Foodiva's Kitchen: January 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

V.I.P. Tamarind-Coconut Cookies (Vegan)

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand. ~ Author Unknown

You must be thinking, what weirdly-shaped cookies are those? Yes they are weird-looking and for good reason. My sister, who lives in Switzerland, is currently home on holiday and she bought me this set of adorable V.I.P. cookie-cutters by Birkmann. The abbreviation stands for Very Important Plätzchen (meaning 'cookies' in German) and as far as sweet things rank for a sweet tooth like me, they are very important indeed. The special deal about these cutters is that they create cut-outs in the cookies to enable you to hang them off the edge of a glass or mug, or allow you to tidily tie a ribbon in a stack of these if you're gifting them away. Don't you simply want to hug the person who thought of this coolness?

My Very Important Plätzchen cutters

I was keen to try these cutters out, so I quickly rustled up an easy recipe the day after I got them (did I mention I was keen?). My initial thought was to pair tamarind flavor with white chocolate, but after running and tasting a batch of these, I decided that the tamarind would actually go better with coconut milk. That's the great thing about creating your own recipe, isn't it... it's yours to change whatever at whichever stage of the process. Total freedom, I'm all for it.

These two could well go down a dream, but I as matchmaker said 'No'.

Normally when I bake cookies, or anything for that matter but especially cookies, I would use butter. Chunks of it. I love the rich taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture that it imparts and not only I, but my thighs seem to love butter too (cellulite has a certain texture, correct?). Well, yes. I do feel slightly sorry for people who can't or won't take butter, but am enlightened enough to know that everyone chooses their path in this life for whatever reason they feel closest to. So yeah, mine is to bake cookies with butter...normally.

As you can probably tell, I'm far from being vegan but all those time spent cruising around to vegan bloggers' sites must've rubbed off on me. On the day I made these, I plucked up the courage to eliminate butter and create my first vegan cookie recipe.

Truthfully, the absence of butter didn't render these four-leafed clover cookies useless at all. In fact, they tasted wonderful if not exactly shortbread-like (hey, you win some, you lose some). The coconut milk added a certain sweet depth and next time, I would add more tamarind paste to accentuate its tart flavor. Out of curiosity, I dipped a few in melted white chocolate but the sweetness was overpowering so decided it was better to ditch the chocolate.

This has been a lovely experience. The truth is, though.... I can't wait to get back to butter!

Hang off the glass or tie a ribbon around the notch for gifting!

V.I.P. Tamarind-Coconut Cookies
Makes: 60 small cookies
Wet mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon tamarind paste

Dry mix
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl, then mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Start pouring the wet mix into the dry mix and stir until well combined. You should get a very soft dough. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before rolling out.
2. To cut cookies, line workspace with wax paper, roll the dough flat to about 1/2 cm thick. Dip the cookie cutter in flour and cut shapes by pressing down on the dough. Dip cutter in flour in between cuts to prevent the dough from sticking to the cutter. Remove the extra dough around the shapes with a toothpick and transfer the shaped cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper.
3. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 170C/350F. Leave to cool on tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spelt Apple Pie Cake

When it came to discovering the intricacies of the opposite sex, I was definitely a late bloomer. It wasn't until I was out of my teens (20, in fact) when I had my first romantic liaison. He was my first take-home beau (to meet the parents, that is) and he was French. Boy, was I glad I waited...

We met at University and during some semester breaks, we would drive across the English Channel to spend some time at his family's home in the French countryside. The days were idyllic and amongst other things, I learnt how to pick grapes from the vineyard, and plums, cherries, apples from the orchard. Those were my first farm-to-table experiences but being a young lass, I had little appreciation of what that really meant.

The first time we went apple-picking, we'd spread a canvas blanket at the base of the tree before he climbed up the apple tree and shook a fruit-laden branch. To my amazement, a number of red apples came showering effortlessly down to the ground, every one of them missing my head like a miraculous spectacle. 

