Fennel Pollen Apple Roti Tart

Fennel Pollen Apple Roti Tart

Fennel Pollen Apple Roti Tart

Hey! How are you all doing? We have just a few short weeks before our big move back to India, so things are pretty crazy around here. We sold some of our furniture and gave away the rest of our stuff that we had accumulated over the years. Surprisingly I did not feel much of anything to see them go, except an unexpected sense of relief. The kid was quite confused when they hauled the sofa away but immediately reveled in all the new space he had to run around!
I am trying not to let go of most of my kitchen stuff though, and that is what I am packing first, forget clothes and shoes! My baking pans are covered in bubble-wrap and packed away in suitcases and I am itching to bust them out, and bake one last time before we leave.

Today we had to make a trip up to the city, so we also took a short drive up to take one more look at this:
Golden Gate Bridge, SF

(I didn't take my camera along so this picture is from an earlier trip up to the breathtaking Marin Headlands.) Initially, to me, The Golden Gate Bridge was just a pretty red bridge, but over the years I formed a deep attachment to it, and so has the three year old who's whole face lights up every time we see it. Driving up to the city it is always an awe inspiring sight to see the bridge shrouded by fog and surrounded by the green hills,  just as we emerge from a tunnel. A truly dramatic sight I can never get tired of, and always have to photograph and then of course share with you all here!  I am sure you don't mind :) Just look at that! We must be pretty crazy to leave right?

As you can guess, I am already missing California deeply but I just cannot wait to be all settled in my next kitchen on the other side of the world, and get cooking & baking again.
I can't wait to re-discover Bangalore, the bustling South Indian city we are moving to. It has changed so much from the green and quiet little town I once lived in long ago as a child, and over the years that we have been away, I am sure it has changed even more.

But before that, there are hundreds of things to wrap up here, and a loooonnggg 30 hour trip to make. Do say a prayer for us and send good wishes our way!

So what am I doing here? escaping my never ending to-do list for just a little while, with a delicious and beautiful apple tart dusted with fennel pollen. It looks like a flower in full bloom doesn't it? Like these gorgeous spring flowers- something else I just cannot stop photographing!



This is a guest post for my good friend Viji at her blog Spices and Aroma, which always inspires me to cook and eat healthier. You will find Viji cooking with a lot of whole grains, South Beach diet friendly recipes and also making some absolutely brilliant, not so sinful desserts.

Fennel Pollen Apple Roti Tart

When she requested a fruit tart for this guest post, I had something else in mind initially. Something involving cooking down berries and the rolling out of a buttery tart base like in this fantastic strained Greek Yogurt Tart here

Then one day when I was flipping channels on the TV, my three year old surprised me by loudly exclaiming "that's Pepin!" on seeing Jacques Pepin! A little later, he also confirmed that he was familiar with Julia Child.  We are a little addicted to PBS, him and me, and I am so not proud of the fact that he can name most of the characters of "Downtum Abbey".

Fennel Pollen Apple Roti Tart

Anyways, Pepin on that day was making a tortilla-tart with pears that looked so delicious and easy, that I could not resist making it, and decided to use up the last of the pink lady apples that were a steal at our farmer's market, perhaps because they were on their way out. Since it is quite healthy too without all the fat and sugar that goes into most tarts, I thought this is just the sort of recipe that Viji would like- not so sinful and bound to be a hit with her little toddler too.

I also decided to test some of the fennel pollen I received as a sample from the wonderful people from Pollen Ranch whom I met at the Fancy Food Show and got to learn a lot about this spice that I had not used before.

Fennel Pollen from Pollen Ranch at the Fancy Food Show

Most of us are familiar with fennel bulbs and of course fennel seeds, which are widely used in many cuisines, and very common in Indian cooking. Fennel is one of my favorite spices, both in savory and increasingly, sweet uses as well. In India bowls of fennel seeds are offered after meals to refresh your palate, aid digestion and serve as a natural mouth freshener. So that is my association with it, fresh, sweet, slightly anise-like.

But what is fennel pollen? As you would guess, it is the pollen collected from flowers on the fennel plant. I was expecting it to be like dust, but it is more granular than powdery, and tastes sweeter and less anise-like than fennel seeds, at-least to me. 

Fennel pollen from Pollen Ranch is hand picked from fields of fennel growing wild in the Sonoma area. I was intrigued to learn that fennel grows wild throughout much of California and the US West Coast. I hope to visit those fields one day and would love to watch how they harvest it.

Fennel Pollen Apple Roti Tart

In this easy tart, left over tortillas or rotis are spread with a tablespoon of butter or margarine and sprinkled with sugar, instead of using a regular tart shell. Slices of apples or pears are arranged on the top, dotted with a little more pieces of butter,  sprinkled with spoons of sugar and a pinch of fennel pollen, and then baked at 400 F for about 20 mins until the sugar and butter form a fennel scented caramel over the softened apples. The top of the apples are brushed after baking with preserves or honey that make them look shiny and glazed and adds just a touch more sweetness. The roti gets baked into a crisp and crunchy sweet base. Easy, delicious and pretty all in one go? Ingenious!

Head over to Viji's blog Spices and Aroma for the full recipe and a lot of inspiration to eat healthy!