One of the most stressful things as a vegan is, not about getting enough protein, not about missing chocolate… it is the limited amount of ‘tasty options’ at a cafe or when you are looking for a recipe online.
This dilemma isn’t only faced by vegans but those with allergies, such as gluten, nuts, soy etc. Many years ago (before I was vegan), I went on a elimination diet cutting out gluten, dairy, soy and nuts, in attempt to remedy my chronic eczema. Well, the diet relieved some of my eczema, but it was soo incredibly stressful because I didn’t feel that I could nourish my body with adequate food, let alone food that tasted good!
Now, when I make food for my blog and cake business, I have a soft spot for people with food allergies, insensitivities and dislikes. People are people and everyone should be able to enjoy nourishing and delicious food.
This strawberry and lemon tart is vegan, gluten-free and happens to be nut-free. It reminds me of those tarts you get at a patisserie with a custard filling, fruity topping and sweet glaze. I haven’t had one of them for at least a decade! Instead of using nuts in the base, I used equally crunchy and delicious seeds such as pepitas and sunflower seeds. For the filling, I used agar agar to set the mixture. Lots of raw and non-bake desserts use cashews or coconut oil as a setting agent, but I find these heavy. The agar agar transforms the coconut filling into a light mousse! And the topping is just divine, especially if you get fresh in-season strawberries.
I made these tarts while on holidays at my partner’s parents’ house and they were devoured so quickly. I’m definitely going to try to make these for my cake business in the future. Lucky you, here’s the recipe :).
- 2 ½ cups mixture of dried coconut, seeds etc (I used pepitas, sunflower seeds and rolled flaxseeds)
- 1 ¼ cup dates, soaked in water for 2 hours
- 1 ½ cup strawberries
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ tsp agar agar powder
- 1 tsp rice malt syrup or any liquid sweetener
- 400 mL canned coconut cream
- 2 tsp agar agar powder
- Liquid sweetener to taste e.g. maple syrup, rice malt syrup, coconut nectar
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- For the base, drain the dates and add all ingredients to a food processor until combined.
- Press mixture into 4 lined tart tins and set aside in the fridge.
- Add ½ cup strawberries to a saucepan with ⅓ cup water. Mash the strawberries with a fork then boil water. When the water has turned bright red, drain it to separate the strawberries from the water. Mix the rice malt syrup into the strawberry water then set aside.
- Mix the chia seeds to the mashed strawberries then set aside to thicken.
- For the lemon filling, add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer ensuring the agar agar has dissolved.
- To assemble, spread the chia jam on the bottom of the tart cases. Gently pour lemon filling into tarts, leaving about 5mm at the top. Put aside in the fridge to set.
- Meanwhile, add the agar agar powder to the strawberry water, bring to a gentle simmer then remove from heat Thinly slice the remaining strawberries.
- When the lemon coconut filling is dry to the touch, arrange fresh strawberries on top as desired. Gently pour strawberry jelly to fill tart cases and put aside in the fridge to set.
- Wait for about 5 minutes for the strawberry jelly to set. Remove tarts from their tins and enjoy!