Every year I cross my fingers and hope there are local strawberries for my birthday, which usually falls on Memorial Day weekend. So when the strawberries showed up at the Greenmarket right on time this year, I wanted to make something super special. I turned to a recipe that I have had dog-eared for over a year - Amy Chaplin's Strawberry Vanilla Custard Tart from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen.
I haven't made a ton of creamy vegan tarts like this one, and it was a super fun little project that made good use of the first gorgeous local berries. The oat, barley, and spelt crust comes together quickly in a food processor and is patted in the pan, then while the crust cools, the filling is briefly cooked on the stovetop before being chilled and topped with a big 'ol pile of fresh strawberries - it's a perfect Springy treat. In the photo from the book, Amy's tart is covered with the tiniest tristar strawberries. Tristars are my absolute favorite too, but they don't show up at the market until later in the summer here in NY. This doesn't really need to be said, but use the tastiest, cutest berries you can find here.
EVENT ALERT! I'll be at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday, June 18th with the folks from Food Book Fair, signing copies of Sweeter off the Vine and handing out treat samples. Come say hi!
Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Custard Tart
from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin
makes one 8 or 9-inch tart
This tart was originally made with a glaze that the strawberries are tossed in before arranging them on the tart, but I skipped it in favor of sliced strawberries tossed with the tiniest bit of honey. Also, Amy suggests using a high speed blender to mix the filling, but I used my food processor which worked fine. I just made sure to soak the nuts the full 6 hours and gave them a good long mix to ensure the mixture was as smooth as possible. I also used honey from my friends at Old Blue Raw Honey instead of the maple and brown rice syrups the recipe originally called for, which I know isn't strictly vegan so choose your own adventure there.
3/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons barley flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup spelt flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup (I used honey)
3/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked 2-6 hours in 2 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (I used 3 tablespoons honey)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I used 2 tablespoons honey)
2 teaspoons agar flakes
pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
2 pints strawberries, washed, sliced, and lightly sweetened
Make the Crust
Preheat oven to 350ºF and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the sides.
Add the oats, barley flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a food processor; blend until the oats are ground. Mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Pulse in the spelt flour and salt, then with the processor running, drizzle in the coconut oil mixture and mix until the flour is moistened.
Press the crust onto the bottom and sides of the prepared pan, about 1 1/4-inches up the sides.
Bake the crust for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside while you make the filling.
Make the Filling
Drain macadamias and place in a blender along with the 2 cups water. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes.
Add the macadamia milk to a medium saucepan along with the vanilla bean seeds, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agar, and salt. Whisk until the mixture comes to a simmer. Then loosely cover and simmer for 15 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or so.
In a small bowl combine the arrowroot with 2 teaspoons of water then whisk it into the simmering custard. Remove the mixture from the heat then let it cool for 10 minutes. Whisk to smooth, then pour into the prepared crust. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes on the counter (until it stops steaming), then chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Just before serving unmold the tart then top it with a pile of lightly sweetened, sliced strawberries. Enjoy immediately.