So, this tart isn't very red, white or blue but who cares about the color, it's freaking delicious. Enough with the patriotic-colored food already, we all know it's the 4th people! Okay just kidding. The colors are fun. I just wasn't prepared enough to have thought up a red, white and blue dish so this is what I ended up bringing to a 4th of July party (besides who wants to be 18th "flag" cake, not me). It was a serious hit and no one even mentioned it's non-patriotic colors. There was only one piece remaining when we left the party and a gal literally chased us down the driveway to ask if she could take home the last piece. Yes, really. Did I give it to her? Hell no I didn't!

For this most perfect (and apparently coveted) nectarine tart, I had to use the best sugar. What is the best sugar you ask?  Well I am sure it differs from person to person, but to me the best sugar is one that is organic, GMO-free, and free from unnecessary processing, especially regarding the use of bone char. That sugar is Zulka Pure Cane Sugar.

As a vegan, obviously the use of bone char in sugar does not jibe with me. Are you asking what the heck  bone char is and why it's probably in your sugar...that you have...at home...right now?! Eeeekk! Weellll, you see bone char is made from the bones of cattle and is used to whiten sugar. Lovely, right? Just what you wanted to be used to process your sugar.

But, why do we need our sugar whitened? Well, I'm assuming it's the same reason that we feel the need to bleach toilet paper or paper towels. God forbid we have *gasp* beige coloured paper towels. So, why do we have to use animal bones? Who freakin' knows anymore. It's madness I tell you...madness! Did I know this before I was vegan? Of course not because who imagines that sugar, delicious sparkling sugar, is processed with cattle bones. Ugh. And you know me, I had to double check and yes, I was personally reassured that Zulka does not use bone char in it's very minimally processing.

Anyways, if the idea bone char disgusts you as it does me or you're just looking for an organic sugar or a GMO-free sugar, Zulka is the answer to your sweet, sugary prayers. I was generously gifted a bag of Zulka to try out and you can see what I thought of it below.

Zulka Pure Cane Sugar

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What: So, we've established that Zulka is an unrefined granulated "Morena" cane sugar. It is Non-GMO Project verified, making it a more natural option compared to whitened cane sugar. It retains "the natural color and depth of flavor raw cane sugar has" and is thus, a light beige color and does not use bone char in it's processing. It comes from five Zucarmex family-owned sugar mills  that are located throughout Mexico.

Why: Because people want a natural sugar that's not refined and if you take up issue with sugar companies using animal bones to process their sugar then Zulka is for you. Basically, it's sugar as sugar should be people, it's not complicated. Why do we have to complicate everything?

How: Just like I said, it's sugar as sugar should be! Just use it as you would traditional white, granulated sugar.

Where: Zulka Pure Cane Sugar is available at major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Albertsons, Kroger, SUPERVALU, Food 4 Less, Superior, Winn-Dixie, El Super, Winco and many others. Admittedly, I have looked for it at our Wasilla Safeway and Fred Meyer (our two  main grocery stores up here in Alaska) and have not found it. Sad face. I have yet to check Walmart because, well, Walmart's not my jam. But, it can be found at Amazon.com, hooray!

Price: 

  • 1 lb. bag - $0.89-$1.19
  • 2 lb. bag - $1.39-$1.89
  • 4 lb. bag - $2.99-$3.69
  • 100 count box - $1.79 - $1.99

Recurrance: Zulka's got me as a customer. I like to purchase from companies whose values align with my own, and if I bought straight-up sugar I know I'd be walking around all day, moping about how I consumed cattle bones. I would. And I'm sure I wouldn't like that feeling, so it's worth a little more to make me feel like I am doing what seems like should be common sense.

Other Notes: I have to say the only thing I wasn't psyched about was the fact that it came in a plastic bag, as I don't usually decant my sugar. I like the paper bags because I just kind of fold them inward and they stay shut that way. But, that is a very personal choice and probably not the ideal one. I probably should decant... *Update 7/8/2013* - Zulka let me know that, "All vegan, organic sugar is packaged in a plastic or plastic coated bag because we do not remove all the organic material from our sugar. Zulka still has a slight amount of molasses and sugar cane fibers present and these absorb moisture. Therefore a plastic bag is used to protect the sugar from the moisture and keep it from caking into hard lumps. Only refined sugar can be put into the paper bags since the bone char is filtering everything out of the sugar except sucrose crystals." I was super glad Zulka addressed my laziness regarding the plastic vs. paper bag issue I seem to have. I had no idea! I feel a smidgen more intelligent today, just in case anyone asks about vegan sugars and plastic bags. You learn something new everyday...

