This sweet, warming, nourishing and fragrant tart is beautiful for a winter’s afternoon tea. It’s important that your pecans are super fresh, not only because they taste so much better, but so that their vitamin E and fatty acid content is still potent.
Excerpted with permission from The Beauty Chef by Carla Oates, published by Hardie Grant Books August 2017, RRP $35.00.
This is the final recipe in a 3-part series featuring our favorite recipes from Carla.
1 1/2 cups (375 g / 13 oz) natural yoghurt
Edible flowers, to decorate (optional)
1 1/2 cups (165 g / 6 oz) pecans
1 cup (100 g / 3 1/2 oz) almond meal
2 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp macadamia oil, plus extra for greasing
400 g (14 oz) sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup (125 ml / 4 fl oz) almond milk
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml / 2 fl oz) maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder (available from health food stores)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of Himalayan salt
Glazed salted pecans
1/4 cup (60 ml / 2 fl oz) maple syrup
3/4 cup (100 g / 3 1/2 oz) pecans
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
To make the pastry, blend pecans in a food processor or high-speed blender, until finely ground. Transfer into a medium bowl. Add almond meal, arrowroot and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add egg, maple syrup and oil and mix until it begins to bind together.
Press the mixture into a 20 cm (8 in) pie dish lightly greased with oil, to make an even layer on the base and sides. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Cover base with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking weights, dry rice or beans. Bake the base for 10 minutes. Remove the baking weights and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
To prepare filling, steam sweet potato for 10–15 minutes, until tender.
Place sweet potato and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared base and spread to make a smooth surface.
Bake for 35–40 minutes, until set. Cover pastry edge with foil if it begins to darken too much. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, to make salted glazed pecans, line a small baking tray with baking paper. Heat maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat, until simmering. Add pecans and salt and toss to coat. Continue to heat, tossing occasionally, until the syrup reduces to a thick and sticky coating over nuts. Drop glazed pecans in small clusters on the prepared tray. Set aside to cool and harden.
Spoon the natural yoghurt in the centre of the cooled tart and spread out. Decorate with clusters of the glazed salted pecans, and edible flowers if desired.
The finished tart can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Vitamin A: Cod liver oil is the gold standard, but organic cream and butter from grass-fed animals are also rich in vitamin A, as are liver, egg yolks (organic and grass-fed), tuna and vegetables rich in carotenoids that convert to vitamin A in the body including: sweet potato, carrots, squash, cos (romaine) lettuce, papaya, mango, rockmelon, pumpkin (winter squash), dark leafy greens, squash, Brussels sprouts, dried apricots, melon, tomatoes, capsicums (bell pepper) and Dunaliella salina (a micro-algae).
Vitamin A is vital for healthy skin and has been used for years to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis (it’s also good for sunburn). It is not only a potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, but it also helps regulate the production of pore-clogging sebum. Rough, dry skin that is scaly or keratinized is often due to a lack of vitamin A in the diet. Additionally, vitamin A helps promote the growth of healthy new skin cells and strengthens skin tissue.
Potassium: Found in sweet potato, tomatoes (tomato paste/concentrated purée and purée are better sources), beetroot (beet) greens, silverbeet (Swiss chard), avocado, spinach, potatoes, white beans, kidney beans, broad (fava) beans, lentils, split peas, yoghurt, clams (vongole), prunes and carrots.
Potassium helps keep blood vessels healthy by protecting them against oxidative damage and also keeps cells plump and hydrated.
Biotin: Egg yolks, liver, chard, cos (romaine) lettuce, walnuts, almonds, legumes, peanuts, wholegrain cereals, milk and meat are all good sources of biotin, as are salmon, tuna, sardines, yeast, chicken, prawns (shrimp), spinach and unflavoured yoghurt.
This water-soluble vitamin helps regulate fatty-acid metabolism, which helps to protect cells and skin against damage and water loss. Biotin deficiency can cause dry scaly skin, dermatitis around the mouth and scalp, dandruff and cradle cap in babies.
Prebiotics or soluble fibre: Legumes, grains, berries, bananas, seeds, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, dandelion greens, leeks, chicory root, apples, celery, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale), carrots, sweet potato, asparagus, green beans and peas.
Prebiotics are basically ingestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and maintenance of beneficial gut bacteria.
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): Most foods contain some pantothenic acid, but egg yolk, royal jelly, wholegrain cereals, broccoli, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potato, liver, kidney, shellfish, fish, chicken and dairy foods are the richest sources. High heat can reduce the amount of B5 your body receives, so be mindful of cooking methods.
Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is necessary for skin-cell regeneration and growth, wound healing, connective-tissue generation and the production of keratinocytes, which are essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier (‘chicken skin’ is often caused by a lack of keratinocytes). It also helps to boost levels of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against sun damage and reduce the signs of ageing and the look of wrinkles and fine lines. It is also required by the adrenal gland to make stress hormones. Long-term stress will increase the need for B5.
Ellagic acid: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranates, walnuts, pecans and cranberries.
Ellagic acid inhibits an enzyme generated by free radicals that causes a breakdown of collagen.
Vitamin E: Greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet (Swiss chard) and green capsicums (bell pepper), as well as avocado; kiwi fruit; sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds (pepitas); almonds and hazelnuts; wheatgerm oil and olive oil.
Vitamin E is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also fights free radical damage. When you consume food high in vitamin E, around seven days later that vitamin E is secreted through sebum (the oil on the surface of your skin) to provide a protective layer. Vitamin E is stored in our fat cells, so for our skin to receive the benefit, we must keep our levels of the vitamin high via a diet full of vitamin E–rich foods.
Photo courtesy of Carla Oates. GIF by Michael Persico.