My mom and dad throw a huge BBQ every year for the 4th of July. My mom is a wonderful cook and definitely has the gift of hospitality—I think they hosted more than 50 people this year! I knew that there wouldn’t be a huge amount of vegan offerings for the party, so I told my mom I would bring a main/side salad—Wheatberry Corn Salad—coming soon to a blog near you, Trader Joe’s tofu burgers for David and I, and a fruit tart.
The fruit tart was inspired by a tart I saw on This Rawsome Vegan Life. At Easter I made a Lime Coconut tart from The Sweet Life Online and ended up tweaking the crust because I didn’t have all of the ingredients. I loved my new creation and bookmarked it in my head for later use! The caramel was loosely based on TRVL, but again, I made substitutes based on what I had on hand. It was so delicious—I worked for a half hour to scrape every last bit out of my Vitamix! I topped it with fresh blueberries and strawberries to keep it festive for the 4th, but it would work well with all kinds of fruit. I plan on making it this fall with thinly sliced apples! And I think I’ll make it again this summer with raspberries. I bet it would work to make the crust and caramel and then drizzle with chocolate. And I think I’ll make a batch of just the caramel to eat with a spoon ? So delicious.
The best part of this dessert, besides the fact that it is so tasty, is that it is so quick to put together. I spent about a half hour putting it together, plus the time spent licking my Vitamix and chilling the crust in the freezer. While I’ve detailed all of the steps below, it’s basically pulse the crust, press in pan, blend the caramel, add to crust, top with fruit. Easy, and perfect for a hot day when you don’t want to heat up the oven.
Coconut Almond Tart with Caramel and Fresh Fruit Filling
1 ½ c shredded coconut
¼ c almonds*
1 t vanilla
dash of salt
1 ½ T coconut oil
Caramel (double for leftovers of the best caramel ever!)
¼ c almonds*
¼ c maple syrup
¼ c coconut oil
1 t vanilla
1 t almond extract
½ t cinnamon
fresh fruit filling of choice, about 2 cups
*Note: If you have nut allergies, or prefer not to use the nuts, sunflower seeds make a good substitute. I had great success using the same amount of sunflower seeds in the crust, and using sun butter in the caramel (although whole sunflower seeds would work here too, just blend well.). Omit the almond extract from the caramel. And while I haven’t tried it, I think hemp seeds would also work well. If you try them, let me know!
Place crust ingredients into food processor. Start by pulsing and breaking up the almonds. Continue to run/pulse until the crust starts to come together. You want to be able to pinch it and have it stay together.
Cut a small round of parchment paper and line the inside of a tart pan with a removable bottom. Alternately, use a pie pan and skip the parchment.
Pour out crust into pan and press using your fingers until the crust covers the entire dish and partway up the sides. Set in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill while you work on other components.
Put all caramel ingredients into a high powered blender. If you don’t have a Vitamix (or something similar) you might want to use almond butter instead of whole almonds, or soak the almonds beforehand. Blend the ingredients, going from low to high and using your tamper to press everything down to the blades. When it is mostly smooth and creamy it’s ready! Set aside.
Prepare the fruit—there’s no rule here. I sliced my strawberries in quarters, with the exception of one which I cut into fifths to make a star at the center. Set aside.
Pull the crust out of the freezer. Fill with the caramel (I had to remove it one scoop at a time out of the blender.). Once the caramel is on the crust, wet your fingers and press the caramel down, evenly distributing. Wetting your fingers keeps them caramel free and keeps the caramel from sticking!
Once the caramel is smooth, gently press the fruit on top. I worked from the outside in for my design, but you can do what works best for the fruit you’ve chosen.
Set in the fridge to chill. I found that because I made mine the night before, the strawberries began to release their liquids and weren’t quite as fresh. It still looked great though (pictures are from the afternoon of the day after I made it). If you have time, prep the components ahead of time and assemble the day of. If you don’t have that time, don’t worry about it! Also, the caramel is darker when it is first made, but lightens as it chills.
Carefully remove from tart pan. If you’re brave, slide a spatula under the tart to separate from the parchment paper and discard paper. Slice with a pie cutter and serve. There will be no leftovers!