A trip to the doctor’s to get the news from my coeliac screening blood test predictably revealed a negative result. I say predictably because apparently you need to have been eating gluten for at least six weeks prior to testing for the autoantibodies to be detectable in the blood. So I’m currently in limbo, waiting for my GP to check with the gastrointestinal consultant at the Bristol Royal Infirmary to see if the next steps are a gastroscopy and biopsies. Unfortunately, my doctor thinks that I may have to have eaten gluten during the past twelve months for any changes in the villi in my small intestine to be detectable. Potentially a week full of pastry, bread and pasta is rearing its ugly head. In the past, the thought of mandatory trips to Planet Pizza, bacon sandwiches made from tiger bread and Pieminister pies would have filled me with delight. Not this time.
Gluten-free orange and cardamom tart in a pistachio biscuit crust
This recipe takes its inspiration from Delia Smith’s recipe for Key Lime Pie in her book Delia’s How To Cook: Book Two.
Serves 8-10
For the base:
95g unsalted butter
175g gluten-free digestive biscuits
50g roasted, unsalted pistachios (shelled weight)
For the filling:
1 tbsp grated clementine zest (zest 4 clementines)
1 medium lemon, juiced and strained to remove pips and pulp
5-6 clementines, juiced and strained to remove pips and pulp
4 medium egg yolks
397g condensed milk
10 cardamom pods
You will also need a loose-bottomed tin, either flan or springform, with a diameter of 23cm, at least 2.5cm deep and a baking sheet.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
Start by melting the butter over a very low heat. Using a food processor, whizz the pistachios until they are a coarse powder. Add the digestives and whizz them until they are coarse crumbs. Pour them into a mixing bowl and add the melted butter, stirring until they are well combined. Next, place this butter-crumb mixture into the tin and press it down firmly and evenly into the base. Place it on the baking sheet and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 10 minutes, or until the crumb base is golden.
Lightly crush the cardamom pods on a board with a pestle to split them open. Scoop out the small seeds inside and crush them in a mortar until they are a fine powder. Place the egg yolks, clementine zest and ground cardamom seeds in a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk for about 2 minutes. The egg should have thickened and be a creamy pale yellow. Add the condensed milk and continue to whisk for another 4 minutes. Pour the lemon juice into a measuring cup or jug and add the clementine juice until it makes 150ml. Pour this into the milk and zest mixture and give another quick whisk to combine. Pour this on to the baked crust and return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until it feels just set when lightly pressed in the centre with your finger.
Remove from the oven, take the tin off the baking sheet and place it on a wire rack or heatproof surface. When it is completely cool, cover with clingfilm and chill until needed. Before serving, carefully remove the side ring of the tin, cut into slices and top with crème fraîche.