A summery, easy-to-make vegan red berry tartlet

A coconut-based dessert, ideal for the vegan guest at your next dinner party

Vegan raspberry tartlets

Vegan raspberry tartlets

 

The past decade has brought a meteoric rise in the popularity of vegan diets, and now vegan desserts are gaining in popularity. Most bakeries and coffee shops offer vegan desserts, from decadent chocolate biscuits to elegant pastries (watch out: many have a high fat content).

The good thing about many vegan desserts is that, contrary to popular belief, they are quite easy to make. Here is a very good recipe to start with. These soft fruit tartlets are made with an easy-to-find list of natural, plant-based ingredients, and are quick to assemble.

What I love about them is the taste of the nutty shell. James De Burca, former head chef at Cornucopia restaurant and now a regular guest chef at Cooks Academy, taught me how to make this super vegan tart crumb. I also like how easily the tartlets pop out of the individual tins, retaining their pretty fluted shapes.

The dates bind the nuts, providing a firm consistency for the sticky sweet bases. Combining coconut cream with frozen mixed berries gives a nice setting quality to the fruity filling. Agave syrup adds a delightful sweetness, but it can be very expensive, so another sugar substitute that is also vegan friendly is stevia (maple syrup can also be used if you have some in your store cupboard).

Guaranteed to be a talking point, everyone will want to taste these bright pink tartlets, so you may as well make four.

The nutty base can also be used for other non-vegan desserts (James De Burca’s original recipe featured a delicious raw double-chocolate torte filling). These tartlets are just the ticket when you can’t think of what to provide for the vegan guest at your next dinner party. They are gluten-free too.

To make a single 20cm tart, double the quantities. A more mousse-like setting consistency is important, as the filling will be deeper. For this, I would recommend soaking 200g raw unsalted cashew nuts (pre-soaked in water for four to five hours then drained and rinsed), then adding the pre-soaked cashews into the food processor along with all the other filling ingredients.

VEGAN BERRY TARTLETS

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the tartlet bases:
200g pecan nuts
100g pitted dates
1 tbsp cocoa powder (vegan)
Pinch of sea salt

For the berry filling:
300g frozen mixed berries, defrosted
50g coconut cream
1 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp agave syrup (or 1 tsp stevia)

To garnish:
fresh raspberries, mint leaves
freeze-dried raspberries (optional, if available)

Method
1
Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz to a crumb consistency.

2 Using a sharp knife, roughly chop the dates . Add the chopped dates, cocoa powder and salt to the food processor and blitz the ingredients until everything is combined to a breadcrumb consistency.

3 Divide the nut crumb mixture between four mini tartlet tins (there is no need to grease the tins). Use your fingers to press the nut crumb tightly into the bases and sides of each tartlet tin. Set aside in the refrigerator to allow the crumb to harden.

4 Wash out the food processor before starting to make the filling. Place the defrosted berries in the food processor. Add the coconut cream, coconut oil and two tablespoons of agave syrup. Blitz the mixture well. Place a sieve over a bowl and sieve the berry mixture to get a completely smooth purée consistency (discard the seeds).

5 Adjust the sweetness of the berry mixture to suit your taste by adding a little more agave syrup, if you wish.

6 Divide the mixture between the four tartlet shells. Refrigerate for four hours to allow the filling to set.

7 Just before serving, remove the tartlets from the fridge. Decorate with fresh raspberries and mint (and freeze-dried raspberry powder, if you have it). 

Variation In place of pecan nuts, you can substitute toasted hazelnuts or cashew nuts.

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