immune to the pumpkin-washed hysteria that grips the popular imagination this time of year. I figure there’s plenty of time for that sort of thing before we see pretty, leafy produce again next spring. Plus, it’s just kinda gross. (I’m looking right at you, pumpkin-flavored coffee.) But our days have been unseasonably cool and I had a delicious roasted ambercup squash for breakfast yesterday, so I felt primed for a little pumpkin dessert. It’s ok, right? I mean, it is October and you do need to know about these before your fall baking gets underway…

I picked up a couple of doughnut pans for baking last year, but the recipes weren’t quite right, so I never shared them here. The larger pan functioned very well, honestly, despite the flavorless batter I filled it with. Actually, the mini doughnut pan worked well, too, but I just don’t have the patience to deal with something so precious for such a minimal output. YMMV. But this outing was a success thanks to this recipe for Gluten-Free Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts from Serious Eats (with just a few minor changes). I gave up on baking with gums a while ago and use ground psyllium husks now, instead. Just a pinch is what the Gluten-Free Girl recommends for this type of baking and it gave me an absolutely perfect result. I brushed the pan with melted coconut oil and used the same in place of the vegetable oil. I wasn’t in the mood for coconut flavor, so I used the organic expeller-pressed stuff from Tropical Traditions, but I’d be curious to see how the flavorful virgin coconut oil works out next time. Because there will be a next time, only with a little more pumpkin spice in the mix. Just a smidge, though. This recipe doesn’t need much noodling.

So forgive the pumpkin post, if you’re not ready for it just yet. But I HAD TO. Now, would it be a terrible thing to have two of these in one day? I suppose I could exercise to make up for it…

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Doughnuts Stack | Minimally Invasive