Gluten-free Mahleb, raspberry and lychee tart

by Chiara

When it comes to baking with spices, there is a whole world to explore beyond the familiar cinnamon and vanilla.
I love baking with spices! I think they allow you to be more creative with your baking, while adding a touch of originality and giving a boost of flavor in a very simple way.
I recently found out an incredibly delicious spice that I want to introduce to you today.

Mahleb comes from the kernel inside the cherry stones of the St. Lucie Cherry. This black, sour cherry is grown on trees which appear in mostly the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. 
There are many alternative spellings for this spice, but what’s sure is the unmatched flavor that marks it. 
Mahleb has a delicate flavor with almond hints. There’s a nice mildly bitter aftertaste and something quite floral as well. Its notes of both cherry and roses add an extra dimension to sweet treats. And because I really wanted to add some welly to my last baked good, I figured it was worthwhile to experiment a little with this intriguing flavoring. Thus, I paired the almondy scent of Mahleb with raspberry and this gluten-free tart is what came up!

The tart is composed from:

  • Gluten-free Mahleb shortcrust pastry. It not contains gluten and eggs, but it’s still so buttery and flaky. In fact, I’ve replaced the eggs with almond milk (choose it unsweetened, unpreserved and without artificial flavors or thickeners), while the AP flour with a mix of orange sweet potato flour and potato starch. The orange sweet potato flour is naturally gluten-free and it has a very sweet flavor that gives unicity to everything it touches. Don’t stress guys, you can obviously use a gluten-free All-Purpose flour instead, or swap it with the same weight of rice flour
  • Gluten-free Mahleb frangipane cream. This cream has a spongy texture in addition to an intense and bright almond flavor. Plus, it’s gluten-free, because I’ve replaced the AP flour with a mix of tigernuts flour and cornstarchTigernuts flours tastes sweet and almondy, so you can replace it with almonds flour (both white almonds flour or raw almonds flour work great) in case you don’t have it
  • Raspberry Inspiration and cashews fluffy crémeux. It combines a fresh and an intense raspberry taste (thanks to the presence of both Raspberry Inspiration couverture from Valrhona and fresh raspberries) with the sweetness and nuttiness of the cashews that are present in the form of raw butter.
    Plus, the crémeux has a light citrus fruity taste because I’ve added a bit of orange blossom honey. Any type of honey works great instead, of course.
    The uniqueness of this crémeux is even the texture, which is both velvety creamy and light. This is due to the addition of the semi-whipped heavy cream at the end, that can lighten up the consistency of the crémeux
  • Lychee and raspberry confit. Lychee and raspberry is definitely a match made in heaven. In fact, lychee adds sweetness and some tropical, flowery notes that complement the sourness side of raspberry. Nevertheless, if you can’t find the lychee puree, replace it with the same weight of raspberry puree or, alternatively, blend fresh lychee until obtain a puree
  • Almond Inspiration and Mahleb namelaka. The namelaka is a egg-free cream with a silky and creamy texture that completely melts in the mouth. It’s simple to make, you just have to combine together chocolate (Almond Inspiration couverture for this recipe), milk (I’ve used unsweetened almond milk to boost the flavor of almond, but you can use any milk you have in the fridge), gelatin sheets and heavy cream. I’ve also added a pinch of grounded Malheb which takes the namelaka up a notch!
  • Lychee and raspberry mirror glaze (cocoa butter based and natural-colored) 

Hoping that this flavor combo intrigues you guys as much as I do!
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you and to share your creations on my stories! And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts, I’m absolutely willing to respond you as quickly as possible. ♡

Gluten-free Mahleb, raspberry and lychee tart

Serves: 6-8
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


Gluten-free Mahleb shortcrust pastry
118 g orange sweet potato flour (or brown rice flour)
118 g potato starch (or cornstarch)
120 g butter, cold and cubed
60 g white almonds flour
60 g icing sugar
7,5 g (1 tsp + ½ tsp) vanilla powder
7,5 g (1 tsp + ½ tsp) grounded Mahleb
1,25 g (¼ tsp) Maldon salt
50 g unsweetened almond milk

Gluten-free Mahleb frangipane cream
50 g soft butter, to room temperature (20-25°C)
50 g Dulcita raw cane sugar
20 g raw almonds butter (100% raw almonds)
a pinch (⅛ tsp) Maldon salt
5 g (1 tsp) grounded Mahleb
50 g eggs, to room temperature
50 g tigernuts flour (or raw almonds flour)
5 g cornstarch

Raspberry Inspiration and cashews fluffy crémeux
52 g Raspberry Inspiration couverture
11,4 g cocoa butter
100 g raw cashews butter (100% cashews)
40 g water
64 g orange blossom honey (or acacia honey)
2,5 g gelatin sheets, Gold strength (200 Bloom)
13 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
16 g soft butter, to room temperature (20-25°C)
200 g heavy cream 35% fat content, cold
5 g (1 tsp) Fuchsia Hibiscus (naturale food coloring)
5 g (1 tsp) Red Beet (natural food coloring)
85 g fresh raspberries, halved

Lychee and raspberry confit
88 g lychee puree
64 g raspberry puree
24 g orange blossom honey (or acacia honey)
44 g cane sugar
4 g pectin NH
12 g lemon juice

Almond Inspiration and Mahleb namelaka
64 g unsweetened almond milk
4 g orange blossom honey (or acacia honey)
1,6 g gelatin sheets, Gold strength (200 Bloom)
8 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
112 g Almond Inspiration couverture
128 g heavy cream 35% fat content, cold
5 g (1 tsp) grounded Mahleb

Lychee and raspberry mirror glaze (cocoa butter based and natural-colored)
104 g caster sugar
52 g lychee puree
52 g raspberry puree
66 dextrose sugar powder
88 g sweetened condensed milk
6,4 g gelatin sheets, Gold strength (200 Bloom)
32 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
52 g cocoa butter
120 g Absolu Cristal (neutral gelatin)
5 g (1 tsp) Fuchsia Hibiscus (natural food coloring)
2,5 g (½ tsp) Purple Sweet Potato (natural food coloring)
1,25 g (¼ tsp) Red Beet (naturale food coloring)
1,88 g (⅛ tsp) Blue Butterfly Pea (natural food coloring)

Assembly and decoration
Raspberry Inspiration flexible bands (1cm / 3cm / 5cm high)
Raspberry Inspiration thin "crescents"
fresh raspberries
edible flowers


Gluten-free Mahleb shortcrust pastry

  1. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine together butter, sweet potato flour, potato starch, icing sugar, almonds flour, vanilla powder, Mahleb and salt and work until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add almond milk and beat on low speed until the dough comes together.
  3. Once the pastry has come together, press into a neat flat square and cover in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Line a perforated baking tray with perforated silicone mat. Grease generously with butter a 19x4 cm cake ring and place onto the prepared baking tray.
    Cut out a strip of 57 cm length and 5 cm high from a 60x40 cm perforated silicone mat. Insert the strip into the ring to fully cover the edges of the ring. The strip will exceed about 1 cm in height the cake ring, that's okay.
    The perforate silicone strip helps the shortcrust pastry "to cling" to the cake ring while it is baking. And besides, it will be easier to remove the baked tart from the ring.
  5. Roll the chilled shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to approximately 3-4 mm in thickness, adding flour when needed so it doesn't stick.
  6. Cut the rolled pastry with the cake ring to obtain the base. Place the pastry base onto the prepared baking tray.
    Cut out two pastry strips of 5 cm high and line the side of the ring, ensuring that the pastry strips stick well to the perforate silicone strip. Join the two ends of the pastry strips and, if needed, trim some of the excess pastry that is overhanging the side of the ring, using a knife.
    Place the ring over the pastry base, so that the pastry base is perfectly inside the ring and ensure that the edges of the pastry base stick well to the pastry sides.
    Prick the pastry base with a fork and place the tart in the freezer for at least 1h.
  7. Line the frozen and unbaked tart shell with heatproof plastic wrap and fill it firmly to the top with uncooked rice (any type of legume or cereal also works well). Bring the sides of the wrap together at the top like a parcel, so it is easy to remove.
  8. Put the tart in the oven, reduce the temperature at 150°C and pre-baked for about 20 minutes. Remove the rice and bake for a further 8 minutes at 160°C, just to dry up the bottom of the tart.
    Remove the pre-baked tart from the oven and set allow to cool down without removing the cake ring. In the meantime, make the frangipane cream.

Gluten-free Mahleb frangipane cream

  1. Cream butter, Dulcita sugar, almonds butter, salt and Mahleb with a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, until the batter is creamy, light and pale (beat on medium-high speed for about 3-4 minutes).
  2. In a small bowl mix together tigernuts flour and cornstarch. Once the butter is whipped, add eggs and dry ingredients in alternating steps, beating on medium-low speed. Work until the batter is smooth, creamy and homogeneous. Scrape the bowl as needed, to make sure everything is well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a disposable piping bag and pipe into the pre-baked pastry shell, making a spiral and without reaching the top of the shortcrust pastry. However, all the frangipane cream will require. Smooth out the frangipane cream surface with a small offset spatula.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes at 160°C, ventilation mode, until the frangipane is puffed, firmed and golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool down before removing both the tart ring and the silicone strip.

Raspberry Inspiration and cashew fluffy crémeux

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in 13 g cold water.
  2. Melt Raspberry Inspiration couverture with cocoa butter in the microwave to 45°C. Add the cashews butter and combine well with a spatula to obtain a smooth mixture.
  3. Heat 40 g water with honey in the microwave without boiling. Add the soaked gelatin sheets and stir with a rubber spatula until the gelatin is dissolved.
  4. Pour the water over the Raspberry Inspiration-cashews mixture and stir vigorously with the spatula to obtain a smooth and homogeneous cream.
  5. Add the butter and stir through, then allow to cool down to 35-40°C. The natural and vivid red color of the Raspberry Inspiration couverture will dilute slightly when combined with the mixture of water-honey and the cashews butter. That's normal. To overcome this, you can add some natural food coloring.
  6. Semi-whip the heavy cream with the food colorings in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment until it has some body but still collapses. Fold the cream gently through the chocolate-cashews batter in three intervals to obtain a light and fluffy cream.
  7. Fold the halved raspberries into the cream but do not overwork it or the cream will split.
  8. Transfer the cream into a piping bag and pipe the cream into the tart, over the chilled frangipane cream and to about 1,5 cm thick. Smooth the cream with an offset spatula and freeze for about 1-2 h, until the crémeux is completely frozen.
    Store the leftover crémeux in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 days.

Lychee and raspberry confit

  1. In a saucepan combine together lychee puree, raspberry puree and honey and heat to 40°C.
  2. In the meantime, in a small bowl mix together sugar and pectin NH. Add this mix into the purees when they're 40°C, stirring constantly with a fine whisk to let the mix of sugar-pectin NH dissolve into the purees. Bring to boil and cook for around 1 minute to medium heat, stirring continuously with the whisk. The pectin NH is activated at the temperature of 70°C, so it's very important to bring to boil the mixture.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the lemon juice and stir through.
  4. Pour the confit over the frozen crémeux to about 1mm thick. Freeze for about 30 minutes.  Store the leftover confit in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.

Almond Inspiration and Mahleb namelaka

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water.
  2. Melt the Almond Inspiration couverture in the microwave to 45°C
  3. Heat together almond milk and honey in the microwave without boiling, then add the soaked gelatin sheets and stir with a spatula until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Add the hot almond milk to the melted couverture in two times, stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula in a circular pattern to obtain a smooth cream.
  5. Transfer the cream into a mixing glass and emulsify with a hand blender to stabilize the emulsion and to make the cream even more smooth and homogeneous.
  6. Add slowly and to wire the cold heavy cream, blending contemporarily with the mixer, without adding air bubbles. Add finally the grounded Mahleb and emulsify once more.
  7. Pour the namelaka over the frozen confit in order to leave a gap of 2mm for the mirror glaze (you will use all the namelaka, anyway). Freeze for about 1-2h.

Lychee and raspberry mirror glaze (cocoa butter based and natural-colored)

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in 32 g cold water for at least 10 min.
  2. Weigh out the cocoa butter into a measuring cup or mixing glass. Heat caster sugar, lychee puree, raspberry puree and dextrose sugar in a saucepan to 104°C
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the sweetened condensed milk, stir through with a rubber spatula.
  4. Pour into the mixing glass, over the cocoa butter, and emulsify with the hand blender to melt the cocoa butter. Make sure to not add so much air bubbles when blending.
  5. Heat the Absolu Cristal in the microwave to 65°C and add into the mixture, followed by the drained gelatin sheets (add both the gelatin and the soaked water). Emulsify once more, then add the natural food colorings and emulsify.
  6. Pass the glaze through a sieve and pour it into a baking dish. Cover with clingfilm pressed on top of the glaze and chill in the fridge for 12h or overnight.
  7. Heat the glaze in the microwave until the edges start to melt. Transfer into a measuring cup and emulsify with the hand blender, so that the centre begins to melt too. Keep the blade of the hand blender on the bottom of the mixing glass, to avoid air bubbles. Place cling film on the surface of the glaze and cool it to 28°C. You can put the glaze in the fridge or take it at room temperature.
  8. Once the glaze reaches 28°C, remove the tart from the freezer and pour the glaze over the frozen namelaka, filling first the inside of the tart and then going around the edges. You can use the back of a spoon to spread the glaze evenly or you can lightly juggle the tart to ensure a smooth and thin thickness surface. Put the tarte in the fridge.
    Store the leftover mirror glaze in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Assembly and decoration

  1. Temper Raspberry Inspiration couverture, following the method you prefer. I use the tabling method. The tempering curve you need to follow is: 45°C (melting) - 27/28°C (cooling) - 30/31°C (the temperature of usage).
  2. Make the 3 flexible chocolate bands which wrap the tart. Each band measure in height 1 cm / 3 cm / 5 cm respectively.
    This is the equipment you need: 3 cake ring of 20 cm Ø ; 6 acetate strips of 1 cm / 3 cm/ 5 cm high and long enough to wrap the cake rings entirely ; small kitchen knife with smooth blade ; small offset spatula ; tape.
  3. Wrap each cake ring with an acetate strip and secure the ends with sticky tape. This strip will act as protection between the chocolate and the cake ring.
  4. Pour a line of tempered chocolate lengthwise over the 1 cm high acetate strip and smooth the surface of the chocolate with the small offset spatula until it runs over the end of the strip. Spread out the chocolate in a thin and even layer. Lift the strip by using the tip of a small knife and place the strip in one clean side of the work surface. Allow to set slightly until the strip is pliable and not fully set (about 2 minutes).
  5. Wrap the flexible chocolate band around the cake ring with the chocolate side touching the ring and therefore the acetate strip. Secure the ends with sticky tape and allow to set completely at room temperature overnight
    Make the same step with the other two acetate strips remained.
    The next day, remove carefully the acetate strip from the firmed chocolate and wrap the chocolate bands around the tart.
  6. Make the thin chocolate "crescents" as described here.
  7. Garnish with fresh raspberries, edible flowers and thin chocolate crescents.

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