These little raw tarts and adorned with the last local fruits of the season, oh how it pains me to type that. The sheer beauty of the grapes, blackberries and plums demanded something precious and extravagant to adorn. What better than a little chocolate tartlet with an intensely amazing creamy centre, no added sugar, not necessary, just an emphasis on the natural tastes present in every bite of bursting fruit. The base is brazil nuts and dates with raw cacao and the luscious filling is the smoothest creamiest vanilla cashew cream sweetened with a touch of wild honey. Absolute perfection I tell you my friends, just do yourselves a favour and make these for the people you love the most. They are little bites of heaven and I thought 12 would be enough to last a few days but I’m sorry to say they are too good and J has already devoured, errm, 5 in the last 12 hours, sigh. It’s okay though, because good things are meant to be enjoyed.
It was the last farmers market on Wednesday and I went absolutely bonkers and bought ten of everything. I can’t say I hold any restraint or fiscal responsibility when I step foot on market grounds. The colours draw me in and my mind goes a mile a minute thinking of all the beautiful creations I could make and of all the hard work and love these organic farmers put into their food. I must do it all justice, it’s only proper. If I burn the garlic, I burn them, and I just couldn’t do that to these hard working passionate people. The tomatoes are at that point where they ooze unspoken songs begging to be used. The apples have finally arrived in all their glory. Grapes provoke stories of old, that dusty ephemeral morning harvest way back when, frozen fingers and the promise of wine. My mind wanders, I can’t help but swell with gratitude for all this bounty, memories flush of fall times past and how that same feeling always hits me almost all at once. Then I come home and lovingly unpack it all and actually take a picture of the contents of the fridge because it isn’t too often that it is so overflowing with possibilities. Dreams of my own someday garden start to dissipate and I am just content that other people do it, I wish I could cook them all dinner.
The first order of business this morning was to adorn everything with shiny bubbly blackberries. These Cookies and Cream Tarts do more than justice to blackberry beauty. Tomorrow we will bring some of these divine little tarts on a wild mushroom hunt in the proverbial woodland. Please people send me good juju so that I will find the treasure- yes the matsutake or pine mushrooms- they grow here in abundance, if you can find the spots that is. I’ve yet to hit upon a huge score but I know the next big patch could be just around the corner!
- 1 C brazil nuts (you could also use walnuts or almonds)
- ¾ date paste, softened in some warm water for a few minutes, or about 8 dates softened in warm water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbs+2Tbs melted coconut oil
- 2 Tbs raw cacao
- 1 C cashews, soaked for 6-8 hrs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or ½ a vanilla bean pod,seeds scraped out
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbs wild honey
- ¼-1/2 C water
- pinch sea salt
- various local seasonal fruit- berries, grapes, pears,plums...
- In a food processor or blender add the brazil nuts, followed by the soaked dates,salt,2 Tbs coconut oil and cacao. Pulse until the nuts are totally broken down and it looks like brownie batter, nice and smooth.
- Fill a muffin tin with this mixture about 1 Tbs per section. You can use paper muffin cups for easier removal. Press the mixture up the sides to form little cups. Put it in the freezer to set while you make the cream.
- In a food processor or blender add strained cashews, vanilla, lemon,2 Tbs coconut oil, honey, salt and ¼ C of water. Blend on high until super super smooth, adding a touch more water until desired consistency is reached. You want it to mix easily and be light and creamy.
- Remove muffin tin from freezer, if you didn't line the tin you may want to remove the formed cups before adding the filling. Just let the tarts sit out and unfreeze a bit before using a fork to scoop them out onto a plate.
- Fill the tarts with a Tbs of cashew cream, top with preferred fruits, or nothing at all.
- For a firmer filling, refrigerate for an hour before serving.