Several years ago, my best friend passed away. I had just moved across the country and we were thrilled to finally be roommates. I promised him all kinds of rainbow foods, just as soon as our slum landlord fixed the oven and the fridge (he never did). As a tribute to my wonderful friend, I make a rainbow dessert on his birthday every year. Today would have been his 29th birthday.
I wasn’t in the mood for food dyes this year, and I’ve still to find a natural food dye that gets things yellow (that isn’t egg yolks) so I used fruit! It’s a pastry bottom, vanilla custard filling and every colour of the rainbow in fruit. Refreshing, delicious and so dear to my heart. For my tips on homemade gluten-free pastry, you can go here (x). I used a mix for the custard, but if you have a favourite homemade one, please use that! This dessert is really about the presentation rather than fussy individual parts – we all should have a few of those in our arsenal! Pressed into a tart pan, in your favourite pie plate, or even free-form like I did; do what you like or are comfortable with for the pastry shape. If you’re into raw crusts, I heartily encourage the use of those (but they are obviously not allergy friendly).
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (Gluten-Free should use brown rice in this mix (x) and read my tips for better results (x))
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup non-dairy margarine sticks, chilled
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice cold water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. ut the non-dairy margarine and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles oatmeal. Slowly add the ice cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a loose ball. Divide in two, shape into discs, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out to a 1/8 inch thick when ready to use.
Candied Blood Oranges
1 blood orange, sliced thin (think 1/8 to 1/16 inch thin)
3/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
In a large skillet, over medium heat, stir the sugar until it has dissolved in the water. Add the orange juice and orange slices and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes, making sure the orange slices are in one layer. Remove the cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid becomes a relatively thick syrup. Remove from heat and separate orange slices to let them cool and dry.
Rainbow Tart Assembly
Pastry, rolled out into desired shapes
3 cups vanilla custard, cooled
Candied blood oranges (recipe to follow)
Mango, peeled and cubed
Pineapple, peeled and cubed
Kiwi, peeled and cubed
Red Grapes, halved
Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare pastry crust in whatever pan you are using. Pour pie weights onto the bottom of the crust, to ensure it stays flat and has room for the pudding. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Once cooled, add the custard to the centre and allow to set in the fridge for a 15 minutes. Arrange fruit in a rainbow pattern over top the custard and serve.