Creamy pomegranate curd kissed with hibiscus and lemon and blanketed in whipped cream and fresh pomegranate arils, all wrapped up in a buttery almond flour crust = gluten-free pomegranate tart bliss. Adapted from Alternative Baker.
Sometimes my best ideas show up while I’m focusing on something else, like washing dishes, taking a dance class, or even sleeping. And sometimes my worst ideas show up then. That was the case for this pomegranate tart, which popped into my head while I kicked, twirled, and swiveled in salsa class last weekend. My thought process went something like, “5-6-7-8, kick ball change… I’ll make the grapefruit tart from my book, but with lemon and pomegranate juice… And a 1-2-3-4, pivot step kick step…. It’ll be vibrant red and beautiful. Shoulder shimmy, booty shake… Why has no one done this already? Swivel swivel turn 2-3… I’m a pastry genius! OMG dizzy, can’t breathe…”
Later that night, I watched with dismay as the vermillion pomegranate juice I whisked into a mixture of sugar and eggs went from bright red to unappetizing mauve before my perplexed eyes. I realized then that the lack of crimson pomegranate tarts on the internet was not a measure of my creativity; something chemical must happen between the eggs and the pomegranate to turn it such a revolting color. How many bakers before me must have fallen victim to this phenomenon?
Mad scientist-like and channeling Sarah’s way with hibiscus, I measured hibiscus blossoms into a coffee grinder with a bit of extra sugar, ground them finely, and stirred them into the curd. It *mostly* did the trick of returning some of the crimson hue to the filling.
Full disclusure: this tart isn’t *quite* so vibrant red IRL as in these photos; a bit of photo editing trickery is partially to thank. It is burgundy enough, however, to look appealing, especially when blanketed in a swoop of whipped cream and a mess of crunchy pomegranate arils. Once you take a bite of bright filling, buttery crust, and crunchy fresh pomegranate arils, you’ll forget the ever so slightly dull hue of its insides.
Softly set tangy pomegranate curd caresses a shortbread cookie-like crust made with a trio of alternative flours – almond, oat, and sweet rice. Pomegranate, hibiscus, and lemon’s sweet-tart flavors meld together seamlessly. The whole thing tastes like a creamy lemon tart punched up with flowers and fruit and buttery shortbread. And don’t skip the pomegranate arils on top – they add a clean brightness and crunchy taste that turns the delicious factor up to 11.
*Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this pomegranate tart, I’d love to see! Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
- 1⁄2 cup (60 g) blanched almond flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1⁄2 cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour (such as Koda Farms Mochiko)
- ½ cup (45 g) GF oat flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) tapioca flour
- 1⁄4 cup (50 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- 1⁄4 plus 1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) cold, unsalted butter, diced into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 tbsp (113 g) cool, unsalted butter, in ½-inch dice
- 1 ½ teaspoons hibiscus powder (or 2 tablespoons lightly crushed hibiscus blossoms, or 1 tablespoon hibiscus tea from about 3 tea bags)
- 1 cup (200 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup fresh, strained pomegranate juice (find it at farmers markets or make your own)
- ⅓ cup fresh, strained lemon juice
- Unsweetened whipped cream (or a mix of cream and crème fraiche)
- Arils from 1 large pomegranate
- Powdered hibiscus (optional)
- Thinly sliced lemon rounds
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond, sweet rice, and oat flours with the tapioca starch, sugar and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to medium-low and run until the dough comes together in moist clumps and the butter is worked through, 3–5 minutes.
- Dump about half of the crumbs into a 9-inch loose bottom tart pan and press the dough evenly into the sides of the pan. Add the remaining crumbs and press them into the bottom, keeping the edges square. (It usually takes me about 10 minutes to make it look pretty.) Freeze until firm, 15–30 minutes.
- Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden all over, 20-30 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and, while it’s still hot, press the sides and bottom firmly with the back of a spoon; this will help it hold together when cool. Keep warm.
- Lower the oven temperature to 325ºF.
- Place the butter in a heatproof bowl or large measuring cup, place a fine-mesh strainer over the top, and set aside. If using hibiscus blossoms or tea, place in a coffee grinder with about a third of the sugar and grind to a fine powder. (You can skip this step if using hibiscus powder.)
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the hibiscus, sugar, lemon zest, eggs and egg yolks to combine. Whisk in the pomegranate and lemon juices. Place the pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof silicone spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and reaches 170ºF on an instant-read thermometer, 5–10 minutes. As you stir, be sure to scrape the entire bottom and corners of the pan, so that the mixture heats as evenly as possible. It will start out thick and cloudy from the undissolved sugar, then will turn thin and translucent, and finally begin to thicken and turn cloudy again as the eggs cook. If the mixture starts to curdle or bubble, immediately remove from the heat and proceed to the next step.
- Immediately pour the curd through the strainer and into the bowl of butter to stop the cooking. Whisk gently to incorporate the butter. Pour the cooked curd over the warm, baked crust. Bake the tart at 325ºF until the sides are barely puffed and the center wobbles like firm Jell-O when you give it a gentle shake, 20–30 minutes. It should not be wet or watery looking (underbaked), nor should it be puffed in the center or cracking (overbaked), but a few small bubbles popping around the sides are perfect. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes, then chill until firm, 2–3 hours or overnight.
- Remove the tart pan sides by placing the tart atop a large can or small, inverted bowl and gently easing the sides from the tart. Chill the tart until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Cut into wedges and serve, topping each slice with a spoonful of whipped cream, a good sprinkle of pomegranate arils, and a lemon slice and pinch of hibiscus powder if desired. The tart is best within the first 2 days of baking when the crust is firm, but keeps well, refrigerated airtight, for up to 3 days.