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Into the Woods and a Lemon Cream Tart

“Into the woods–you have to grope,
But that’s the way you learn to cope.
Into the woods to find there’s hope
Of getting through the journey.”
Stephen Sondheim

This week has been a difficult one. A week of pain and illness and uncertainty and another visit to another specialist with the merest flicker of hope that perhaps this time this person would be able to help me.

It makes me smile to think of that moment now. Working up my courage to try “just one more time”, hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe this would be the one to figure things out. Two hours and numerous tests later, I walked out with teary eyes and a glowing smile clutching answers and treatment and supplements and understanding and clear direction and, most treasured of all, hope. The cherry on top is that she’s an absolute luv, an expat like me, all the way from South Africa, jolly, kind, tender, and wise. I’m so grateful.

It’s going to be an interesting month as we start implementing this new treatment. I’ll be on a super strict diet for a while (kill me now! ;-)), an anti-inflammatory, no-gluten, no-dairy, no-refined sugar, anti-viral, no-allergen, anti-acid diet. Ayiyi. But it will be worth it. I know it will. At first my mind was a total blank – what on earth could I eat?! But I’m determined to make it as delicious and satisfying as possible, and now my creative juices are flowing.

On a week such as this, there is nothing better than calling for an obliging dog and heading across the fields to the woods.

It was a dark and stormy day as Luna and I tramped through marshy paddocks and fields that stretched brown, brown, brown into the distance. You wouldn’t have thought there was a smidgen of color or life to be found…but there was.

Puddles of water and little streams nourished lush swathes of green grass and clover that clambered over and into lovely old logs.

The woods were silent and still, the high canopy protecting us from gentle rains that fell softly. Here and there I spotted bright red leaves, a reminder of the golden days of Autumn not long ago.

Now and then I’d feel something watching me only to see a kangaroo a few yards away peering curiously at us before bounding away into the neighbors woods.

The forest floor was covered with tiny bits of gorgeousness: sturdy mushrooms with ruffled caps, the ever present purple blooms I can never remember the name of, and something I’d never seen before, fuchsia berries practically glowing underfoot. Aren’t they the cheeriest ground cover?

Luna and I made it all the way to the back pond, stopping a moment to look off to the mountains before turning back towards home.

It was just the sort of day for baking in a warm kitchen, so when I got home I made a Lemon Cream Tart with Nutty Crust. Tart, velvety smooth, with a slightly chewy crust of ground almonds, linseed, and flaxseed, it was marvelous with a cup of tea when the night turned dark and cold. Turns out it was my last “real” dessert for a while, and it was definitely a delicious way to bid farewell to such things for a time.

Where is your favorite place to go when life feels a bit too much? xo

Lemon Cream Tart with Nutty Crust

Needed: 1 9-10 inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Ingredients:

Crust:

1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla or coconut extract
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup ground almonds, flaxseed, and linseed

Filling:

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (choose based on how sweet you want it)
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 6 lemons
3/4 cup coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Combine all pie crust ingredients in bowl and mix until it holds together.
  3. Press into tart pan and par-bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While it is baking, whisk together eggs and yolks. Add remaining ingredients one at a time whisking constantly.
  5. When tart crust is par-baked, open oven door and carefully pour in filling, letting it come to about 1/4 inch from top of tart crust. If you have extra filling, just bake it separately in a ramekin and eat as a lemon pudding.
  6. Bake tart for 30 minutes until top is caramelized around edges and filling doesn’t shake when jiggled.
  7. Let cool 10-20 minutes before serving or serve cold.



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Karlynn Johnston - Hope you are doing ok…big hugs! That tart looks amazing, I love lemon. When life gets too much, it’s always somewhere outdoors that I have to head, like you and the woods. Anywhere.. Geocaching, fishing, some major outdoors, fresh air distraction!

Krista - Thank you so much for the hugs, @karlynn:disqus That means a great deal to me. 🙂 I’m so glad that the outdoors is healing for you too. I’m just about to feed my animals and then go for a walk with my dog. It will do me good. 🙂

MeetaK - This post moved me on many levels Krista! The past few months have also been a crazy ride for me with health issue (knee), emotional and mental roller coaster ride due to issues at work. But like you I took one step at a time and found ways to help me heal. Friends, outdoors, baking … I did things differently, more self-conciously and tried to build positive energy around me. All I can say is .. one step at a time… regardless of how overwhelming the issue seems at this moment with faith and patience the darkest of clouds will reveal their silver linings … I promise you! ;o) Many hugs!

