Sunday, September 4, 2011

Banana and Coconut Cashew - Cream Tart


This is my first attempt at a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan recipe.
Are you scared yet?
I will be honest and admit that I was unsure about this recipe. I am of the school of thought that if it isn't loaded with sugar and flour and chocolate and all that other fantastic stuff then it won't taste good.
I know, I know....welcome to the new century, right?
Okay, this was really tasty. Definitely a completely different flavor then what I am used to, but not in a bad way. It was quite easy to make - just a little messy. You have to use a food processor and a blender. So, if you don't mind hauling out the kitchen equipment then this recipe is for you. Even better, it's a NO bake. That means in the middle of a heat wave you do not have to crank up the oven.

This was another of the recipes out of Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts cookbook that Sue bought for me. I think the only thing I changed from Martha's original recipe was to toast some of the coconut to sprinkle on top. Oh, yes, and I used my 10 inch tart pan instead of the 9 inch she recommends. I think next time I will use the 9 inch as the crust ended up being very thin.
Our dad loves coconut and banana so I tried this one for him.

Banana and Coconut Cashew - Cream Tart

Ingredients
Crust
1 1/2 cups whole raw pecans
pinch of coarse salt
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
3 tsps pure maple syrup

Filling
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and thoroughly drained
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp pure maple syrup (plus more to taste)
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped (reserve pod for another use)
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
3 - 5 ripe, firm bananas

Directions
Make the crust: in a food processor, pulse pecans and salt until coarsely chopped. Add dates, pulse until thoroughly combined. Add syrup, pulse until combined and mixture sticks together. Press nuts firmly and evenly into a 9 inch tart pan.
Make the filling: grind drained cashews to a coarse paste in blender. Add water, syrup, and vanilla seeds. Blend until smooth, about 5 minutes, scraping sides as needed. Mixture should reach the consistency of thick pancake batter. 
Blend in 1/2 cup of the coconut and process to combine. Pour into shell and spread evenly.
Toast remaining 1/4 cup of coconut until lightly brown using frying pan over medium high heat. This will only take a couple of minutes.

Layering the bananas over the cashew cream, which I had drizzled with a little more maple syrup

Thinly slice bananas on the diagonal. Beginning on the outside edge, arrange slices in slightly overlapping rows, working towards center.
Sprinkle toasted coconut evenly over top of tart. Serve immediately.
(I covered it with plastic wrap and left in the fridge for a few hours and it still looked beautiful. The bananas did go a little brown but it did not ruin the look of the tart)


If you have ever contemplated making a vegan, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, etc..etc... recipe then maybe you should start with this one. It is still plenty sweet enough to fool those in your house who are wary of new things. You do have to like cashews though. The cashew cream is a fairly strong flavor. Just warning you :)

One more photo to share - it is such a pretty tart!


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