Fresh Berry Tart

This berry tart is fantastic!  A tasty, crumbly nut crust, cashew date cream and fresh berries.  That’s it!  Its quick, easy and makes a great dinner party or potluck dessert with plenty of “WOW!” factor.  Want to take it to the next level?  A vegan lemon curd beneath the berries would be out of this world!

Vegan Berry TartNutty Tart Crust

3/4 cup roasted, unsalted nuts (you can use pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, whatever you like)

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light, neutral oil (grape seed oil is like canola, without the GMO risk) see note after directions

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Process the dry ingredients (nuts, oats, flour and cinnamon) in a food processor until it becomes a coarse meal.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in the oil and syrup.
  3. Press the crust mixture firmly into a 9″-10″ tart pan or pie plate.
  4. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack

Note: Melted coconut oil could be used in place of the oil mentioned in the tart crust, but I would advise against it, only because it will harden at room temp and become solid as a rock once refrigerated!  This may make eating (let alone slicing) the crust a bit of a challenge.

Date Sweetened Cashew Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews (if you have time, soak them in water for 1-2 hours prior, then rinse well).

2-3 Tablespoons dates (double check for pits!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cashews in a blender pitcher.  Add enough fresh water to just cover the nuts.  Add dates and vanilla, blend until it becomes a smooth cream.  Scrape into a small bowl and set aside.  Can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Once the tart shell is cooled, we can assemble this baby!  

Spread and even layer of your sweetened cashew cream over the bottom of the completely cooled tart shell.  Rinse and pat dry the berries, then arrange on top of the cashew cream any way you fancy.  I started from the center and made concentric circles with some berries I had left over from the night before.  You could use different fruits like kiwi, or mango for more color and variety.  Have fun and get creative!

When you are ready to serve, get ready to hear the “Oooh”s and “Ahhh”s!  Slice, serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Ever Blueberry Coffee Cake

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There is no exaggeration in the title of this recipe!  Seriously, the best coffee cake I have tasted…ever!  Sweet, moist and delectable with just enough blueberries to make it interesting, without getting too mushy.  Don’t skip the topping.  It really makes it.  The struesel-like finishing touch melts a bit to create a phenomenal, lightly crispy and sweet layer.  If you prefer not to use store bought vegan sour cream, there is a quick and easy recipe to make your own at the end of this post.  So brew a pot of your favorite warm bevvie and enjoy!

This recipe is my veganized/healthier version of one found at http://www.cdkitchen.com

INGREDIENTS:

TOPPING:

2 T extra virgin coconut oil

5 T organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

COFFEE CAKE:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup organic sugar (evaporated cane juice)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegan sour cream

2 flax eggs (2T flaxseed meal, combined with 6T water)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Using a fork, combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix until ingredients are all incorporated and resemble cornmeal or slightly wet sand. Set aside for later.
  3. Use medium size bowl and a wire whisk to combine the dry ingredients (flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt).  Set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, use a mixer to beat together flax eggs, vanilla and vegan sour cream.
  5. Gradually add in the dry ingredients (about 1 cup at a time).  Beat until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Spread batter into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the blueberries on top.  Gently scoop a little of the batter over the berries, just enough to cover them without making purple batter or sinking your berries to the bottom of the dish. Finally, sprinkle the topping over the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until a clean toothpick or cake tester  inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry.
  8. Cool slightly, slice, serve and enjoy!  Best served warm or at room temperature.

VEGAN SOUR CREAM:

1 box Mori Nu Silken Tofu

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Toss all ingredients into the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Ta da!  Vegan sour cream!! 

Oatmeal Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

This a.m. I was in the mood to bake and had a cup of left over pumpkin puree in the fridge that needed to be used.  My first thought was pumpkin oatmeal cookies, bejeweled with cranberries.  Fortunately I came across this wonderful recipe on the Vegan Yack Attack website.  Click here for the original post and recipe.  These babies are so full of flavor without any oil, eggs, dairy, nuts or refined sugar.  Of course I can’t leave anything alone, so I switched out the whole wheat flour with spelt flour, used date paste (pureed dates and water) as the sweetener, and added an extra pinch of ground clove. Cloves add such a great earthiness and depth.  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies

Holy cow are these cookies good!  If you love lots of chocolatey-oaty, sweet and crunchy goodness then this is the cookie for you.  It is also a great back-to-school treat you can share with the kids, without any guilt since the only things these little gems lack are eggs, butter, oil and soy.  To make them wheat-free, try substituting the whole wheat pastry flour with oat or barley flour.  These also freeze very well, so why not make a double batch and freeze some to enjoy later!  

A Helpful Note: The dough is a lot easier to manage if you can let it chill in the fridge for about an hour or so before baking, but this isn’t necessary.  Here I use applesauce and prune puree (baby food prunes).  If you only have one of the two on hand, it’s no problem.  Just as long as you end up with 1 cup of fruit puree, whether in the form of applesauce, prunes or a combo.  Mashed bananas may also work in a pinch, though I haven’t tested that substitution yet.  

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 1/2 cup prune puree or baby food prunes 
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated can juice or raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  2 1/2 -3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips, or roughly chopped vegan dark chocolate
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.  Place oven racks at 2nd and 5th positions.
  2. Combine water, flaxmeal, applesauce, prune puree and sugars in a large bowl and beat well.  Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Gradually add dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in oats, cherries, chocolate and nuts.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight, if desired.
  6. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  Press to flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes.  Rotate baking sheets half way into baking time.  Rotate 180 degrees and switch racks that the baking sheets are on, to insure even baking.
  8. Cool on baking sheet for 5-10 min., then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling…if you can wait that long.  🙂