Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Mini Cashew Cream Fruit Tart
I have been really, really into all sorts of fresh fruit tarts lately. Also, I am hooked on using cashews as a base for any sweet and creamy filling for desserts. It is creamy, and the cashews have a really nice, natural sweetness to them. And it thickens up like mad! I was pretty surprised the first time I tried this.
I have been making full size tarts, but I thought it would be cute so have little personal tarts, because 1.) they are cute and 2.) I am obsessed with "personal" sized servings of food. I don't know why, but I am. So here is my offering in hopes that these summery little tarts will help ward off the rain here in the Pacific Northwest. I guess I just want my fruit tarts and my summer to go along with them.
The recipe makes 10 mini fruit tarts. I had some cashew cream left over, but it is delish tart-less, simply topped with some fresh fruit.
What you will need:
1 1/3 c. flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. Earth Balance (or your fav butter substitute)
1 1/2 tbsp ice water
1 1/2 c. raw cashews (pre-soaked for 3 - 4 hours)
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. Earth Balance, melted
2/3 c. water
mixed berries, your choice for topping
Start by soaking your cashews in advance, for at least 3 - 4 hours.
Next up, make your tart crust. Add your flour, sugar and salt into a food processor. Pulse once or twice to mix. Add your 1/2 of the Earth Balance, either cutting into small cubes if using a stick of butter sub. or by spooning by the tbsp. Pulse 4 - 5 times to mix. Add the other half of the Earth Balance in the same fashion, and pulse a few more times. Add your ice water. Your dough will almost seem crumbly at first, but go ahead and pulse several more times. Your dough should slowly come together. If a few more pulses don't do the trick, add 1/2 tbsp ice water more to your dough and repeat. The trick to a fab tart crust is to go through this whole process using the least amount of water and the least amount of blending. Once your dough has come together, knead a few times on a lightly floured surface. Form into a disc, and refrigerate for one hour.
After one hour, take out your dough and roll out to appropriate sizes. I used a muffin pan for my mini tart shells, so I rolled out the dough and cut out circles to fit into each muffin compartment. I used a glass with a 5" diameter to cut out each mini tart shell, then rolled each circle out until it was about 1/8" in thickness. Place rolled out dough into each muffin section, gently press dough to fit. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Then preheat oven to 375, make a few pricks with a fork into each tart shell and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until shells are lightly golden brown.
While the tart shells are cooling down, go ahead and start on your cashew cream filling. I don't have one of those fancy Vita-Mix blenders, just a regular old blender and it works fine for this. I am sure my blending time is a lot longer than with the awesome Vita-Mix, but hey, whatever works, right? Ok, onto the filling. Add half of your cashews and all of your sugar, vanilla, melted Earth Balance and water into blender. I usually start on a lower setting and work my way up to the highest blender setting. Once I have this blended to a fairly smooth consistency, add the rest of your soaked cashews one handful at a time. This will help in not overwhelming your blender if you just have a little one like I do. There should be no cashew chunks visible, just a smooth mixture that almost resembles pudding or a custard. (I have read about doing this in a food processor and have tried it, results where nowhere near as good as with my crappy little blender.)
Spoon filling into each tart shell and place in freezer for 30 - 40 minutes, or until firm. Slice up fruit and top each tart with a generous helping. For additional, gluttonous yummyness...top each little mini tart with some soy whip cream.