Thursday, August 15, 2013
No Bake Almond Cream Tartlets (with vegan and gluten-free options)
I have tried to write this post so many times but can't seem to figure out what to say. Disappearing from this blog for five-ish months was not in any way intentional, and I hope I have not lost any of you along the way. Life sort of took over, and I decided to just let it. I took my final finals ever in April. I graduated law school mid-May then left town for a road trip from Atlanta to San Diego to help a friend move. When I got back, I immediately began studying for the bar exam. I started a new job mid-June. I went home to Texas mid-July and took the bar exam at the end of July. Then about a week and half ago, I moved from my condo to a house, and here we are.
I baked quite a bit throughout all the foregoing madness, played with new-to-me ingredients, had many a failure, and many sweet and satisfying successes. The more I think about it though, my absence here wasn't just a result of being busy in real life (and I hate when people complain/brag about being busy anyway). I also spent some time just thinking about my food, how I want this little internet space of mine to move forward, the conversation I want to contribute to, and generally how I want to live my food life, both savory and sweet. I have so much that I want to share, and my thoughts will come out in due course. For now though, I am back with tartlets.
These tartlets are, in some ways, representative of a shifted outlook on how and what I choose to eat and on appreciating and being aware of my food. Although I have always been pretty conscious in my food choices, I have not made a point to share much of that here nor have I, in the past, made a purposeful effort to incorporate those ideals into the sweet end of my eating. That is something I want to change. I have lately become pretty enamored with such things as coconut oil and muscovado sugar and maple syrup and almond flour and stone ground whole wheat and other such things. I'm not saying that a cake chockfull of white sugar or cookies chockfull of butter are completely a thing of the past, it's just that I want to share more of what I eat on a regular basis (and to be clear, I do eat sweets pretty regularly!). On that note, let's eat dessert.
Dale fell madly in love with these tartlets when I made them, and I don't blame him. The crust is so delightfully crumbly, and the filling has the perfect nuttiness and a subtle coconut flavor. And no oven required! A late summer delight, if I do say so myself.
No Bake Almond Cream Tartlets
makes 4-6 tartlets
*These tartlets can be made gluten-free by using/making gluten-free graham crackers. To make these vegan, you will need another can of refrigerated full fat coconut milk to use in place of the cream cheese. I personally liked these with the cream cheese, as it made the filling a touch thicker. To get the same effect and keep these vegan, you could use vegan cream cheese, which I have not tried myself.
16 whole wheat graham crackers*
2 Tbsp raw sugar or sucanat
1/2 cup virgin unrefined coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw sugar or sucanat
5 oz cream cheese or coconut milk fat*
1/2 cup natural almond butter
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (any grade will do)
bananas, cacoa nibs, berries, or any other topping your heart desires
Make the crust. Place the graham crackers in a food processor or blender and process/blend into crumbs. Add sugar and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl, add coconut oil, and stir until mixture is evenly moistened. Divide mixture evenly among tartlet pans and press into bottom and up sides. Freeze for at least two hours.
Make the filling. Place the sucanat or raw sugar in a food processor or blender and process/blend until fine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese or coconut milk fat (spoon the milk fat off the top of the can of coconut milk) and almond butter and beat on medium until smooth. Spoon the coconut milk fat off the top of the can of coconut milk into a small bowl. Add the maple syrup and beat by hand with a whisk until smooth and fluffy. Fold the whipped coconut milk fat into the almond mixture until just combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, spoon the filling into the tartlet shells, smooth the tops with an offset spatula, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Top with blueberries, bananas, cacoa nibs, and/or other toppings of choice.