I had a food blog friend lament to me a few months ago that in today’s age of dietary restrictions, hosting has gotten a whole lot less fun.
When you’re juggling one pescatarian with one dairy-free lactard, and half your guests are gluten-free, it can suck a lot of the joy out of creating a menu, she complained.
I can relate. Because that aforementioned breakdown is exactly what it’s like every day at my family table. My dad doesn’t eat meat. My mother doesn’t eat dairy, except for butter, and both of us ladies are gluten-free.
We’ve gotten very used to cooking this way for ourselves, and most of the time relish the challenge. But we don’t relish inflicting that challenge on other people. Or, at least, I don’t.
I’ll be heading to Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow for a much needed three weeks of decompressing and working remotely from my parents’ house. Even though the end of the year is when most of the Blockbuster food holidays fall, these summer months, on our special island, is when my family is the most social.
Thanks to the big long weekend approaching, and some of your probing questions at my events these past few weeks, I’ve been thinking more about how to be a graceful guest with dietary restrictions, especially when they come with another few sets of them as a packaged deal.
One of my biggest lessons from The Wellness Project is that it’s so important to figure out your non-negotiables and where there can be some wiggle room in your diet. This is truly the key to doing right by your body without giving up your life. It can help you avoid burdening hosts with your preference of the day. And more importantly, it can open you up to a wider world of shared experiences around food.
For me, the only non-negotiable is that I’m gluten-free. I try not to eat a ton of dairy, or a ton of sugar. But there’s room for flexibility there, especially when it comes to enjoying the creations of others.
I’d like to think that this healthy, gluten-free key lime tart is a happy medium that tows the line of a variety of different dietary restrictions. It uses a paleo almond flour crust that I fell in love with in this lemon tart recipe, which had been a site-wide favorite. Though the shell does use egg, the filling is completely vegan and refined sugar-free, and you can always make extra to serve as a pudding cup. Or, if you embrace a little wiggle room on the gluten-free or paleo front, you can just do what my mother does: eat the filling out of the tart shell until it’s more or less licked clean.
I got the idea for the avocado custard from Mckel Hill, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few months ago in New York. She served this lime avocado mousse and I was blown away by how simple it was to make and how much it satisfied all the tangy, tropical flavors of a key lime pie filling.
Finally, the topping is a rich, luxurious skyr “whipped cream.” Skyr is a cultured dairy product and the authentic food of Iceland. Most Americans compare it to Greek yogurt, but I find it to be much thicker and creamier, which makes it the perfect healthy substitute for the whipped cream on a classic Key Lime Pie. I used the vanilla flavor from Icelandic Provisions, since it has more protein and less sugar than most yogurt brands and is made with heirloom cultures from Iceland. It’s a great semi-homemade store bought corner to cut for fancier desserts. And especially if half your guests don’t eat dairy, you can simply spoon it into a bowl on the side without having expended any extra effort.
No matter who is gathering around your table this weekend, I hope you’ll give this gluten-free key lime tart with avocado custard and skyr whip a try. If it can meet the dietary needs of my family, I promise your guests will be happy campers.
From one healthy hedonist, to another,
Gluten-Free Key Lime Tart with Avocado Custard and Skyr Whip
You can make this tart in one large 9-inch pan, or several smaller ones. I used three 5-inch tart pans. The filling is adapted from Nutrition Stripped. The lime juice keeps the avocado bright and vibrant, and the coconut oil creates a dense, firm texture once chilled. Feel free to use any crust recipe you prefer.
For the crust:
For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan (or three 5-inch tart pans) with parchment paper. Grease the sides with oil.
In a small food processor, pulse the almond flour and the salt until combined. Add the coconut oil and egg and pulse a few more times until a dough forms. Warning: it will be very sticky.
Transfer the dough to the center of the tart pan(s). Using a sheet of plastic wrap or greased palms, press the dough out into an even crust, about ¼ inch thick. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until firm an beginning to brown. Remove and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the filling: in a blender or food processor, puree the avocado, lime juice and zest, maple syrup and coconut oil until smooth.
Pour the avocado mousse into the cooled tart shell(s) and smooth into an even layer. Transfer to the refrigerator to set, at least 1 hour, or overnight.
To serve, spoon the vanilla skyr on top and garnish with a slice of lime.