Sunday, July 12, 2009

Raspberry Créme Fraiche Tart • Gluten Free! or Not


Today, I feel lazy. I am laying on the couch under and open window, curtains fluttering in the breeze, radio humming dreamily. The breeze is gently blowing in from the ocean, baby James is playing on his play mat, and all I want to do is lay here, on a beautiful summer day, for the rest of my life. I want to lay here and read poetry and take naps and drink iced tea with spiced simple syrup all day long. And yet, just being here, relaxing, makes me feel so guilty!

Ever since that day, four months ago, when my OB told me to go strait to the hospital because my blood pressure was through the roof, I have been living in a constant state of emergency. Preeclampsia! Near death experience! emergency c-section! Premie newborn! Baby won't breast-feed! Marathon pumping! Mother Killer colic! Up all night! Post-partum depression! Silent Reflux disease! Milk protein allergy! I've been in survivor mode for the past 4 months and I haven't even had a second to catch my breath.

Until now.


If you are new here, baby James has gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is fancy for he spits up all the time and it's really painful and it makes him cry. So we finally got the baby's meds adjusted correctly, and he is doing fantastic. No more pain, no more tears: he is happy and healthy and developing right on track. And now... I feel lost. I sit on the couch all day, waiting for something to go wrong, waiting for the baby to have some new emergency... but he's ok. I've been so focused on this baby, he has needed all my focus and energy up to this point, that I can't even remember what I did before this baby came along. Do I have interests beyond the frequency and color of infant bowel movements? I forget. Do I enjoy other activities beside feeding, rocking, swaddling, burping, and attending to the needs of a miniature person? I can't remember. Um, wasn't I interested in like, literature or grad-school or something? Beats me.

So we've been trying to get back to a more relaxed pace of life. Which bring us to this tart. Doesn't it look scrumptious? I loooooove raspberries. I think I might have a big fat schoolgirl crush on them. If I had a locker, I would definitely have their picture pinned up. Right next to Brad Pitt. They are about equally hot. We wait all year for them (the raspberries that is, not Brad Pitt) - so ripe and red and delicious! And this particular tart is a fabulous showcase for summer's first ripe red berries. Tonight we are taking this tart to a jazz concert in the park as part of a picnic. It should be fun! And hopefully, relaxing. Because the past 4 months? They've been really hard. I think we are about due for a break.


Raspberry Créme Fraiche Tart • Gluten free! Or not.

The "crust" for this tart is quite different from anything I have ever had before - it's light and spongy, almost like a dense, moist cake. You can make it gluten-free by mixing equal parts brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, and quinoa flour together (thought I am curious about using almond flour. I bet it would be great!) or if gluten is not an issue, you can just use all-purpose flour. The original recipe called for all-purpose flour, so I am sure it's tasty too!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
(or 1 cup all purpose flour if gluten is not an issue)
3/4 cup créme fraiche (or sour cream is créme fraiche is not available in your area)
2 cups fresh raspberries (about 12 oz)
powdered sugar
pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup butter (one stick)...

... with 1/2 cup sugar...

...and a pinch of salt.

Beat the sugar, butter, and salt on high until butter is light a fluffy and pale in color.

Add 3 eggs from happy, free-range chickens...

...and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Combine in the bowl, if you haven't already and beat until eggs are incorporated...

...and it looks like this. It might look a bit "curdled" for a while, as it is mixing. Just keep beating! It will come together eventually.

To the egg/butter/sugar mixture, add 1/3 cup quinoa flour...

... and 1/2 cup sweet rice flour...

...and 1/3 brown rice flour (However, if you don't need to worry about gluten just go ahead and use 1 cup all purpose flour).

Mix together on low until flour is just incorporated. Dough will be very soft an almost batter-like.

Put aluminum foil around the bottom of a tart pan to prevent leaks. Spread around the bottom of the tart pan...

...and up the sides. Now for the creamy créme fraiche filling!

Get 1/4 cup sugar...

DSC_0130 eggs (from a happy chicken - no emo eggs here)...

... 1/2 teaspoon vanilla...

... and 3/4 cup créme fraiche...

... and combine in a bowl. Mix it up real good.

Add to the tart shell...

...and smooth with a spatula... until it's smooth.

Top with 2 cups raspberries.

Sprinkle top of tart with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Once tart has been sprinkled, bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until edges are golden and tart is firm in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!


