In celebration of spring, I’ve been creating recipes using edible flowers and experimenting with desserts. This tart was inspired by a raw vegan dessert cookbook and the beauty of all the flowers in my garden. The orange tree in my garden bloomed a few weeks ago in a magnificent perfume of orange blossoms. It seemed so sudden, but the fragrance! I’d open the sliding door wide to the backyard and the beautiful smell filled the house.
My friend Christina Ross just published her first raw vegan dessert recipe book titled after her blog, Love Fed, called “Love Fed: Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts” and it’s been waiting for me among the stack of cookbooks piled on top of my dining table. I had taken one of her raw vegan dessert workshops, chocolate making, a year ago just before Valentine’s Day. I’ve tried a few of her recipes so far and this tart was inspired by one of the many delicious treats described in her book. I could not decide upon several of her tarts and pies, so I made my own using her recipes as a guide.
The mint in my garden box is growing so bountifully so I plucked some mint leaves along with a few sprigs of chocolate mint and citrus mint. I had some borage flowers from the farmers’ market and plucked a few jasmine flowers from my climbing vines outside. The tart itself is adapted from a few Christina’s raw recipes, however, I toasted coconut flakes and sliced almonds to make it a frangipane tart.
La Primavera Frangipane Tarte
FOR THE CRUST:
1 cup raw almonds
6 Medjool dates, halved, pitted
1 cup lightly toasted coconut flakes, unsweetened
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest
FOR THE FILLING:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked and rinsed
1/2 cup coconut cream
3 Medjool dates, halved and pitted
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup melted cocoa butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
3 tablespoons agar agar flakes
toasted almond slivers
toasted coconut flakes
Make the crust by adding all of the ingredients— almonds, dates, coconut flakes, vanilla and lemon zest— into a food processor and pulse until fine. Form the crust by pressing the dough into a 9″ springform tart pan by pressing it in with your hands into the crust to shape it. Set aside and make the filling.
Warm the coconut cream, coconut oil, cocoa butter, vanilla and cut vanilla bean pod in a small saucepan. Please be gentle with this process and keep the heat on low. Grate the cocoa butter chunk with a grater over the pan as the coconut oil, coconut cream, almond extract, vanilla and vanilla bean are heating. Add the agar agar flakes. This ingredient will make your pie solidify, similar to gelatin but purely a ‘sea vegetable’ ingredient. (Agar agar is a seaweed that gels like gelatin.) The coconut oil will also solidify once turned cool. Turn off heat once the coconut oil has fully melted. Allow to cool.
Add the agave nectar, cashews, dates, lemon juice and maple syrup into the filling mixture and pour all into a food processor. Blend all ingredients. Please taste your filling with a tasting spoon. This way you will know what to add if you’d like more lemony flavor, or perhaps some more vanilla or almond extract, or more sweetener. The cashews will also turn creamy while blending the filling.
Pour a little of the filling into your tart crust shell once cooled off to room temperature. It shouldn’t be warm, however, since this recipe is raw, the tart crust is delicate and needs time to firm before adding the filling. NOTE: You won’t use all of the the filling— just spoon in enough to coat the base of the tart, but not too much. You can save or use the extra filling as a custard. I filled ramekins with the remaining “custard” and poured maple syrup on top with fresh blueberries for a “pot de creme” a la raw vegan! Once the tart has been filled and has set awhile on the counter, sprinkle the coconut flakes and almond slices all over the top and place inside of your refrigerator. Allow the tart to solidify and firm up, about 4 hours to overnight.
When ready to serve, garnish the tart with the edible flowers and mint leaves.