Elder, ‘the witches tree’, has been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat flu, colds and other conditions and it continues to play a part in modern herbal medicine. Just going out to pick the flowers or berries is healing in itself. They are plentiful, easy to identify and beautifully scented – making them perfect in this delicate and tasteful dessert.
The base of this torte is made with dried apricots and flaked grains, which complement the sweet vanilla-flavoured white chocolate and subtle aroma of the elderflowers. If you have any base left over, roll it into balls and eat as a pick me up snack later on. Store in a sealed container.
The presentation of this tart is inspired by one of chef Bertrand Grebaut’s desserts at his restaurant Septime in Paris. Simplicity and a deep sense of respect for their ingredients is clear throughout their menu, which is what makes it one of my favourites. There is a clear drive – at Septime and amongst some of the best restaurants in the world – for a more real food style that aims to bring us, the eater, closer to nature and the origin of our food. This is a million miles from the frilly food of yesteryear and something I try and emulate within my own cuisine.
Extra virgin olive oil, for greasing
100g mixed nuts (e.g. Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts)
50g flaked grains (e.g. buckwheat, oat, spelt)
150g unsulphured dried apricots
10g puffed millet, amaranth or rice
200g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
300g organic certified silken tofu
1 tbsp chia seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder
Elderflowers (and/or edible flowers), to decorate
4 x 8–10cm tart tins or 1 x 23cm tart tin
1 Grease the tart tin(s) and line with unbleached parchment paper.
2 To make the base, pulse-blend the mixed nuts in a food processor to rough pieces. Add the flaked grains, apricots and 2 tablespoons water and blend to a rough paste. Turn out the mixture onto your work surface and knead in the puffed grains. Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick, then transfer to and line your tart tin(s).
3 To make the topping, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water. Pour the tofu into a food processor, followed by the melted chocolate and ground chia seeds. Pulse-blend until smooth. Pour into the tart base(s) and refrigerate for a couple of hours until set.
4 Serve the tart or tarts decorated with lots of individual flowers.
Find Tom’s interview on zero-waste cooking in the October issue of healthy, out 18 September.