Last year I discovered a wonderful ‘tart’ recipe which is utterly delicious. I love its simple flavors and how easy it is to prepare. I was sold. There are several ways to modify this and each person I know that makes it does it a bit differently. My version contains three ingredients: almonds, agave syrup and berries. I chose to use the fresh strawberries I had just picked last week.
I’m intrigued with all genres of food. Living in a culinary community rich with health orientation AND foodie inclinations, there is something for everyone. The summer lends itself to lighter fare and last summer I was drawn to learn more about raw food. I do not mean just eating food without cooking it but rather the practice of ‘raw’ food. Raw foodism provides any prepared foods are done so at very low temperatures, usually using a dehydrator, to preserve all the naturally occurring nutrients and amino acids in food. It’s believed to be food in its best form.
I’ll come clean. I vacillated about touting the healthy aspects of this dessert early on for fear I’d lose you before you try it. Sometimes hearing something is healthy feels like an oxymoron to the concept of something being also fabulous. When I first heard of ‘raw’ food I naively imagined earthy tasting sprouted things that I’d have to choke down potentially with a beet-laden drink that is good for me. I was worried it would make me want to stop wearing mascara.
I was so wrong. My exploration of raw foods has lead me to dishes I’ve enjoyed and that would never be associated with a tie-dye patchouli-scented health store of the 1970’s; it’s real people food and it’s good (AND unless someone told you it fits in the raw food genre, you just would not know it).
This dessert does not taste ‘healthy’, honest. It tastes delicious. If you were to serve it, people will love it. No one will check to see if you are are still shaving your extremities and wearing proper foundation garments. The other cool thing about it is that it caters to most dining needs. It is vegan, raw, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free. Essentially only those with nut allergies need to avoid it. And it’s just as good for breakfast as it is for dessert based on the ingredients.
This recipe is incredibly versatile. My other friends who make versions of this add pulverized dates to the crust or soak the almonds first to really abide by the tenants of raw foodism.
- 3 cups Raw Almonds (not roasted or flavored)
- 1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons Agave Syrup
- 2-3 cups fresh Strawberries (it’s great with raspberries too)
- In a food processor pulse almonds to a crumb size. Do not over pulse to create a flour. Once the almonds have a small, grainy texture, begin to drizzle agave into pulsing food processor. The almonds will begin to ball inidcating the crust is ready.
- Remove the almond crust and place it into a 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press crust into the bottom and sides of the pan. Note: The crust will be thick and slightly sticky. Place in the freezer while preparing the strawberries (next step).
- Wash and hull strawberries. Place them on the crust hulled side down, beginning in the center, piecing them together to fill the tart. When ready to eat the tart, gently press the tart bottom up to release the sides keeping the tart intact. If making much earlier than serving, it can be refridgerated and allowed to come to room temperature before cutting.
One of my favorite aspects of summer is berry picking. When moving to Colorado I searched high and low to find a ‘Pick-Your-Own’ berry farm. They are not common here sad to say however the farm I did find, Berry Patch Farms, makes up for the absence of options with quality of produce and experience.
Berry Patch Farms is a certified organic farm situated in Brighton Colorado, about a 45 minute drive from Boulder. The farm offers a mix of items you can pick ranging from berries to basil, flowers, and carrots as well as has a rustic barn store stocked with produce grown by the farm for purchase. The barn store has a large covered porch on one side lined with white rockers offering a place for shade and to watch the day pass. There are numerous picnic tables where visitors are welcome to enjoy lunch under enormous shade trees. There are also current and tidy bathrooms with sinks at the farm for the picking public.
The early strawberry season has just wound to a close but will return again in August. I scurried out to the farm last week to be sure to enjoy a harvest before all closed down in the fields for the moment. The farm arms you with as many berry containers as you like as well as cardboard flats to store the containers when full, all at no charge. You hop on a tractor-pulled open transport to the fields where the drivers will instruct on picking locations and instructions to pick correctly. Once finished you can wait for a transport back or walk to the barn store.
Things like basil, flowers and carrots (later pickling cucumbers I believe as well) are almost always available to pick (the farm will supply you with needed items and instruction to pick successfully). Upcoming are tart/pie cherries, black raspberries, red raspberries, golden raspberries and the second season of strawberries (check the farm produce calendar for time frames and what is available to pick or purchase already picked). There is picking well into the fall, weather permitting. If you check their website (click here) they update on availability daily and you can always call. You will not find nicer folk than Tim and Claudia (the farmers) and all the others who work there.
Hours: June-September Tuesday- Saturday 8-6 (note: Tuesday from 8-10 is reserved for adult picking only). October: Tuesday-Saturday 10-4. November: Wednesday and Saturday 10-4.