I’ll be honest- I’m not much of a baker. Simple breads, biscuits and rolls I can handle, but complex cakes and desserts are challenging for me, so I tend to avoid these recipes. Also, I have no willpower and can’t stop myself from stuffing my face full of carbs if they are just sitting on the counter.
Dessert in my house is usually just plain old fruit, and if I’m feeling fancy I’ll make some fresh whipped cream. Actually, I have a great recipe for mint strawberries with whipped vanilla cream…but that’s for another day! Back to the recipe at hand.
I actually have my mother to thank for introducing me to this recipe. For Christmas, she had gotten me the book Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson. I was interested in the breakfast and soup recipes and couldn’t wait to try a few. Truthfully, I didn’t really give the dessert section more than a second glance.
One day, my mother was trying to find a way to use up some almost-too-ripe blackberries from our fridge. The macaroon tart from Super Natural Every Day, which uses coconut and blackberries, caught her eye. My mom whipped up this tart and it was delicious. The crunchy buttery base is layered with a soft and lightly sweetened coconut macaroon topping, dotted with juicy blackberries. Every bite is satisfying. The flavors and textures are extremely well-balanced and cohesive.
From a health perspective, sure, it’s still a dessert. However, it uses whole wheat flour and it’s not overly sweet. Most important to me, it’s made from real ingredients with minimal processing. I don’t do diets and I don’t do diet food. So, if there is going to be dessert in the house, I want it to be made from whole foods and taste like the real thing. This recipe is also easy to make, with minimal mess and effort. So, it’a a home run and has easily secured a spot in my regular recipe rotation.
Coconut Macaroon Tart
adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
Makes approx. 20-24 bite sized squares
1 1/2 cups of whole white wheat or whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded cococnut
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
10 Tblsp butter melted (salted or unsalted- I have used both)
2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
4 large egg whites
8 oz blackberries, halved
1/3 cup pistachios, crushed (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 x 11 tart pan, or a 9 x 13 baking pan (bars will be a bit thinner). Line the pan with parchment paper (the butter helps the parchment stick to the bottom and sides).
Make crust by combining flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter and mix until well combined and all flour is absorbed. Press dough into bottom of pan with firm pressure until it forms a solid layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until just golden, then remove and allow to cool slightly.
While crust is cooling, make the topping. Combine the coconut, sugar and egg whites in medium bowl and mix well. Place halved blackberries on top of crust, distributing them evenly. Take spoonfuls of the filling and drop them on top of the blackberries. Fill in the spaces between the berries as well (you can use your hands to move topping around). Allow a few of the berries to poke through the filling for aesthetics.
Bake for additional 20-25 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Allow to cool and add crushed pistachios if you wish. After cooling, cut squares into bite-sized squares and enjoy!