Of course, in a commercial orchard this tree-shaking business wouldn't have been allowed because the fallen apples would have been  heavily bruised and unsuitable for sale. Well, I didn't know any better in those days, and as we laid back against the canvas munching our crisp, red apples, I marvelled at how unglossy (unwaxed) they were and how authentically sweet they tasted. Needless to say, those times brought me so much joy.

His grandmother was kind enough to teach me how to bake those freshly-picked fruits into the most wonderful tarts and cakes. In the process, she also taught me how to light up her antique Aga oven and control its temperature, something I'd never done before and never again since. All this while we communicated in what can be best described as sign language because my French, like my kitchen skills, was totally atrocious.

The memories of those carefree, younger days spent in France have inspired me to try out this foolproof recipe. You can't go wrong with an apple cake really, and this one is so easy you may be able to do it blindfolded with one hand tied behind your back. But why make life harder for yourself?

I called it the apple pie cake because while it uses a cake batter, the apples are stacked up neatly inside the the way you'd do it if it was in an apple pie. The recipe is an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake, except that I used spelt flour instead of all purpose, and olive oil instead of butter (and I've adjusted the measurements too).

The cake is incredibly soft and moist, almost pudding-like and on the brink of fragility because the scant batter held up the apples just so. The spelt and olive oil may have something to do with this tenderest of textures, but the densely stacked up apple slices sure did their bit too. It's lovely eaten fresh, but taste even better the next day. Definitely a go-to cake - both to bake and eat - after a long day when nothing seems to go as planned!


Spelt Apple Pie Cake
1½ cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Icing sugar, to dust

1.Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet (I used a silicone flower mold that was easy to remove).
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
3. Peel the apples and remove the cores. Slice the apples sideways into ½ cm thick round slices, with a hole in the middle where the core used to be.
4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Add in the sugar and vanilla and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the olive oil, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining olive oil, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Spoon a layer of the batter into the base of the pan, then arrange a layer of apples on top. Repeat until you run out of batter and apples (the batter layers will have to be thin as there isn’t much of it), end with batter layer. Press down gently on the apples with the spatula so that the top layer is fairly even.
5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish. Once completely cooled, dust icing sugar on top. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature and actually tastes better the next day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

International Incident Party: Lentil Hot Dog In Spiral Puff Shell

If I had my first hotdog as a child, I really can't recall the particular moment when. It wasn't because I was too young when it happened. More likely it was because my first hotdog experience took place when I was already in my teens, and probably over in some foreign land somewhere. Suffice to say, hotdogs didn't feature much in our diet in those days.

In the much processed world of today, that has certainly changed. Sausages, frankfurters, hotdogs, wieners... whatever you may want to call them, have become a staple in our freezers.

For this first International Incident Party of 2011, the theme is 'Hotdog'. It's fun and can be interpreted in many ways, as dessert or a savory snack. I originally thought of making a sweet a la Hotdog cupcake, but in the end, gave in to the stronger urge for something savory. My first foray into the creation of sausage-like things would begin with something vegetarian. Enter the Lentil Hotdog...

It wasn't a particularly difficult choice, as I'd been wanting to make something with the yellow lentil flour sitting in my pantry anyway. I wasn't quite sure how my recipe would pan out, whether the hotdogs would end up soft, soggy or worse, crumbly. As it turned out, the various spices worked wonders to give me a couple of flavorful hotdogs, and the lentils made them taste almost falafel-like but without any of the graininess. Without any casing, I wanted something that would hold the ingredients together once cooked and tapioca flour did the trick, it provided me a more 'cohesive' hotdog.

Hot Dawg... this is lentil!

So many ideas floated around in my head on the type of bun to serve this veggie hotdog in. Eventually, I settled on something closer to home... the currypuff (it's the Asian version of empanada). Why not encase the hotdogs in a spiral currypuff shell (minus the curry)? I had made some chocolate currypuffs before, and the spiral shells were really fun to make. Quite addictive too, if you succumb to the visual allure of the spirals. These lentil hotdogs with the ends sticking out of the spiral shells looked like a tropical version of a regular hotdog. They go very well with a sweet and spicy chilli-garlic dip.

