It’s cold outside – well, after all it’s winter. When you get to sub-zero temperatures what amazes me is the formation of beautiful ice-crystals on every corner imaginable. The goal post in the garden, the gates, the odd surviving flower, leaves, cobwebs and so on. To also add that each snow-crystal is unique (like our fingerprints), makes me smile at the wonders of the universe. The precision and attention to detail from the tiniest molecule to the largest galaxies is simply mind-blowing.
Then the snow starts to fall, and the majestic silence of the snowflakes fills me with such serenity and peace, that I can’t stop but smile. I close my eyes and I’m immediately transferred to my childhood, and to the sheer excitement of building a snowman without a care or worry in the world. 30 years on and I still look at the my footprints as well as studying all the traces others leave behind. It does tell you a lot about different shoes people wear and I can always imagine how difficult it must have been to walk, when I see a pointy small hole where the heel of the foot should be 🙂
OK, I’m getting a bit too carried away, so I’ll go back to my love of science and experimenting. It used to be chemistry and physics, and now it’s the kitchen. Honestly my kitchen (or two to be more precise!) is the most easily accessible lab I know. So today’s experiment is Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar.
So here is what I had in mind for a hearty, warm and satisfying sweet treat while avoiding the sugar rush . Shredded coconut to resemble the snow, spelt flour and coconut sugar for the earthy notes inspired from the tree leaves, pineapple for the dreaminess, pistachios for the extra hidden crunch, and finally a warm hint of cardamom to make it extraordinary.
The dark colour of the coconut sugar hides the whiteness of shredded coconut in this case, so you can substitute it with ordinary sugar instead, and using white plain flour for the crust.
The addition of pistachios and cardamom is entirely optional of-course but I believe they add a touch of middle-eastern marriage made in heaven.
Pineapple Macaroon Tart, inspired from Super Natural Every Day
Makes 12 small slices
- 90 g spelt flour (or plain)
- 30 g shredded (desiccated) coconut
- 40 g coconut sugar or unrefined cane sugar
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 30 g coconut oil, melted
- 40 g butter, melted (use 70 g butter if you don’t have coconut oil)
- 2 egg whites
- 30 g coconut sugar or unrefined sugar
- 70 g shredded (dessicated) coconut
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 120 g pineapple, cut into small chunks
- 20 g pistachios, roughly chopped
- shredded coconut or icing sugar (anything white) to finish off, optional
Start off by gently whisking the egg whites and adding the coconut sugar to dissolve. Coconut sugar is fairly grainy in texture and this is why is best to mix it earlier on enabling it to dissolve completely. Leave aside. If your are using ordinary unrefined cane sugar, ignore this step.
Preheat the oven to 180C (Gas mark 160C). Butter the sides and base of a your tart dish (I used my 36 cm * 12 cm tart tin) and line with baking paper.
In a bowl, mix the flour, shredded coconut, coconut sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and coconut oil (if using) and combine until the mixture is slightly crumbly but smooth when pressed by hand. Spread the mixture into the base of your lined tin and press firmly, covering all corners. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until just golden, which by this time the aromas should have filled your kitchen. Leave aside to cool slightly.
Add the shredded coconut and cardamom to the egg-white and sugar, mixing well. This forms your macaroon or coconut topping filling.
Scatter the pineapple pieces on the slightly cooled crust and fill in the gaps with the macaroon mixture. Use your hands if need be to ensure all the coconut topping covers the base, leaving the pineapples in sight.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the macaroon filling is deeply golden. Cool the tart before serving and garnish with pistachios, or any white topping of your choice.
Note: Onc slice of this tart was not enough for me so I opted for two. However I was so full by the end of the second slice that I literally couldn’t eat my supper later on the day. It’s a hearty filling dish bursting with flavour and texture.
I hope you enjoy baking it and most importantly eating it as much as I did. Any feedback is always more than welcome.