The impetus for this early autumn tart originated from a desire to shock and ossify my dormmates with an absolutely decadent dessert free of animal secretions, gluten, refined sugar, or refined flour. Seeing as my eight closest fellow Vassarians have not yet experienced the extent of my culinary prowress, only sampling clusters of fruit-sweetened granola and watching my nightly performances at the Deece’s create-your-own-stir-fry station, I felt rather obliged to conjure up an impressive vegan confection for them in belated celebration of my eighteenth birthday. Yes, I made my own birthday cake; but frankly, considering my deep love of cooking and baking, not to mention my strict requirements pertaining to the sweets in which I partake, I wouldn’t fancy it fair to either myself or my dormmates to delegate the task of birthday-cake-creating to anyone else.
Inspired threefold by the dairy-free mascarpone in Ricki’s Rustic Glazed Peach and Mascarpone Tart with Oatcake Crust, the use of cardamom to complement peachy flavors in Ashlae’s Raw Nectarine and Cardamom Cream Tart, and the gooey succulence of Gena’s roasted peaches, I decided to implement the impeccably ripe peaches and pears, sent as a birthday gift from my parents courtesy of the good people at Fruit Share, in a semi-raw, creamy, fruity tart, studded with a hint of chocolate to satisfy the vociferous requests of my cocoa-crazy dormmates. And satisfy it did, for many of them declared their newfound appreciation for and realization of veganism’s bounty of tantalizing treats, eager to partake in one or two more slices of tart after discovering the healthfulness of raw vegan desserts; “I don’t even have to feel guilty about eating three servings!” they exclaimed.
This tart also required a touch of added flexibility and creativity on my part seeing as it could not include four staples of raw, vegan desserts: bananas, avocados, almonds, or hazelnuts. One of my lovely dormmates either asphyxiates or breaks out in hives upon consuming any member of the aformentioned ingredient quartet, so I directed my gastronomic love especially toward him while creating this recipe. This consideration accounts for my use of coconut milk rather than homemade almond milk in the mascarpone, as well as walnuts rather than almonds in the crust.
For a completely raw tart, substitute raw almond milk for the coconut milk and skip roasting the fruit, instead layering thin slices of raw peach and pear on top.
Caramelized Peach and Pear Cardamom Cream Tart with Chocolate Crust (Almost Raw, Soy Free, Low Sodium)
Makes one 9″ tart.
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
10 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup cacao, cocoa, or carob powder
1 15-oz can coconut milk
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 tsp cardamom
4 dates, pitted and chopped
2 peaches, sliced
2 pears, sliced
3 tbsp date or coconut sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sliced peaches and pears, date or coconut sugar, and coconut oil. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit becomes meltingly tender. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the tart.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the walnuts, 10 dates, and cocoa powder until well combined and sticky. Pour into a 9″ cake or pie tin and firmly press down the mixture to form a crust. Place in the freezer while you prepare the mascarpone.
In a high-speed blender, puree the coconut milk, cashews, vanilla bean, cardamom, and 4 dates until smooth. Pour into the chocolate crust and place back in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
Remove the tart from the freezer at least 10 minutes before serving. Immediately before serving, layer on the caramelized peaches and pears. Slice and serve.
Until next time, Ali.