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Low Carb Kitchen
June 2020



Guiltless Plum Tart


Grain-free Baking
By Dennis Linden


Over half of the U.S. adult population, some 154 million, qualify as being overweight or obese. Another 29 million of us have Diabetes, many as a direct result of being overweight. Then there are the 23.9 million overweight children who are dutifully following the example of their XXL adult role models. Diabetes and these extra pounds cost this country billions annually in both medical and economic resources; not to mention the affect these weight-related maladies have on a person’s overall mental well-being and happiness. However, both diabetes and being overweight are very manageable, even preventable, with a few lifestyle tweaks. By maintaining a sensible diet in conjunction with some consistent exercise, no matter how minimal, we can all be in total control of our own weight. One easy way to start taking that control is to make decisions about the foods we eat based on the glycemic index [GI] and glycemic load [GL].

Simply put, our bodies convert all foods into sugar calories that provide energy to the body via the blood stream. The Glycemic Index assigns a score of 1 to 100 to all foods based how speedy the body converts that food into sugar. Foods that break down slowly enable the body to assimilate theses calories of energy more efficiently without overwhelming the body with more sugar than it can process. While this is especially important for diabetics who process sugars much slower than others, everyone can benefit from eating foods that have low glycemic scores since they also reduce appetite and encourage the metabolism to burn body fat. Conversely, a diet of foods high on the glycemic charts have been proven to actually increase appetite and impede effective fat oxidation.


A Quickie Glycemic Primer:
  • The glycemic index of a food compares its effect on blood sugar level to that of pure glucose, which has a score of 100. White breads, which are made of processed white flour, are at the top of this scale, scoring a “perfect” 100 on the glycemic index. For perspective, a score of 55 or below denotes a low-glycemic-index food; 70 or above is considered very high. Serving size is not a consideration in arriving at a food’s Glycemic Index number.
  • The glycemic load, on the other hand, focuses on how much digestible carbohydrates (sugars) a food contains in a typical single serving, which is defined as approximately 3.5 ounces. For glycemic load, a score of 20 or more is high, while 10 or less is low.
Low-carb and a sweet baked dessert sounds contradictory, but it’s all in the choice of ingredients. The June harvest kicks off a summer-long assortment of luscious plum varieties that can satisfy a sweet tooth without spiking one’s blood sugar. It is true that most all of the calories in the plum come from carbohydrates in the form of sugar. However, while a plum does have a GI rating of 39, it is also one of those fruits that have a glycemic load score of “0”; meaning the fruit has absolutely no impact on overall blood sugar levels since the sugars in the fruit are processed very slowly by the body. So the plum is the natural friend to diabetics or anyone watching their carb in-take. That said, sometimes we all crave something a little more special than a simple fresh fruit out of hand snack and that’s where we all get tempted into the world of empty-calorie baked goods. Take heart, contrary to the old saying, it is entirely possible to have one’s cake and eat it too – it’s just a matter of what goes into making that cake!

The key to low carb baking is knowing the difference between glycemicly good and bad flours, which also entails widening the definition of the very word “flour”. For a carb counter, especially a diabetic, the approach should be that the grain mill was never invented. While white flour contains 100% empty calories that spikes the blood sugar, surprisingly to many, whole wheat flour is only a slightly better option as both carbs and nutrition goes. Instead, this month’s sweet plum tart recipe uses almond flour, blended with coconut flour. Actually, neither are true milled flours but rather finely ground meals that react like flour during the baking process. Nutritionally, the comparison between almond flour and wheat flour clearly demonstrates in real numbers why the phrase “empty calories” associated with milled flours is so true:

Almond flour Whole Wheat flour (½ cup)
Protein = 21.94 g 9.71 g
Carbs = 19.44 g 76.22 g
Fiber = 10.4 g 2.4 g
Potassium = 687 mg 149 mg (W)
Magnesium = 275 mg 25 mg (W)
Calcium = 216 mg 20 mg (W)
Iron = 3.72 mg (A) 1.26 mg (W)
Importantly: Glycemic Index Score = >1 Almond flour; 71 Whole Wheat

Besides adding a hint of sweetness to the crust, the coconut flour also absorbs and holds water, which helps to ensure moistness. Oddly, while coconut is very high in fiber, it is also very light, so it does not produce that “heavy” feeling like a traditional high fiber food such as the classic bran muffin. Although coconut flour does have a medium glycemic index score of 45, it is one of those Jekyll-Hyde foods with a glycemic load of only 3! In fact, several studies have confirmed that as the coconut content in a diet is increased, the blood sugar response between the diabetic and non-diabetic subjects became nearly identical. Conversely, and amazingly, as the coconut content in foods were decreased, the diabetic subjects’ blood sugar levels became elevated! So here is a low-calorie, low-carb recipe to will provide some baked sweetness that has no impact on the blood sugar a.k.a. the Holy Grail for any carb counter with a sweet tooth. Enjoy the summer’s fresh plum harvest carblessly!

Guiltless Plum Tart
Serves 2

Ingredients for Guiltless Plum Tart


Ingredients (Crust)

2 medium eggs
2 Tbs. Melissa’s Blue Weber Agave Syrup
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbs. butter
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda

Ingredients (Plum filling)

1 ½ lbs. fresh plums
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. gelatin for the glaze
2 Tbsp. Melissa’s Blue Weber Agave Syrupfor the glaze
Preparation – Crust

In a food processor mix together the eggs, agave and vanilla extract, then add almond flour, baking soda, salt and about half of the coconut flour and mix. Drop in soft pieces of butter while the processor is running; as the batter becomes a ball, add in rest of the coconut flour.


In a food processor mix together the eggs, agave and vanilla extract, then add almond flour, baking soda, salt and about half of the coconut flour and mix. Drop in soft pieces of butter while the processor is running; as the batter becomes a ball, add in rest of the coconut flour.

Place dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and with your hands form an oval-rectangle crust with sides. With a fork, poke holes along the bottom of the crust. Note: this is a rustic tart, crust does not need to be perfectly shaped. Bake at 325° for about 8 minutes; remove and set aside.


Place dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and with your hands form an oval-rectangle crust with sides. With a fork, poke holes along the bottom of the crust. Note: this is a rustic tart, crust does not need to be perfectly shaped. Bake at 325° for about 8 minutes; remove and set aside.

Preparation - Plum filling

Slice each plum in half, remove pit, then cut into quarters, then slice quarters thin.


Slice each plum in half, remove pit, then cut into quarters, then slice quarters thin.

Arrange the plum slices close together within the crust. Mix the glaze in a small bowl by the adding water to gelatin, mix quickly, then add the agave and whisk into a syrup. If too thick, thin with a few drops of water. Apply the glaze generously to the plums with a pastry brush. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Let cool. Best served at room temperature or cold.


Arrange the plum slices close together within the crust. Mix the glaze in a small bowl by the adding water to gelatin, mix quickly, then add the agave and whisk into a syrup. If too thick, thin with a few drops of water. Apply the glaze generously to the plums with a pastry brush. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Let cool. Best served at room temperature or cold.