Ken Powell - I hope the new regimen really works for you, Krista.
Now, can you please answer one question for me? What is the difference between lemon butter, lemon cream and lemon curd, all of which can appear in equally delectable tarts. I know there are the ubiquitous search engines, but asking a fellow human has so much more appeal 🙂

Jackie - For me, I love losing myself in a great book, when it all too hard. I see you’ve got some “prickly pears” on the property, they make great jam if you can work a way to get those prickles off the fruit! No gluten, no dairy? Oh my goodness reminds me of eating brown rice for a week, I almost died! Well not literally, but geez it was hard, with your supreme cooking skills I’m sure you’ll find lots of recipes to get your teeth into. Much love. xx

bellini - I am sorry that you had an uncertain week Krista, but it make my heart smile that there is something that can be done. You go girl!!!! As for the pie lemon is my favourite either sweet or savoury.

Jacqueline_at_Bliss - It makes me deeply happy to know that you’ve met a health care specialist who has spent time and effort getting to know the WHOLE of you! It sounds as though the food challenges are formidable, but you will succeed, of that I’m certain. It’s not uncommon (as I’m sure you know) to experience withdrawal symptoms when “noisy” foods are eliminated. But having done this myself, I can tell you that when I do adhere to a diet that’s more streamlined and less inclusive of the foods that heal and don’t cause me harm, I feel so much more energized and simply better! You have such incredible talent in the kitchen, I know that you’ll put your creativity to the test and eat just as well. Sending you so much love. And let me know if you’d like a couple of website recommendations geared towards the changes in diet that you’re making. XX

Marie - When “life gets too much” that means I’ve got a migraine (and other assorted maladies) and no energy. “going anywhere” is out of the question. Thankfully, I have a comfortable couch and unending adventures on netflix and so many things in the knitting queue I’ll be busy for decades. today is one of those days…me, the couch, the tv, and Molly-best doggie in the world. Oh and diet cherry coke. Must have that.

Breanne @ This Vintage Moment - Oh man, what a rough week. But just finding an expat to talk with and hopefully get some answers must have felt good. Going for a long walk is often my antidote, just walk and walk and let the tears come if they will. Or else lose myself in a movie or book, hot bath and tea. I still can’t get over the fact that you can just look up and see a kangaroo! =)
Be better soon, luv, cheering you as you tackle this new diet with your courage. XO

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - I love a lemon tart but I usually need some cream to cut the tartness.

My favorite spot is a bench at Buddina Beach looking out to sea but shaded by the trees. That bench should have my name on it.

Joanne (eats well with others) - Oh sweetie I really hope this new diet and all these changes help! You deserve to not be in pain anymore! And this tart – so so so gorgeous.

Jamie - I have another friend who is having constant pain, sometimes very rude and difficult to stand but like you she takes herself outside and shoots pictures…and bakes BOth great therapy but I wish both of you well so so soon. And I love creamy lemon pies and have been promising myself to make one again soon. xo

Lindy Taylor - Great photos Krista & story, I hope to see all that Jumpers & Jazz Festival has on this weekend. Love the kangaroo & hens in the tree ;-). I seriously love lemon tart & I am going to try your recipe & the crust sounds very good, different to a flaky pastry. Have a great weekend.x

budgetjan - Hope is a wonderful thing, and having the courage to accept it and go along for the ride is also a wonderful thing. Keep enjoying your walks with Luna and making delicious and nutritious food within your new regime. Fingers Crossed 🙂

Tanya Lloyd - Hope is so precious in lighting up our days, and keeping us going when it seems all the odds are stacked against us. I am so pleased you are onto a new regime with your health and hope that this is the beginning of ease for you. Much love and healing thoughts your way x I am so making this tart! x

Andrea and John - Isn’t it amazing how much the immune system and our digestion play a role in everything? I was speaking to a naturopathic doctor who said the key to everything lies in our stomachs. I hope this path works for you and I look forward to seeing how you go!

Minecraft - “Into the woods-you have to grope,

But that’s the way you learn to Cope.

Into the woods to find there’s hope

Of getting through the journey. ”

I love this quote.

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