So there you have it! Is your sugar organic, GMO-free, minimally processed and free from the use of animal bones? If not, it might be time to look into a different sugar. Just sayin'. Or maybe you really don't care, what do I know?

Okay, onto this bomb tart. Yes, this tart is bomb. It's super gangsta and it refused to be made without a fly sugar. This tart is bursting with summer. A sweet and creamy, cardamom spiced custard atop a flaky, buttery crust all topped with fresh, juicy, sugared and salted nectarines .

Salted Nectarine Cardamom Custard Tart

Inspired by The Whinery

Makes 1 large tart

  • Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free butter or coconut oil, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Zulka sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Custard
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. Zulka sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free creamer
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • Toppings
  • 2-3 nectarines, pitted and sliced thin (or any fruit you'd like!)
  • sprinkling of sugar
  • sprinkling of salt (I used a flaked finishing salt)

Combine all the crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

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Add the cornstarch, 1 Tbsp. of sugar and the lemon juice and whisk well until very smooth. Set it aside for now.

 

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Next, in a small saucepan bring the creamer, milk, salt, cardamom and 1/4 cup of sugar to a near boil. Then, add the cornstarch mixture while whisking and turn to low continually whisking until the custard thickens, this will take just a few minutes. Once thickened, pour the custard into a shallow bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes while prepping the rest of the tart.

 

By now the dough is probably about done refrigerating. Preheat the oven to 350 F, spray a tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and press the dough into the tart pan. Then, poke several holes with a fork into the formed dough to prevent it from bubbling. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges being to turn golden-brown.

Once the crust is done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes while slicing up the nectarines. Those super delicious...juicy, plump, nectarines. They are my favorite fruit after all.

Once all the fruit is prepped, spread the custard evenly into the tart pan and then add the slices of fruit lovingly atop it however you'd like.

Sprinkle with desired amount of sugar and salt. Serve (or hoard it all for yourself) for breakfast or dessert. Okay, let's get real, this would make a great entree, too.

Salted Nectarine Cardamom Custard Tart
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Katie - Produce On Parade
Serves: 8-12
This nectarine tart is bursting with summer. A sweet and creamy, cardamom spiced custard atop a flaky, buttery crust all topped with fresh, juicy, sugared and salted nectarines .
Ingredients
  • ---Crust---
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free butter or coconut oil, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Zulka sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ---Custard---
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Zulka sugar + 1 Tbsp.
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free creamer
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • ---Toppings---
  • 3 nectarines, pitted and sliced thin (or any fruit you'd like!)
  • sprinkling of sugar
  • sprinkling of salt (I used a flaked finishing salt)
Instructions
  1. Combine all crust ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Add cornstarch, 1 Tbsp. of sugar and lemon juice. Whisk well until very smooth.
  3. In a small saucepan bring creamer, milk, salt, cardamom and 1/4 cup of sugar to a near boil. Add cornstarch mixture, turn to low continually whisking until the custard thickens.
  4. Pour into a shallow bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and press the dough into the pan, poke several holes with a fork into the formed dough.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges turn golden. Allow to cool about 10 minutes.
  7. Spread custard evenly into the tart pan, then add the slices of fruit atop it.
  8. Sprinkle with desired amount of sugar and salt.
  9. Serve (or hoard it all for yourself) for breakfast or dessert.

And finally, check out Bailey and his little bomb shelter. Usually we put his bed in the tub, which he really likes but he seemed to be okay with it just wedged between the wall and tub wall. Sorry about the toilet pic. Super unprofessional, I know. That's the second one, what's wrong with me?

Anyways, I hate fireworks almost as much as him...our neighbors were still setting them off at 3:45am and were still blaring their music and yelling drunk obscenities. What kind of people do that?!

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