Thank you to Penny of for being our wonderful IIP host once again. I wonder what the rest of the party goers made? I'm going to check them out and you really should too!

Lentil Hotdogs in Spiral Puff Shells

Lentil hotdogs
Makes about 8 hotdogs
5 tablespoons ground almonds
250g/9 ounces firm (not silken) tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (or 1/4 tsp chilli powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek (or mace)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup + 1 tablespoon lentil flour
1 teaspoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot flour)

1. Crumble the tofu into the blender. Measure the soy sauce into a measuring cup and add enough water so the mixture equals 100ml (6-1/2 tablespoons). Add this to the blender.
2. Add remaining ingredients to blender except lentil and tapioca flours. Blenderise until completely smooth. Empty into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the 2 flours and mix until evenly combined. You’ll have a soft dough.
4. Divide dough into eight pieces (depending on what sized hotdog you want). Roll each piece into a hotdog shape and ensure you don’t roll them longer than your steamer! Wrap each hotdog in parchment paper and then in aluminium foil. Lightly twist the ends together.
5. Bring water to boil in a pot that has a steamer insert. Arrange wrapped hotdogs in your steamer insert with the seam side down. There is less chance of the hotdogs bursting the foil if they are packed tightly in the steamer. You can arrange four dogs on the bottom, then another four at a 90 degree angle on top.
6. Steam for 45 minutes over gently simmering water. If you’ve arranged your hotdogs in two layers, switch their positions halfway through the cooking time (bottom ones on top and top ones on bottom). Turn heat off and let cool.
7. To cook, simmer unwrapped dogs in water for 5 minutes. These can be frozen for future use (leave them wrapped in parchment/foil, and place in a plastic freezer bag).

Spiral Puff Shells
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Extra oil, for frying

1. Put 2 cups of flour in one big bowl and 1 cup of flour in a small bowl. Water dough: In the big one add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1 tbs sugar, 1 tsp salt. Mix thoroughly then add about less than 1/2 cup of cold water little at a time to make a smooth but firm dough. Oil dough: In the small bowl, gradually add up to 1/3 cups of vegetable oil and mix to make a dough soft enough to spread.
2. Roll the big water dough into about a foot rectangle and place the smaller oil dough on the top upper half of the bigger dough. Make sure there is a 1/2 inch border along the 3 edges of the oil dough.
3. Fold water dough in half covering the oil dough completely and seal it, making sure no air is trapped inside.
4. Shape the dough by pressing and rolling a rectangle (approx 30 x 10 inch). The dough should be thin enough to roll into a log.
5. When rolled, slice off the uneven tip of the log and slice the next one into about 1 inch thick. Flatten the spiral dough with a rolling pin and carefully roll it into a round shape. Wrap the spiral shell over the hotdog, pinching the edges flatly, then crimping to close. Leave the two ends where the hotdog stick out open.
6. Deep fry in vegetable oil until golden. Place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil and serve.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Aloe Vera and Grapefruit Jelly...With Pearls!

I actually made two desserts today. On this lazy Sunday, a day of supposed rest. Yes, I did. What brought it about was well, the failure of one of these two desserts when I had made it a few days ago. To get away from the frustration, someone suggested that maybe I should try making something foolproof (thanks, Tasty Trix), something that couldn't fail even if I was making it while sleepwalking. Anyway, today's first dessert, a cake actually, worked out just fine. It also tasted magical. Except.... I was still thinking about the other dessert that got away!

So in the waning light of the day, I decided to give it another go. It was to be my third attempt at making the dastardly Aloe Vera and Pink Grapefruit Cream Jelly, using agar agar as a base to work with. Just everyday ingredients... Hmmm, I better let you know that we have pots of aloe vera plants growing outside our home, so for me, they're 'everyday'. Also, I had brought home an armload of pink grapefruits the other day, most of which I've utilized, bar one. I was down to my last grapefruit and the situation was getting desperate!

