It was a dark and stormy night—wait a second that’s too cliché, let me try that again.
The nocturnal period of dreams and subconscious musings was as black as the inside of a cow’s teat whilst moisture-laden cumulonimbus clouds gathered above the rock-lined fortress, a veritable Pentagon of impenetrability with its stainless steel gates and invisibility cloaking covering the grounds like an all-encompassing mosquito net in the dense African jungle. Three female-minded specimen of the sorceress variety were standing around a five-foot-wide, four-feet deep cast iron cauldron, whispering dangerous ditties amongst themselves as they combed their stringy locks with chicken bone-resembling toad’s feet.
“Narrator!” cried out Iseulde, the eldest of the three female-minded sorceresses. “You’d better stop this over-writing, it’s getting in the way of the story.”
Shamefaced, the narrator slunk out of the way and let the story get on with it.
The doorbell rang and Iseulde ran out to the drawbridge where the postman stood with a pile of packages. “Hello George! Care for a bit of lemongrass brew?”
“Not this time,” replied George quickly. “Here, you have a package.”
“Ooh, it’s heavy,” said Iseulde, as George handed her the mysterious parcel. “I wonder what it is.” She waved goodbye to the postman and dashed back over the drawbridge to the sitting room where the other sisters were sipping their boiling beverages near the fire.
“Guys, put down your tea – we’ve got a delivery from Afghanistan!”
“Cool! What is it?”
“I dunno, it’s from the coven of our Central Asian sisters. The note says it’s meant to be consumed.”
“I hope it’s cookies,” said Brisanne, licking her lips. “Those dragon shortbread from the Scottish coven were the bomb.”
Iseulde ripped open the package. Inside were two containers filled with thousands of tiny, black seeds.
“Ooooh,” cooed the witches.
“What are they?” asked Brisanne.
Iseulde rifled through the packaging. “Poppy seeds. From the fields of Central Asia. Thought to have mystical properties.”
“Awesome,” said Laverne, the youngest sister. “Let’s throw them in the brew.”
“No, that’s a waste,” said Brisanne. “We should make something special, they deserve to be highlighted.”
“Agreed,” said Iseulde. “I’ll look up some recipes.”
Ten minutes later, the witches were in the castle galley kitchen, tasting spoonfuls of the deliciously dark and deadly batter Iseulde had whipped up.
“It’s perfect,” said Brisanne. “So complex and layered.”
“I think it needs more alcohol,” said Laverne.
“You think everything needs more alcohol.”
“Everything does need more alcohol.” Laverne grabbed the rum and kirschwasser from above the sink. “Here I’ll just put in a dash. Also more vanilla and almond extract, those both have alcohol too.”
The others sighed, but allowed Laverne to doctor the batter to her lush-y delight. “It’ll mostly bake off anyway,” whispered Iseulde to Brisanne.
An hour later, the tart was out of the oven. It rested happily above the stove, filling the air with a delightful aroma of spices and poppies.
“This tart will nourish you,” said Brisanne.
“It will rest and relax you,” said Laverne.
“It will lighten your soul,” said Iseulde. “Come on, let’s see if we can get George or Frank to have some.”
The three sisters trooped outside and began to offer the cake to passersby, but the townsfolk were scared away by the tart’s dark appearance and the witches’ insistence that they have some.
“Darnit,” said Iseulde. “People always judge books by their covers and cakes by their appearance. We’d better sprinkle it with some slivered almonds and powdered sugar.”
Five minutes later, the made-over tart found takers. Ten minutes after that the town of Montblanc experienced a meditative ease, akin to a restful high, ending in the best sleep the residents had ever had.
- ¾ cup of dates
- 1.5 - 1.75 cups of poppyseeds
- 6 tbs of butter, ghee or coconut oil (V)
- ½ cup of water or milk (any type)
- 1.5 cups of almond meal
- ¼ cup of tapioca flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tb ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves
- 1 tb vanilla
- 1 tb almond extract
- 2-4 tb rum
- 2 tb kirschwasser, or liqueur/liquor of your choice
- 1 tb apple cider vinegar
- Food-process/blend the ingredients in the order listed (make sure the dates are well-processed before adding the almond flour, unless you feel like making almond butter).
- Taste before adding the ACV and make adjustments (i.e., add more alcohol), as needed.
- Pour the batter into a tart pan (lined with parchment paper, or pre-buttered/dusted), and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with slivered almonds and powdered sugar (stevia), or just dive right in and enjoy!