Kate Jay is a displaced Brit who left London for Vancouver, BC, a couple of years ago with her husband, two children and two cats. The whole family (but not the cats!) were already following the GAPS diet to address their digestive issues when Kate noticed swelling on both her thumb and wrist joints. She had blood tests and x-rays for Rheumatoid Arthritis (something her paternal grandmother had severely) but was told she was fine and just had repetitive strain injury. Not content with going away quietly, she started to research inflammation and came across the Autoimmune Protocol. Already diagnosed with hypothyroidism, she realised there was a connection between the two and that she likely had an autoimmune condition, something no doctor had ever mentioned before. The following day, the family embarked upon the Autoimmune Protocol, keeping the GAPS low starch principles, and within a couple of months, her brain fog had lifted and swelling started to come down. Now she is intent on healing her damaged thyroid as much as possible, and giving her children the strongest foundation possible for a life without inflammation themselves. Kate started her blog, Healing Family Eats, as motivation for making the restricted diet as exciting as possible for her two children, who felt they were missing out on all the junk being eaten by their friends at school. They are her biggest food critics! Find Kate at her blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.
It is fair to say my husband’s all time favourite dessert is lemon tart … the more lemony the better, as far as he’s concerned. So for his birthday last month I wanted to make one as a surprise, only that’s easier said than done when you’ve cut out all but one of the ingredients that go into making a lemon tart. When you don’t do starches either, it becomes an even more interesting challenge. But I’m sure you will agree, ‘challenge’ is our middle name, us ‘Autoimmune Warriors’! So here is a healthy lemon tart which is completely compliant with AIP and if you don’t tolerate starches, you’re going to be happy too!
This recipe has gone down very well in our house and I’m hoping you’ll love it too. The beauty of this dessert is that it has only a handful of ingredients and is quick and simple to put together. I imagine you’ll probably have most of the ingredients already in your food store. I’m not known for my decisive nature I’m afraid and true to style, couldn’t make up my mind whether the crust should be cooked, or left raw. Much to the delight of my family, I tested this recipe numerous times … with no sides, low sides, high sides. Then cooked, raw and cooked again until I was totally satisfied and my sugar intake (albeit an unrefined version) was maxed out! In truth this works either way, so you decide. For the record, I prefer my crust cooked. I hope you enjoy!
- Serves: 8
- Prep time: 15-20 mins
- Cook time: 15 mins plus 4 hrs chilling
- 2 cups (180g) finely shredded coconut
- 1+1/2 cups (230g or 11-12) large medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp gelatin
- zest and juice 4 large lemons (yields 155ml juice)
- 2+1/4 cups (530ml) coconut milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C and line the base of a 7 x 2+1/2 inch springform tin with parchment paper.
Make the crust:
- Put the shredded coconut and dates into a food processor and process for 2+1/2-3 minutes until the mixture is beginning to come together. It resembles brown sugar at this stage but don’t worry, it’ll make sense as you mould it into the tin. Take care not to over process, or the crust will be too oily. Put the mixture into the springform tin, gently press into the base and all the way up the sides, using your knuckles or fingertips. Make sure there are no gaps in the crust. Put into the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.
- Next, place the tin into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or so until browned and quite firm (it will firm up more on cooling). Resist the temptation to open the oven door too many times as this may cause the sides to collapse. When ready, place the tin on a wire rack to cool down, approx 20 minutes.
Make the filling:
- While the crust is cooling down, prepare the filling. Put 1/2 cup of filtered water into a pan and sprinkle over the gelatine. Leave for 5 minutes or so until it becomes spongy in appearance and has absorbed the water. Next, gently warm on the lowest heat to melt the gelatine, constantly stirring. Remove from the heat, add the honey and continue stirring for a few seconds until completely melted. Put the lemon juice, zest and the coconut milk into a large jug or bowl and whisk in the gelatine/honey mixture. Set aside until the crust has cooled down. This gives the filling an opportunity to start thickening slightly which will make it easier to pour into the crust. Yields 1+1/2pt liquid.
- Once the crust has completely cooled, pour in the filling slowly and gently. Place in the refrigerator, being careful to avoid slopping it around on its journey to the fridge shelf, or you will find it difficult to turn out later. I fill it 3/4 of the way, then put it in situ before topping up with the remaining liquid from a cup. Be mindful about slamming the fridge door for a while, in case it jogs the filling. Leave for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Very carefully release the springform, easing away any of the crust that may want to stick to the sides. If you have any difficulty, simply use a thin palate knife to tease the crust away. This is best eaten the day it is made. It will keep a couple of days but the oils in the lemon and coconut will begin to seep. Don’t worry about this though, you will have a delicious syrup to look forward to!
A few notes to think about:
If you make the raw crust version, you should line the sides of the tin as well as the base or the ‘pastry’ will be difficult to remove from the tin. Also, after putting the crust into the mould, don’t refrigerate before adding the filling or you will find the filling tends to separate from the base when it is cut.
Do not use a fluted tin to make this, the crust will stick to the sides and you’ll spend more time prising it off than you did making the thing in the first place!