At home, we mostly use aloe vera as part of our beauty ritual - think home spa. I often slather the slimy (it's waaay slimier than okra) aloe vera sap all over my face before I go to bed. I can honestly tell you that it's rather unpleasant handling all that messy slime! But I know I'll be rewarded for my efforts when I reach 82 and have only one wrinkle to my name... uhh, perhaps that's just wishful thinking.

Don't forget to get rid of the thorns first! Oh... did I already mention slimy

I guess most people are familiar with aloe vera as a health supplement in the form of juices, powder or tablets. Not many realize that fresh aloe vera can be eaten too, it's refreshing with yogurt or as part of a dessert. Once the hard skin is removed and the flesh is boiled, aloe has the texture of cooked plums or grapes, although without any of the flavoring. On its own, it tastes of nothing really so it's important to add a flavor to it, such as lime or sugar. I decided here to go with kaffir lime leaves and it turned out to be a rather excellent choice.

So in my mind, I saw this beautifully layered dessert - thin slices of grapefruit flesh sandwiched in between the translucent aloe vera and pinkish hue of the grapefruit cream and topped with caramelized palm sugar. Except it turned out like this, total disaster!

I only had one grapefruit left, so it was time to rework the dessert. Got rid of the palm sugar and grapefruit slivers, and finally... it all came together! I must mention that in the midst of my despair the other day, I had the good fortune to come across Ms. Salty Seattle's experimentation in her CSI-like kitchen to produce little agar spheres, so since I was working with agar, I thought, why not try it out? To my utter amazement, the simple act of injecting warm agar blobs into frozen oil really worked to produce (in this case) glistening, pink grapefruit pearls encased in agar. Except mine weren't shaped so roundedly, more like little pebbles rather than gems.

The four layers

In the end, I had made enough pink spheres to sprinkle on all my serving portions. I would've loved to make more of these so they can form the topmost layer but 1. the sun was setting and I had to take photos quickly, 2. the oil was melting fast and there was no time to refreeze it before dark, and 3. I got tired of playing so decided to simply pour the grapefruit-agar mixture on top of the dessert to make the final layer. I won't go into the mechanics of producing the spheres here, but if you're really interested, you can head over to Linda's blog now and learn something new.

Holy Moly, it worked!

It was worth failing a couple of times just so I could end up with this very pretty, almost ethereal dessert. The aloe vera gives a refreshing crunch, the kaffir lime and grapefruit flavors pack a mean citrusy punch, while the mellow cream serves to balance the acidity and pull the dessert together. Sweet...

Oh, and what of that foolproof dessert? Another post, another day, my friends.

Aloe Vera and Pink Grapefruit Cream Jelly

Agar agar (base solution)
1 packet (7g) agar agar powder
200g caster sugar
500ml water

Dissolve sugar and agar in water and bring to the boil. Remove from heat andvuse this solution as the base for other layers.

Aloe Vera Layer
2 large aloe vera leaves, peeled and cubed
4 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
150ml water
( + 150ml base agar solution)

Boil aloe vera and kaffir leaves on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Fish out and discard leaves. Add the base agar solution.

Cream Layer
150ml double cream
(+ 250ml base agar solution)

Gently whisk the cream with the base agar solution until well combined. Take 150ml of this mixture to make the Grapefruit Cream Layer (below)

Grapefruit Juice Layer
100ml grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
150ml extra water
(+ 150ml base agar solution)

Strain grapefruit juice, retain the fleshy bits for the Grapefruit Cream Layer (below). Add water and base agar solution to the grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit Cream Layer
150ml of Cream Layer mixture
Grapefruit flesh that has been strained (above)

Whisk together until well combined.
(Note: If I had more grapefruit, I would've added the juice as well)

Spoon the layers carefully into the serving dish in this order:
1. Aloe Vera Layer
2. Grapefruit Cream Layer
3. Cream Layer
4. Grapefruit Juice Layer
5. Grapefruit Spheres (optional)

Make sure you leave each layer to set for a few minutes in the freezer before spooning the next layer on top of it. Keep the agar base solution/mixtures warm while waiting to be layered to prevent the agar from setting and clumping.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Awards and Giveaway Winner!

