I don’t eat delicious, lovingly prepared homemade meals every night. Sometimes I end up getting takeaway from Whole Foods – bad sushi is a very guilty pleasure of mine (seriously – did you know that the Unification Church is by far the largest distributor of non-premium sushi grade fish in the US?). I complemented one of my recent, mass-marriage tainted Whole Foods meals with a raw vegan gluten-free vanilla coconut creme tart for dessert because… why not? Everything once, right? To my surprise, it was quite tasty and satisfying in the way that cookie dough from the tube is. The only thing that kept me from going back to buy more was the ridiculously high $5 price tag, which I had failed to notice on my first trip to the cash register.
Reading over the list of ingredients, I realized that I already had many of them at home. And since it was raw, I knew it couldn’t possibly take much wizardry to put the thing together. So I made it my quest to recreate the scrumptious little health nut tarts on my own. As I discovered, it was pretty easy. All I had to do was mix a bunch of stuff together, put it in a pie dish, chill, and voila! I was laughing in the face of Whole Foods (never mind that I bought most of the ingredients there in the first place).
Here’s the recipe, in case you feel like half-assedly sticking it to John Mackey, like I did (still working on a way to rid myself of the ghost of Sun Myung Moon). This is probably the only time I will ever vouch for something that’s raw, vegan, and gluten-free. I swear though that it’s actually quite lovely and packed with enough fat to make up for the lack of butter, cream, and other goodies. I made it less sweet to suit my own tastes – feel free to go crazy with the maple syrup if you are so inclined. Just try not too think to hard about the fact that you’re basically consuming coconut oil straight from the jar.
Mmmm, coconut oil.
For the tart crust:
2 tablespoons (about 1.35 oz) palm sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 cups almond meal
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz.) raw cashews, soaked in a mixture of 1 tsp. sea salt with enough water to cover for 2 hours
5 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
2 tablespoons 100% coconut water (no sugar or flavoring added)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1. Thoroughly mix together all the pie crust ingredients. You should have a clay-like mixture that holds its shape. Put it in the refrigerator and let chill for at least an hour.
2. Take out the dough and press it into a 9 inch pie dish or tart pan, making a crust that is roughly 1/8 inch thick (rolling it out first will not work – I tried this). Put it back in the fridge while you make the filling.
3. Make the filling. Put your soaked cashews in a food processor and let it chop them until you have very small pieces. Then add all of the remaining filling ingredients except the shredded coconut and process until you have a very sticky, smooth paste. Spoon the filling into the crust, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top, pressing it in gently with your hands. Put the tart in the fridge and let it cool for a few hours before serving.**
*I used a good quality real vanilla extract since it’s what I had on hand. I’m not sure that vanilla extract is a raw food – according to Wikipedia it’s made by steeping vanilla beans in alcohol, without specifying at what temperature. It also may or may not be gluten free, depending on the brand you are using. If you’re a real stickler, you can always use fresh vanilla bean. Just don’t use imitation vanilla. It should also go without saying that you’ll need real maple syrup, NOT Mrs. Butterworth’s.
**Don’t let this leave the fridge except for right when you’re ready to serve it. Even briefly leaving it at room temperature will turn it to sludge. After just a few minutes of trying to photograph this slice, the crust started to fall apart and the filling got kind of sweaty. I don’t think it was just the east coast June weather.