August 2, 2021 | Artists Cooking
“A party without cake is just a meeting.”
– Julia Child
True confession. I have an enormous sweet tooth. I cannot think of a time when I turned down a cookie, a piece of cake, or a slice of pie. My biggest pet peeve? When a waiter brings extra forks so that others (who didn’t order a dessert) can share MY dessert.
When I was working as a college professor, my email box was full with my law students’ questions. Now that I am retired, my email box is still full. But now it’s packed with emails containing links to new recipes for baked goods. I have an unconditional love for flour, butter and sugar. My quest these days is to explore how those ingredients can combine to make the most delectable treats.
While on this quest, I subscribe to at least one part of my dear friend Pat’s baked good theory – “Baked goods ensure one’s personal safety,” Pat says. “The more you weigh…the harder you are to kidnap. So stay safe… Eat more CAKE.”
While Wintering in Estero FL during Covid lockdown, I tried to stay safe while fully engaging in what I called “stress baking.” In spite of trying to avoid being kidnapped, I also tried my best to avoid “stress eating.”
So, even though I tried out a new recipe almost daily – I shared my cakes, cookies and pies with friends, neighbors and even my trainer. (Yes, I had to exercise off all that cake!) What I discovered is that nothing puts a smile on someone’s face faster than gifting them delicious baked goods.
Both my husband, Tom, and I are gluten-free. This makes baking somewhat more complicated as not every recipe successfully transitions into gluten-free. On the other hand, some recipes are actually better gluten free. For instance, using almond flour for the base of lemon bars truly elevates that lemony goodness.
This Summer, at our Indiana Cottage, I was looking for a light, tasty and delicious dessert. I wanted it to be pretty enough for a small luncheon with my museum group. And, it had to be gluten free. I found the perfect dessert with an easy-to-make Pretzel-Crusted Lime Mousse Tart from Better Homes & Gardens.
Find the recipe here.
This tart has it all! The filling was a dream, a perfect finish for a light Summer meal or a heavy BBQ. The saltiness and crunchiness of the crust was the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness and tartness of the filling. And it was so pretty!
Luckily, I was able to easily substitute a gluten free pretzel in the crust’s ingredients. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly, with one exception. In spite of my sweet tooth, I didn’t think that the tart needed the extra sweetness of the original recipe’s blackberry sauce.
Oh, and one other thing that goes to the trial and error portion of my dessert exploration. The tiniest things in a recipe can make a big difference – good or bad. In the case of the Lime Mousse Tart – the original recipe calls for an optional “two green food coloring.” Take it from me. Unless you’re making the tart for St. Patrick’s Day – you should know that the original recipe meant to read “two drops” of green food coloring!
Yes, the first sample tart was really GREEN- but it still was delicious! I definitely wouldn’t turn it down.
Kathleen Reed is also a member of the Toledo Museum of Art Ambassadors.