Welcome to the greatest time of year! Now that the semester is over, I’ve been binge-watching Christmas movies, playing Christmas music, and testing Christmas recipes.
I’m especially thrilled about this vegan cranberry tart. When your recipe tester says he wants to live in the vanilla batter you just made, you know you have a winning recipe! I feel like that’s especially high praise in December when we’re already buried in delicious treats for as far as our eyes can see.
I’d originally planned and tested a white chocolate filling, but I regretted the addition almost immediately. The vanilla-cashew base tasted so much like a crème anglaise that it was a shame to overpower that flavor with cocoa butter. Both my mom and Ryan thought so too. The only downside is that the filling is so incredibly creamy, buttery and vanillic that it’s nearly impossible not to just eat it like a pudding. If you can pour the whole thing into your tart pan without saving a bowl of it, I applaud you.
The spelt-pecan crust would make a good biscuit, too. The crumbly texture and nutty flavor make an excellent base for sweet vanilla and tart cranberries. I admit, I kept a bit in the food processor for snacking on while I put the rest of the tart together. All in all, it’s a miracle I can put a whole dessert on the table.
This vanilla-cashew filling takes only minutes to put together; just blend up all the ingredients, bring them to a boil, and return to the blender. I recommend the last blending to make sure there aren’t any lumps in your batter.
I ended up adding the boiling step after removing the cocoa butter from the recipe. Adding in agar flakes helps thicken up the filling so it doesn’t soften as you serve it, and doesn’t have to be frozen to keep its shape.
I think freezing it might be an option, but I really like the creamy pudding-like filling. And I really wanted that sauce! Not only is the color gorgeous and the bright, sweet flavor perfect for the holidays, but my family and I have been trying to get cranberry tart on the Christmas table for a while now. Last year my dad surprised us with a pistachio cranberry pie, and there were three cranberries on it. Three. Not so with this baby!
Having made this a few times though, I think it would be delicious with fresh strawberries or mixed fruit on top.
I’m pretty excited to serve this for the holidays. I don’t know about you guys, but I haven’t started planning squat for the actual dinner. Dessert though? Yep, prepared! We’ll have this and a maple walnut bundt cake that Ryan makes (that’s amazing dipped in espresso). Actually, after recipe testing this so many times, we might just have the bundt cake!
I will probably end up serving dessert with white hot chocolate or espresso before we move on to opening presents. I’m so excited to watch everyone open theirs 🙂
- 1 cup spelt flour
- ⅔ cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ cup cashews, soaked 2 hours, rinsed and drained
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cashew milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 2½ teaspoons agar flakes
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla powder)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- juice from 1 orange
- zest from 1 orange
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Begin my making the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor, process pecans and spelt flour until pecans have broken down into a flour and no pieces remain. Add salt, cinnamon, maple syrup and melted coconut oil. Process until everything clumps together, then press into a tart pan with removable bottom. Poke the bottom several times with a fork and bake for 12 minutes or until golden. When ready, pull out of oven and set aside.
- While crust is baking, put together the filling. Combine drained cashews, cashew milk, sugar, agar flakes, vanilla bean and coconut oil in a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth.
- Transfer filling to a pot and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Because the blend is so thick, you won't see bubbles coming up, but mixture will be piping hot. Remove from pot, place back in blender and blend until completely smooth again. Pour mixture into crust and smooth. Allow to cool a bit before placing in the fridge to firm up.
- Meanwhile, make the cranberry topping. Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until cranberries have popped and mixture is thick. Allow to cool 30 minutes before spreading on top of vanilla layer.
- Place tart back in fridge and allow to chill at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.