A WildFit take on a recipe that has been in my family for generations. Combining the classic elements of seasonal fruit and spices with a rich buttery pastry while also keeping with WildFit food guidelines, this may just be the perfect holiday dessert. The fruit is kept raw to maintain as much nutrition as possible, and the pastry, though baked, is completely plant based and grain free. As always, this is a quick and easy recipe, that can be made together with and for friends or family.
Challenge Weeks: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cook Time: 12 minutes.
Makes: 12 servings.
2 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp Sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 large Egg (or flax egg)
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup dates, chopped
2 Apples or pears, finely chopped
1 Lemon juiced
1 tsp Lemon Zest
4 Tbsp Raisins
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
Traditional Victorian Christmas Pies were made with meat, suet, and spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. The tradition dates back to the middle ages when they would be filled with mutton, rabbit, or other game meats and wild picked seasonal fruits. Most modern mincemeat has become stewed fruit and spices in butter pastries. You have a few options for this recipe. The more WildFit option is to keep the fruit raw, and allow it to be softened slightly with lemon juice. The alternative is a more traditional method of stewing the fruit before adding it to the unbaked pastry shells. Both are delicious. You can also make this a Spring dinner recipe by omitting the sweeteners and substituting meat (or mushrooms) fried in oil with the spices and placing this filling in the baked tart shells. Make them your own!
If following the original method, you will need to start this recipe early in the morning or the night before you intend to bake them, so keep this in mind when planning. Begin by chopping your seasonal fruit- apples, pears, fresh figs or a mixture of them all- into small pieces and placing them in a medium size bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top, add the lemon zest, and the pumpkin pie spices. Mix the fruit well and then let it sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or overnight. This time allows the fruit to marinade in the acidic juice, which softens it slightly without cooking. In a similar way, place the raisins and dates in two separate bowls and cover each with warm water. Let them soak for at least 2 hours or overnight until softened.
Next make your flax eggs, which will bind the pastry together. Combine ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and mix well with a fork. Let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes, as when they are chilled they gel up faster. The mucilaginous fiber in the flax creates a gel which acts similarly to regular eggs in baking. You can also substitute two regular eggs and skip this step if you wish.
To prepare the pastry, mix the almond flour, coconut flour and salt together in a large bowl. In your food processor (or the same bowl) combine the dry ingredients, maple syrup, melted oil, vanilla and flax eggs. Mix well until a uniform dough is formed. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and then pull out the dough. Form a ball in the bowl and let it chill for 20 minutes. When the dough is cold, it is more malleable and less sticky, which makes it easier to work with.
At this point preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 18 muffin liners and 2 muffin trays. If you have silicone muffin trays, the muffin liners are not necessary, I find they are helpful for making nicely shaped tart shells.
Roll the dough out onto a sheet of parchment, silicone sheet or non stick mat with a rolling pin until it is even and ¼ inch thick. If you make it too thin you will not be able to move it around so keep this in mind. Cut 18 circles (roughly 3 inches in diameter) into the dough, flip the mat over, peeling the circles from the other dough, and place each circle on the center of a muffin liner. Fit each liner into the muffin tray, pressing the dough gently down onto the bottom and to the sides. If you have extra dough, cut small shapes from it and bake with the shells to decorate the tops of the tarts. Bake the tart shells for 10-12 minutes until golden.
To finish the filling, place the dates in your high speed blender or food processor with only 4 Tbsp of the soaking liquid and blend until smooth. This paste will sweeten the filling and hold the fruit together. Combine the drained raisins with the other chopped and spiced fruits, then add date paste and stir until well mixed. Add the fruit filling to the baked tart shells, distributing evenly with a small spoon. Decorate with baked pastry shapes, small mint leaves, a sprinkling of unsweetened shredded coconut or just plain.
These tarts keep well up to one week in the fridge or you can freeze them for up to 6 months.