Monday, March 7, 2011

Cherry Creme Tart with Sugar Crust

Yesterday was my birthday, and I am attempting not to feel too old by reminding myself I am still in my 20's. In celebration I did what I do best: spent all day cooking, invited some friends over, ate way too much food, and drank just a little too much Yamayuzu Shibori sake.

I made all sorts of yummy treats: two types of cashew "cheese," sweet potato and kale enchiladas, bean enchiladas, toast points, and a cherry creme tart with pears. Friends brought cupcakes, artichoke dip, fruit and a soysage chard medley that was delish. It all made for a great birthday. I'll post all the recipes, but wanted to start off with the dish that ended the night, the creme tart. I passed on the traditional cake and veganized Julia Child's sugar crust recipe (oh, how she must be spinning in her grave) and modified the ppk's berry creme tart recipe. The result was a filling that was cream and smooth, not to sweet, and a crust that was like a rich buttery, flaky sugar cookie. 

Cherry Creme Tart

Crust (modified from Julia Child):

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
6 Tbs sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
5 Tbs cold earth balance buttery spread
2 Tbs cold earth balance shortening

1 Tbs ground flax seeds mixed with 3 Tbs water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

in a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, buttery spread and earth balance. cut the butter into the four using a pastry cutter or mix together with the tips of your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and resembles oatmeal. Sprinkle the extract and flax seed mixture and knead the dough into a ball. Wrap and place in the freezer for at least an hour until firm.

Grease a 9"-11" tart pan. Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. Line the pan with dough, Julia says to roll the dough, but good luck with that. I pat the dough into little circles and press them into the pan, and then make little logs and press them into the sides until the pan is all covered in sugar crust goodness. if the dough starts to get to warm and sticky, just throw it in the freezer for 5-6 minutes to chill. Poke holes all over the bottom of the crust using a fork, and bake for 12-18 minutes until slightly browned.

Filling (modified from Post Punk Kitchen):
1 cup cashews, soaked
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup soy milk
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs powdered agar agar
1 1/2 cups canned tart pitted cherries, drained
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 can of pear halves for garnish (optional)

Soak the cashews in water for at least an hour. Drain the cashews and throw into a blender with the coconut milk and blend until smooth (this can take upwards of 5 minutes, though it's faster with a VitaMix)

While the cashews are blending, mix the cornstarch and soymilk together until smooth. In a small heavy sauce pot, stir together the soy milk/ cornstarch mixture, the agar agar powder, the sugar, and the cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. turn heat to low and stir for about ten minutes, until it becomes thick and gel like. Turn off heat and continue to stir for about 5 minutes while it continues to thicken.

Pour the cherry mixture into the your blender with the coconut milk/ cashew mixture, add the lemon juice and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Pour into the tart crust and set in the fridge for 2-4 hours until set. Before serving, if you like, slice some canned or poached pears and lay them nicely on top.

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