In a perfect world, there would be a recipe accompanying this post (preferably a dessert). However, in an imperfect world such as mine was today, recipes do sometimes rebel and refuse to align with the imagination. After three attempts at trying to produce what I saw in my mind as a delightfully whimsical dessert and failing, I conceded defeat, ripped my apron off and stormed out of the kitchen... imaginary smoke coming out of my ears and the top of my head (if I was a character in a comic strip, this is what I would look like all frustrated!).

So here I am, well away from the crime scene, typing up this post without anything delicious to offer you. Don't leave yet, for I'd still like to share with you two things - awards I've received in 2011, and the winner of my cookbook giveaway.

This week, I had two awards - One Lovely Blog Award and the Versatile Blogger Award - presented to me by Nancy of the ubercool Spicie Foodie blog. I'm so honored to have made it onto Nancy's list of awardees (all awesome bloggers, by the way), more so because when I grow up I want to be just like her... figuratively speaking of course, as I'm probably older than her in terms of age!

Nancy constantly comes up with the most delicious, spice-laden dishes, is a whiz at food styling and photography, has her own cookbook, hosts the monthly Your Best Recipe event and gives tutorials on the technical aspects of blogging for the benefit of other bloggers. To top it off, she's really nice, and if you haven't landed on her site yet (which planet are you from, man?!), please do check it out. Many thanks again for the awards, Nancy!

Of course, I too would like to pass an award on to other bloggers whom I admire. Through Foodbuzz, Twitter and just surfing around, I've come across many talented bloggers who are great cooks, wonderful parents, brilliant writers, thoroughly funny and they don't look half bad either! Instead of forwarding the same awards above though, I would like to present two different ones, the Fabulous Blog Award and the 360° Foodie Award to some of my favorite bloggers, below.

A few of these blogs I've newly stumbled upon and immediately fell in love with, some are sites that have been around for a while and I'm regularly drawn to because they're so fabulous, and some of these bloggers have actually found ME and become my regular visitors (and vice-versa). Please lavish them with some love by paying them a visit!

Victoria, Mission Food
Jenny, Vintage Sugarcube
Arthur, Michelangelo in the Kitchen

How I picked the winner: I assigned each commenter a number in the order they wrote in, then ran all the numbers through a True Random Number Generator. By the (dis)order of, I am pleased to announce that the winner of my first ever giveaway is Trix of Tasty Trix! Lucky girl, she gets to thumb through the Tropical Asian Cooking book, containing exotic and beautifully presented recipes from my part of the world!

Thanks to everyone else who participated in the giveaway. Don't worry, if you didn't win this time, I have two more fab giveaways coming up soon. Look out for those....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goji Berry Tart with Nutella and Spelt Crust

May you eat an unfamiliar dessert in a strange land at least once every three years.
May you wake up... and start dancing while you're still half-asleep.
May you spray-paint Rilke poems as graffiti on highway overpasses...
May you learn to identify by name 20 flowers, 15 trees, 10 clouds, and one extrasolar planet...
May you dream of taking a trip to the moon in a gondola powered by firecrackers and wild swans.

Rob Brezsny

Okay, for my very first recipe of the year, I turned to dessert which is my favorite course, of course! I wanted to bake with an unusual ingredient (for me, at least) and that is goji berries. They're commonly available everywhere now, especially in health stores, so why did I say they were unusual? Well, I haven't come across many desserts that have incorporated their flavors fully, they are usually just sprinkled onto/into the dish. That's something that begs to be rectified and I want to do it here, today.

Anyway, have you ever had goji berry custard tarts before? I mean, actual goji berries (or less benignly known as wolfberries) blended into a custard and hiding underneath it a pleasant dollop of Nutella? And what would you think if all that pink custard was contained in a crust made from spelt flour? Because that's exactly what I made.

 I love that you can still spot the husks in the spelt flour!

A few years back, the benefits of goji berries were impressed upon us when they were commercially touted as a superfood. As a premium health drink, goji is an expensive investment towards a superfunctioning body, however nowadays I see the dried berries being sold at supermarkets everywhere at reasonable prices. We normally consume them as a crunchy snack (better than a bag of crisps, hey!) or else we brew them in soups or as hot drinks.

In fact, goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to promote everything from circulation to longevity. There’s even an unsupported marketing claim that a man in China who consumed goji berries daily had lived to be 252 years old. Firstly, unless you want to be Rob Pattinson’s eternal squeeze (wolfberry, hello), who really wants to live that long? And secondly, the addition of Nutella to this recipe will quickly whittle away 200 out of that 252 years… so much for longevity!

As for the crust, I've seen a few baking recipes floating around that use spelt flour. Spelt apparently contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest. Always one for helping my body along, I was curious to give it a try. While aisle-surfing at the supermarket the other day, I'd spotted spelt flour on the shelves, so of course I grabbed a bag to take home.

This spelt crust certainly lived up to my expectations, which doesn't mean anything considering I had none to begin with. It was nutty in flavor and the spelt provided a cookie like quality, crisp-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside, to the crust which I found simply delightful. It’s a surprisingly apt companion to the subtly sweet, tarty (somewhere between a cherry and a cranberry), unusual taste of goji. To be completely honest, you can omit the Nutella because its distinctive flavor is a distraction from the goji. But I wanted to include Nutella this time because let's face it, having Nutella around (in anything, even just sitting quietly in its jar!) makes the heart beat faster... Don't you think?


Okay, here's my overall verdict on the tart:
Spelt crust - thumbs up, nutty and super-scrumptious!
Goji custard filling - love the pinkish-turned-terracotta color after baking, and the fact that you can still taste the tartness of the berries amidst the swirl of vanilla and custard. The goji as a garnish provided a refreshing pop as you bite into the tart.
Nutella - hmm.. nommm... I'm sure there's a Nutella heaven out there somewhere!

By the way, if you didn't already know, I have a giveaway going on here. The closing date for entries is tomorrow, 5 January, so do check it out if you're at all interested.

Goji Berry Tart with Nutella and Spelt Crust
Makes six 3-inch tarts
Spelt Crust
300g wholemeal spelt flour (stoneground)
125g cold butter, chopped into cubes
100g caster sugar
1 egg

Goji Custard Filling
1/2 cup dried goji berries, soaked in water for 20 mins
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Nutella

1. Make the crust first: in a bowl, rub the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Make a well in the center of the mixture, add egg and gently knead the flour into a pastry ball. Spelt flour is very sticky to work with, so if you find the dough too sticky after adding the egg, just sprinkle extra spelt flour over the flour until it no longer sticks to your hands. Be careful not to overwork the dough. (At this point, you can
2. Preheat oven to 200C. Divide dough into 6 balls, take one and press onto the base and sides of a 3-inch tart pan (1-in deep) to form the crust. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. Prick the base of the crust with a fork several times to release hot air while baking.
3. Place tart pans in the oven and immediately turn oven temperature down to 175C. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Drain the soaked goji berries, take about 1/2 cup of these and place in the blender with milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Leave some berries for garnishing (after soaking, the berries will expand and you'll have more than 1/2 cup). Process until thoroughly blended. Drain the mixture into a bowl using a fine sieve. This removes the goji seeds.
5. After 15 minutes, remove the semi-cooked spelt crust from the oven. Spoon a tablespoonful of Nutella into each crust (you can flatten the dollop slightly with your spoon). Then carefully pour the goji custard into the crust, filling it until just below the rim of the crust. Sprinkle some goji berries on top, they will sink slightly during baking. You can also garnish tarts with the soaked berries after baking, this looks more attractive but doesn't alter the taste in any way.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until custard is just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Turn tarts out of pans and garnish with soaked goji berries, if you wish.

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