Well, the week marches on. Today was Primary Election day in my state, and I watched a lot of people agonize over which terrible candidate to vote for. Yay for democracy!
Ideally, the voting process should be nothing but exciting, but it’s harder this year than usual. Looking toward November is a worrisome occupation, at least for me. I want to believe that everything will turn out okay, but I’m in a negative frame of mind these days.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I bake. There’s a mindful mindlessness about baking that lets my brain fall away a bit as I make ganache or press tart dough into a pan. The motions are repetitive, soothing, and exactly what I need sometimes. When the result is this mind-blowing linzer tart smothered in ganache and almonds, I can banish all the negativity and just think about the rich flavors exploding in my mouth.
It’s not like me to be incredibly negative, or at least, not in my head. But recently I’ve sustained a series of failures, and so I’ve had to work harder to focus on the good stuff. Whenever I’m in this frame of mind, it’s hard to see all the people who are seemingly more satisfied and successful displaying their good fortune right and left. The rational part of my brain is thrilled for them, but the emotional part is resentful. That’s human nature, after all.
So in times like these, I’m shifting the focus where it should be. On my family, of course, which affords me great joy. On the part of my job that takes place in the classroom, where I work with the best students a teacher could ask for. On the changing season, letting sunshine and fresh air into the house. On having an awareness of purpose. There’s so much to be thankful for.
When I get thankful, I think of pie. Really. It’s some kind of Thanksgiving trigger. But it’s April. What to do?
Well, make a tart. It’s gluten-free for my beloved Kenny and kosher for Passover for the rest of us. We don’t get normal food until Sunday! Yes, that counts liquor. Happy hour is going to have to wait a bit.
This is one of the best desserts I’ve made in the GF category. The crust (adapted from Paula Shoyer’s The New Passover Menu) is mainly almond meal with some walnut meal thrown in for good measure. Once the crust is baked, I spread raspberry jam over the top and filled it with ganache. I made this tart non-dairy by using fake coffee creamer and margarine, but the recipe will list heavy cream and butter because that’s more standard. They both work, though!
I’m looking out the window as I write this, where the leaves on the trees have become rich and green. There’s a lot that’s good to focus on. During a time that’s less than easy in some ways, I need to see all the beauty and savor it. And I also need to savor this tart, so get on that train with me!
Ganache Linzer Tart (GF and Passover-Friendly!)
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature (use margarine for non-dairy)
2 cups ground almonds
1 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup raspberry jam
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sliced blanched almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a tart pan (the kind that has a removable bottom) generously with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the ground nuts, potato starch and sugar, mixing until well incorporated.
- Press the tart tough into the prepared pan, working the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides with the back of a measuring cup.
- Bake the crust for 20- 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the center is set. Set aside.
- In the microwave, melt the heavy cream and chocolate chips for one minute. Stir until smooth.
- Spread the raspberry jam over the bottom of the crust evenly. Pour the ganache over the raspberry jam, smoothing out the top. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the surface.
- Chill the tart until set, about one hour. Cut into wedges. Store covered and chilled.