I grit my teeth. “I don’t know how to cook no chocolate pie,” I lie. Never. Never again after Miss Hilly.
“You can’t? Gosh, I thought you could cook anything. Maybe we ought to get us a recipe.”
“What else kind a pie you thinking about?”
“Well, what about that peach pie you did that time?” she says, pouring a glass of milk. “That was real good.”
“Them peaches from Mexico. Peaches ain’t in season around here yet.”
“But I saw them advertised in the paper.”
I sigh. Nothing is easy with her, but at least she’s off the chocolate. “One thing you got to know, things is best when they in season. You don’t cook pumpkins in the summer, you don’t cook peaches in the fall. You can’t find it selling on the side a the road, it ain’t in.” – from The Help by Kathryn Stockett (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2009)
This week, a few members of the Association of Food Bloggers are sharing recipes they were inspired to create after reading fiction. I was all set to tell you my story of reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn cover-to-cover in the bathtub in one sitting and give you a delicious recipe for Butterbeans with Pears. But my version was almost inedible. I’m sure Nora’s was much better.
Instead I’m bringing you a gluten-free, vegan variation of one of Minny’s infamous pies from Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. No, it’s not THAT pie. I’ve already got a recipe for chocolate pie, not that it’s quite like Minny’s. This is a dessert that celebrates the fact that peaches is [sic] in season.
My family is loosely connected to The Help. I read the book while vacationing at Bar Harbor View Cottage in Maine. (Yes, we own the house and we do rent it out. Thanks for asking!) On the drive back home, we stopped in Connecticut to visit my husband’s brother, Rob, and his wife, Deborah. She spied my copy of the book and got very excited. The author of the book and director of the movie were both from Jackson, Mississippi, Deborah’s hometown. Her sister, Linda, attended the movie’s premiere and was even interviewed on the local news. You can see her at about 1:27 in the video clip below.
Now about that pie. I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free baking. I’m not exclusively gluten-free, but I do feel better when I don’t eat wheat. Some wheat-less baked goods are, um, less than stellar, but I have developed a crust I like to use in tarts and crumbles that features toasted rolled oats, almond flour, and coconut oil.
If you think making mini-tarts is too fussy and you don’t have time for that or you don’t own and can’t borrow appropriate pans, make this as a crumble. It’s incredibly easy and tastes just as good. Use the same amount of filling, but cut the amount of crust you make in half. Making a crumble instead will also reduce the amount of calories, fat, and carbs in this recipe.
Peach Tartlets (Gluten-free)
- 1 cup rolled oats make sure the brand is gluten-free
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 peaches peeled, pitted, and chopped (or sliced)
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Whipped cream optional
Toast the oats:
- In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, toast the oats, stirring often, until they start to brown. Cool.
Make the crust:
- In a large bowl, combine cooled oats, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, coconut oil, and almond flour. Mix well.
Form the tartlets:
- Spray 4 (4 1/2-inch) mini-tart pans with cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the oat mixture into each tart pan. Carefully press the mixture up the sides of each pan, adding more if necessary. Fill bottom of the pans with remaining mixture and press down. (You want the entire inside surface of the pans to be covered.) Carefully remove the tart pans and dump anything that has spilled on the parchment. Replace the parchment and the tart pans on the baking sheet and refrigerate while you make the filling.
Prep the chia seeds:
- Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Make the filling:
- In a large bowl, combine peaches, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add chia seed gel. Mix well and let the filling sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Bake the tartlets:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add 1/4 of peach mixture to each tart pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the peaches are soft. (Check after 15 minutes to see if the edges are getting too brown; if they are, cover with foil for the remaining time.)
- Remove from pans and serve with whipped cream, if desired. The tarts will be easier to remove from the pans if you let them cool first.
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