Saturday, October 16, 2010

Carmelized Autumn Nut and Date Tart

The beautiful leaves have all fallen off the now, all I see when I look out the window is bare sticks, not the prettiest part of Autumn, and I am sad that the beautiful fall colors are past peak.  But just because the trees are now ugly, doesn't mean that all the rest of fall needs to be, and so I decided that a beautiful dessert fit for Autumn needed to be made...specifically, a nut tart! 

I thought I could use different colors of nuts that remind me of this time of year, pecans, walnuts and pepitas, as well as some gooey dates!  I have made many nut tarts, but this one was going to be a new recipe, an experiment.  They usually contain lots of butter and cream, but I was curious to see if it was possible to create a vegan version that was just as heavenly.  So for my crust this time I relied on coconut oil to give it a rich texture instead of the butter and coconut milk in place of the cream in the filling.  Would it turn out?  I was very nervous when I pulled it out of the oven, because it didn't seem to set up quite the same.  But a stay in the fridge overnight after it had cooled was just what it needed to completely firm up.  It was delicious!  Gooey dates and crunchy nuts in a bourbon laced caramel...yummy!  You could not tell that the crust had no butter or the tart did not contain cream.  This one actually ended up being better than the original! 

Vegan Carmelized Autumn Nut and Date Tart
makes one 10 inch tart
1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup coconut milk

1 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
2 Tbsp bourbon
1 1/2 cups very soft dates (such as medjool) pitted and quartered
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup toasted pepitas

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in coconut oil with pastry blender or hands until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add coconut milk, and mix together with hands until dough comes together, adding a little more if necessary to form a cohesive dough ball. Lightly flour a surface, and roll dough out to fit a 10 1/2 inch tart pan with removable bottom (chill a little while in the fridge if dough is too soft to work with). Press dough into pan, and place in the freezer. Freeze 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, place coconut milk, maple sugar, agave nectar and heat on medium high until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Let boil 4 minutes, while stirring, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla, bourbon, pecans, walnuts, and pepitas. Scatter dates evenly over the crust, then pour caramel and nuts into crust, and bake on the middle rack of the oven on a sheet pan lined with foil (to catch any spillage) about 40-45 minutes until browned and bubbling (check the tart after 20 minutes, and if it is getting too dark, cover it loosely with foil until finished baking) . Cool on rack completely, then refrigerate overnight before serving.


  1. Wow, this looks wonderful and fantastic! DO you know about Finding Vegan? You should post your pictures that lead to your recipes and website. You have great recipes!

  2. This sounds like such a lovely recipe! I can only imagine how great the crust must taste with that hint of coconut flavor. Wow! This has to be one of the most innovative and beautiful fall desserts I've seen this season. And thank you for your kind words on my blog...they mean a lot to me during this trying time.

  3. Looks so healthy and delicious! Buzzed, and saved to my recipe box! :)

  4. Wow...this is a beautiful dish Amy. I think this would be wonderful for Thanksgiving instead of the usual pecan pie. Beautiful photos as well.

  5. Great looking tart! Love how gooey it is :o) Certainly another wonderful fall recipe!

  6. this seems to be a wonderful recipe. can jaggery be a sensible substitute for agave nectar?

  7. I have never used Jaggery before, so I am not sure...but any liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup would work.