The EASIEST, QUICKEST, MOST FORGIVING French Pastry Crust with Creamy Egg-Free Custard. Thick, Nutty & Sweet. Better than store-brought Fruit Tart. 134 Calories.
Alongside roads, tall lilac trees and the green buds of spring are seen to appear ever so gradually, dotting the pavements with specks of white, green and even pink to welcome in the warmer weather. As spring settles in comfortably, I’ve begun to anticipate the arrival of my summer break. The thrill of the beautiful colorful season sweeping the continents seemed to be a welcoming door to both adventures and beauty. I look to admire the gorgeous pictures of cherry blossoms my dear parents have sent me from their travels in Japan – and I feel a sense of excitement rush through me as I look forward to my upcoming travels to Ohio and London in the next few months.
One of those new adventures includes a rather exciting experiment in our kitchen. A few weeks back, one of our friends made these gorgeous French chocolate macarons filled with chocolate ganache and peanut butter that left all of us “oohing and ahhhing”. These well loved mini morsels of light, airy sandwiches can be found in a wide variety of flavors: pistachios to chocolate to lemon to lavender. The technique and expertise required to create these makes them a rather exquisite and costly treat. Not surprisingly, macaroons are one of the popular French treats globally. Inspired by my friend’s courage and accomplishment, Zoe and I wanted to recreate another French classic that is equally well-loved: “French Patisserie Fruit tart”. Unlike macaroons, French Cream Tarts are not naturally allergy free, but with the tempting gorgeous berries in season we decided to take on the challenge to create one that tastes just as amazing as it is healthy.
French patisserie tarts traditionally have a thin pastry filled with a creamy custard made with eggs and butter. However, our version includes a thicker nutty tart shell, filled with a vegan creamy custard.
I’m not sure about the rest of you but my favorite part of any tart would have to be the buttery, crumbly sugary crust encasing the cooked fruit. Honestly when comes to eating pie or tarts, I could probably eat a whole lot less fruit and a whole lot more crust. It feel like I lose out when I’m served a piece of pie with barely any crust on it. So to satisfy all you crust/cookie lovers out there, this recipe (we promise) will yield a thick, nutty sweet cookie dough accompanied by the most delicious homemade creamy custard (Eggless). The glazed fruit on top lightens the richness of the whole affair with its tangy sourness and freshness. I would say this is the perfect one-bite delight.
We presented these fruit tarts at a dinner to a group of friends who so graciously endeavoured to remake some of our other delicious recipes from the blog: Beetroot Hummus and Asian Lettuce Wraps. Not surprisingly, when they first arrived at the table, there was a fluid chaos of snapping and instagraming pictures of the beautiful pastries.
I love how these fruit tarts resemble the ones I had seen in many cafes and pastry stores. Best yet, they tasted so authentic too! I couldn’t stop my eyes from widening when I took my first bite of these. I have to say, this might just be one of our most successful creations yet! I couldn’t keep my excitement down when I was about to take the last few remaining ones home before one of my friends stopped me in my tracks, her face looking very disappointed.
“Are you really taking the rest of home?? I was hoping to save the rest for breakfast tomorrow.”
I smiled. It was that good.
As the unfolding season draws in change, I hope these dainty tarts are a reminder that taking up a new challenge or making a change is not always a bad thing. Stepping onto a new path, taking a de tour, choosing to stop just for awhile – may just be the wisest choice at this moment. Like for those of you who have never had a paleo, vegan, gluten free French pastry fruit tart – you might just be in for a wonderful surprise. Trying something different may often result in something rather delectable and rather unexpectedly delicious. With every door that is shut, a new door is opened.
Looking at the vibrant, deep reds, blues and blacks of the berries that so gracefully settled on top of the thick custard, I see marks of spring as mother nature hails in spring – the season of warmth and change.
- Vegan Crust
- 2 cups almond flour (or nut flour of choice)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 5 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp honey (or agave, maple syrup)
- Splash of water (optional)
- Vegan Custard
- ¼ cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp honey (or agave, maple syrup)
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- Topping: Strawberries, Blackberries (fruit of choice)
- Liquid sweetener for glaze (optional)
- Crust: Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt and baking soda.
- Add in honey and oil. Using your hands, knead to form into a ball of dough (add a little water if it is a little dry).
- Oil a muffin tray. Line each tin with 2 thin strips of parchment paper in a criss-cross fashion (so it is easier to lift out the tarts).
- Divide your dough into 12 and form your tart shell base.
- Bake for 5 minutes. The tarts will have puffed up, use your finger to pat down the sides and middle to your desired shape while it is hot.
- Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before refrigerating for another 15-20 minutes till cold.
- Filling: Whilst the tarts are baking, mix together all the ingredients for the custard in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave high for 30 seconds. Remove and whisk. Repeat 2 more times. Allow it to cool and thicken.
- Using the strips of parchment paper, lift out the tart shells gently.
- If any bits got stuck to the pan, take it and repatch the bottom (it will stick back easily).
- Divide the cooled filling into each tart shell.
- Top with sliced fruit of choice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Also If want a shiny sheen on your fruit, mix together hot water and honey. Drizzle some on the fruit!*
(This post is featured on Healthy Vegan Fridays, Weekend Potluck, fanDay Friday, Food Friday, Fresh Market Friday, Foodie Friday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Menu Plan Monday, Twinkly Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul)