SERVES 6 Say hello to the gluten-free, dairy-free treat that blows dessert lovers’ minds at San Francisco restaurant Little Gem. Top it with syrupy Glazed Blackberries and Flaxseed Crumble or serve it solo. Either way, it’s intensely lemony and rich, so a little goes a long way.
1⁄2 teaspoon arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour
1⁄2 cup fresh lemon or Meyer lemon juice, reserving the zest of 1 lemon
1⁄3 cup honey, preferably orange blossom honey
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 recipe Glazed Blackberries (see below; optional)
2 tablespoons Flaxseed Crumble or gluten-free granola (see below; optional)
In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot with 11⁄2 tablespoons of the lemon juice to make a slurry.
Place the lemon zest, remaining lemon juice, the eggs, honey, and vanilla seeds in a blender and blend until smooth. Stir the slurry, add it to the blender, and blend again. Pour the mixture into a metal or heatproof bowl.
Fill a pot smaller than the bowl with about 1 inch of water and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Place the bowl over the pot, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and custard-like.
Remove the bowl from the heat and drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a spouted measuring cup, then divide between 6 small (about 3-ounce) cups or ramekins. Cover the surface of each custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until completely cool. Top each with 3 glazed blackberries and 1 teaspoon crumble and serve.
MAKES 18 GLAZED BERRIES Lightly coated in flavor-boosting honey and lemon juice, these blackberries are delicious atop chef Dave Cruz’s Lemon Custard (above), yogurt, or ice cream. Though best the day they’re made, they can also be stored in the fridge overnight.
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
18 blackberries, whole or halved (depending on size)
In a sauté pan, warm the honey and lemon juice until the honey turns to syrup. Turn the heat to high and cook the syrup until it forms large bubbles, about 30 seconds. Add the berries and cook until just tender but still holding their shape, 30 to 45 seconds. Gently remove the berries with a slotted spoon and reduce any remaining juice to a thick syrup. Pour the blackberry syrup over the cooked berries and let cool. Stir to combine and store in the refrigerator.
MAKES ABOUT 11⁄4 CUPS This recipe yields more than is needed to top chef Cruz’s lemon custard. But it can be stored, tightly covered, in a cool, dry place for up to 4 weeks and makes a great addition to parfaits, yogurt, or ice cream.
1⁄2 cup chopped gluten-free oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 teaspoon whole flaxseeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey, preferably orange blossom honey
21⁄2 teaspoons olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 265°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or spray with gluten-free cooking spray.
Combine the oats and seeds in a mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the coconut sugar, salt, honey, and olive oil and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the hot liquid over the oats and seeds and mix well. Spread the mixture in one layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until just golden. Let cool before using.
Photography Erin Ng