Monday, April 1, 2013

Strawberries & Cream Tart

I hope everyone had a great Easter! Mine was good, and loud. When you have young nieces and nephews, it's going to be a very noisy day. But hey, they are all the cutest kids ever, so they're lucky their cuteness overrides their noisiness ;) You are probably thinking, well of course you think they're cute, you're their aunt. Okay, probably, but in all seriousness. They are ALL extremely cute. Even my nieces who are growing up way to fast, their cuteness is growing into beautiful young ladies. Yes, I'm a very PROUD aunt! 

With all the cuteness and bragging aside. I decided for Easter that I was going to take a very big risk and make something that I have been avoiding for awhile. Avoiding?! Oh yes my friends, I do love baking and coming up with new recipes. But I have avoided cheesecake or any kind of cream tart, just because how in the world do you make that dairy free?! Well I finally answered my own question. I have found that there are ways to make a dairy free cheesecake using a brand called Tofutti, it's a dairy free cream cheese. But I'm going to be 100% honest. That stuff is gross. I don't know if I got the wrong kind or what. But I hated it, and it ended up being thrown away because I just couldn't get over the taste. Wasn't like cream cheese at all. So after that, there was no way I would make a whole cheesecake out of that stuff! After researching, I found many recipes called Raw Cheesecakes. Interesting. So it was time to start experimenting. 

I went back and forth with this recipe. Whether it was a cheesecake or a tart. But to me, I got more of a tart vibe. So that's what I decided to call it. I had the most amazing help while making this. My lovely fiancĂ©. Something I realized while we were making this together. We work REALLY well in the kitchen together. That says a lot because I do not like being bothered while I'm baking. But I think it's because I always want his input on things and I know if he likes something, then it's good. Not to mention, he is an amazing cook himself. Geesh, I'm pretty darn lucky! 

This recipe scared me, so I was so thankful to have his help. It scared me because it was something I've never made before and didn't know how it would turn out....also it had to be frozen overnight, so that only added to my anxiety! 

(See that whipped cream? Yeah, it's dairy free too!) 

Before I get the recipe, I'm going to tell you what makes this recipe, the "cream tart" part. Would you believe me if I told you it was cashews?! If you didn't think I was crazy before, you probably do now. That's okay. I don't care. I thought it was weird at first, but while making this, it totally makes sense. I'll admit, while making this, the texture while mixing it up kind of, really turned me off from it. BUT after it set, it was okay. Otherwise I wouldn't be sharing this...
When it was time for dessert on Easter, I didn't tell my family what made this tart. I just told them the name and left it at that. Why? Well that's because (most) of my family members think gluten and dairy free foods are weird. And this time, I wanted to prove to them, that they are not "weird" and can seem completely normal. Did I fool them? I'm not sure. They wouldn't fess up to something like that,  But they all said it was really good. That's all the proof I needed. 

It is April Fools Day...but I'm not fooling anyone here with this recipe. It's gluten, dairy, and sugar free. It's a decadent dessert that doesn't contain any bad ingredients. I tried it, it worked, and turned out fantastic!  

Strawberries & Cream Tart

1 Whole box of gluten free graham crackers
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup 

2 Cups Raw Cashews, Soaked in water for 5 hours, or overnight
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Honey
2 Cups Fresh Strawberries 
1/2 Cup Lime Juice

For the crust
Crush up graham crackers, using a food processor, or just a rolling pin and freezer bag. After your graham crackers are finely crushed, mix in syrup. And press into the bottom of your pan. You can use either a spring-form pan (works best) Or a pie pan, just make sure you put parchment paper down first. 

For the filling: 
Melt the coconut oil and honey together in the microwave. 
Place cashews in a food processor and blend until they are finely chopped. Add in the filling ingredients, and blend until a smooth consistency has formed. This may take a few minutes. So be patient. Add in about half of the mixture to the pan. More or less is up to you.
Add the strawberries to the remaining filling, and blend up until strawberries are mixed in. Add the rest to make the top layer. 
Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer about 45 minutes before serving. 

Whipped Cream
1 Can Coconut Milk 
6 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Refrigerate coconut milk overnight
Spoon the harden coconut milk from the top of the can into a mixing bowl. Do not add the water that is in the bottom of the can! 
Mix until light and fluffy. Add in maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix until blended well. 
This can be stored in the fridge.