  1. Beautiful pictures and beautiful tart! And YAY for a happy baby (don't feel lost...enjoy it!)

  2. This is absolutely stunning. I can't wait to try it. I think I'll make mini tarts. Thanks for sharing such a gorge recipe.

  3. This is perfect!!!! Thanks for making it gluten free :) I'm saving this, must get some raspberries! Beautiful pictures :)

  4. I'm so happy for you and baby James. I say, don't feel lost, feel spoiled and enjoy every second. You definitely deserve it.

    Now about this tart. I love that it is gluten free and I'm going to make it just as soon as I figure out a non-dairy, non-soy replacement for creme fraiche or sour cream. Then I'm going to brain storm one for whipped cream. No wait, I can do that with coconut cream. I wonder if I could do sour cream with coconut cream and lemon juice??? Oh my, sometimes the internet is much too evil - I want everything I see. LOL

  5. This looks absolutely delicious. I love the step by step photo of this post. I'm also surprise that the tart dough is almost the texture of frangipane but it does look firm after baking. Delicious colours and great pics.

  6. Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

    laurenvb - if you figure out how to do dairy/soy free creme fraiche/whipped cream/cream cheese, let me know! I can eat (some) dairy, but a few people I cook for can't, and I would really like some more creative solutions! Thanks!

  7. Well first and foremost, I'm so glad to hear your son is better. Happy healthy babies are the most a mother can ask for.

    Secondly, that tart is so amazingly beautiful it's hard to believe its gluten free. I've got a blackberry bush in my backyard that's just says away from popping and as soon as those berries ripen, I think they have a date with my tart pan.

  8. Becks:

    You know I looked at this recipe a little more closely and here's what I think.

    You could replace the 1/2C Butter with Earth Balance or even Lard (I know, I know). Oil could be used, 1/3 C light olive oil or canola oil. (You use less oil because water evaporates from the butter when it cooks and you don't want slime - Trust me).

    The way the filling is made I could almost guarantee that one could scoop the top parts out of a can or two of really good quality coconut milk as it has about the same consistency as thick sour cream. I would also add maybe two teaspoons of lemon juice, taste for desired tartness and maybe add another teaspoon, adjusting as necessary.

    I'd try it but I'm laid up in bed. If it doesn't work send me the leftovers and I'll eat it the rest of it with great pleasure anyway!

  9. Becks, do you have any stellar recipes for sweet cherries? I have an abundance of them right now but almost all the recipes I find call for SOUR cherries. Which I do not have. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! :)

  10. laurelVB - I'm going to have to try that!

    Emily - I do! I'm making TWO things with cherries later on this week, I will probably post them on Thursday or Friday. I have tried making SO many clafoutis, and I haven't been able to find a recipe that I consider even palatable, so I wouldn't bother with that. It sounds like fun... but it's not. Smitten Kitchen is supposed to have a killer cherry pie recipe that calls for sweet cherries, if you want to hop over to that blog.

  11. Hi, would like to say that your tart looks incredibly pretty. And your post is so detailed, with lots of pictures. Very nice!

  12. Hi, I just found your blog through foodgawker. Those photos lured me over. So stunning. I was pleasantly surprised to see you break out your recipes in steps, just the way I do in my blog. Makes it easy to follow and see if all's going well, no? Now I'm tempted to make this tart. Creme fraiche and raspberries in one recipe is a combo that's hard to top.

    I too have a gluten sensitivity and should be avoiding it. But do I? Em, no.
    Can't wait to see what you do next.

  13. Ok, so I tried to make whipped coconut milk (spooning the thick stuff off the top of the can) but failed miserably! I ended up having to cook it with corn starch to get it to thicken up. :(

  14. Becks:

    I'm sorry, if you want whipped coconut milk you refrigerate the cans a couple of hours, scoop the cream off the top, leaving the coconut milk below (use that in a recipe for milk, like cupcakes) and then whip it. Last time I did I added up adding some powdered sugar to stabilize it. But, you're supposed to be able to do it without.
    From looking at the recipe it didn't appear that it needed whipping (I must have missed that). After you've refrigerated a good brand of coconut milk you'll see what I mean. You should have at least half a can of it and it looks just like creme fraiche.

  15. if you're going to actually put an accent on the e letter, it's the 'accent grave', so crème fraîche!

  16. I know, I'm so lazy, aren't I? The thing is, I speak Spanish, and all they use the other one, and it's the only one I know how to type off the top of my head. So I just put that in hoping no-one would notice. Looks like I've been caught red-handed! :)