Malibu Beach Recovery Diet™: Plum Tarte
NOTE from Joan Borsten:
In January 2007, nine months before we opened the doors of what is now known as the Malibu Beach Recovery Center, we asked Licia Jaccard to help create an American version of the French low glycemic diet that was to be a key component of our treatment system. The diet was based on the findings of Michel Montignac.
Licia was an obvious choice. We knew each other from a gourmet light website. She was from Kansas, but raised and educated in France. She was a Cordon Bleu graduate. She was able to read Montignac in the original text.
By the time we opened, she had configured hundreds of recipes to match the requirements of this delicious and healthy diet.
We subsequently added a weekly cooking class to the program, recognizing that if addicts benefited from the effects of the diet during their stay at the clinic, helping them continue this regimen when they returned home would be beneficial to most of them. In addition, it provided a much needed break and recreation from the rigid schedule. Then we added an online cookbook which clients could go to for not only recipes, but rules, shopping lists, and a guide to eating out. Now Licia will be writing a monthly blog for alumni, families and the general public, sharing some of her amazing recipes. Bon Appetit. Joan
When Joan asked me to write a column for the blog, of course it was not about treatment... anyone would do that way better than I ever could. Those of you who know me can bet that it’s about food, and more specifically about desserts. Although I will definitely try to incorporate savory items to this blog, I also know that most patients suffer from serious dessert withdrawal when they first start on this new life adventure. This aims to help with your sweet cravings...
I went to the Farmers Market yesterday in search of that one ingredient that would trigger dessert-mania and found the most ridiculously sweet french prunes, called Quetches in France, and Italian Prunes here in the US... go figure!
The benefits of these prunes healthwise, are that they are good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and lutein and zeaxanthin, pigments that help protect your vision. They are also a great source of antioxidants that will help neutralize harmful free radicals. In addition, their extreme versatility in the kitchen allows them to be paired with both savory and sweet dishes, used in pies and compotes, as their texture will not easily break down and the fruit will remain tender but whole after cooking.
Because this type of fruit contains less water than other varieties of plums, they lend themselves perfectly to desserts.
I would like to offer two special recipes that are easy to make and delicious to enjoy. Neither of them contain sugar and, after tasting them, you will be amazed at the true richness of the taste of the fruit.
(Click Continue Reading for the recipes)
This pie is a beautiful and tasty fruit pie, enjoyable lukewarm or at room temperature. The addition of ground almonds at the bottom of the pie not only provide additional nutrition but also will absorb the juices of the fruit as they cook so that the crust does not become soggy. Nuts, and especially almonds, are an important ingredient of the low glycemic diet as they provide natural oils that the body needs.
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour (preferred brand is King Arthur Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour)
- 1 Tbsp almond meal
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
- 1 lb quetches (or italian prunes)
- 2 Tbsp agave syrup
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Position the rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the flour and the salt in a food processor along with the butter, cut in pieces. Pulse until the mix ressembles coarse oats, and little balls of butter are still left whole. Add the egg yolk and the milk and pulse until the dough forms a ball in the food processor.
Use a pie pan with removeable bottom. Detach a little portion of the dough from the ball, and line the sides of the pan first, using your fingers to pull the dough. Then flatten the rest of the dough to fill in the center portion. The dough should be uniformly thin.
Spread the almond meal on the bottom of the pan. It will absorb the juices and prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
Split the quetches in half along the pit line. Discard the pit and line them in the pie pan, overlapping them as you go, and starting with the outer circle of the pie pan first.
Pour the agave syrup into a small saucepan (or a microwaveable dish) and add the butter. Melt the two ingredients together, remove from heat and add the vanilla. With a pastry brush, brush the top of the quetches with the syrup and place in the preheated oven to bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the prunes are caramelized and crisp but the dough is golden brown and crisp.
Let rest for 10 minutes to let the juices settle. Enjoy lukewarm or at room temperature with a cloud of whipped cream.
The second recipe I would like to contribute is a basic compote. Although many of you would balk at the idea of a fruit soup, a compote is a beautiful way to enjoy seasonal fruits for a longer period of time. It is easy to make and can use fruits that threaten to go bad if not eaten immediately.
One of my favorite breakfast foods in the morning is either oatmeal or greek yogurt. Both are a little bland and can afford the addition of this great source of taste and sweetness. Make a larger batch to enjoy througout the week. This compote can also be canned and freezed.
- 2 pounds quetches
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/8 cup agave syrup (less if plums are extremely ripe)
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cut the quetches in half and disard the pit. Cut each piece again in half. Place the quetches in a saucepan along with the water and agave. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, mixing it occasionally to make sure the fruits at bottom of the pan does not burn. When the fruits reaches a boil, lower the heat and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until the fruits are soft and tender and the juices have thickened. Add the lemon juice and the cinnamon and let the mixture cool down.
I love putting it over yogurt, cereal or on a pancake. If thick enough, it can substitute itself for jam.
Final Notes: If you find that the season of italian prunes is going by too fast, purchase perfectly ripe fruit, wash and dry the fruits, slice in half and pit, then lay on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 2 hours. After the fruits are completely frozen, place in freezer bags to enjoy throughout the winter. Allow to thaw before putting into cakes or pies and reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes as the fruit will be softer than if used fresh.
Also, the season when quetches are at their peak is very short, so rush to your Farner’s market and enjoy!
A little trivia before I leave you: do you know what the difference is between prunes and plums? It is very small: Plums are clingstone (the pit does not separate easily from the flesh) and prunes are freestone.
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