Friday, March 02, 2012

Strawberry Tart

In anticipation of guests arriving, I made these delicious treats.

I get a little anxious when people are coming to town to stay with me.  Will my kids behave?  Will Jasper share his toys without knocking someone's tooth out?  Will my toilets backup?  Will I get enough sleep?  It's all irrational, really, because as soon as the taxi arrived, depositing my sister and her family at my doorstep, the butterflies dissipated and was I flooded with calm joy.  I love my people.

A little angst ahead of time is good as I fret over pleasing them, so I get busy cleaning, setting up beds, laying out towels and other useful things - and I prepare food.  Never in my life have I been so happy to prepare food until now that I've been making so many delicious raw vegan dishes.  I know I have something beautiful to share, guilt-free and pleasure rich.

This tart was made from a combination of two recipes, the strawberry mousse from Matthew Kenney's, Everyday Raw, and the coconut macadamia crust from Jennifer Cornbleet's, Raw Food Made Easy.  I think of Jennifer as my new best friend because "easy" is essential to me.  Although her book is my most recent purchase, it is also the most abused with its spine already bent and pages stained with olive oil, strawberries, or whatever.  She's a little light on photos which was a turnoff at first, but each recipe that I've tried has been such a simple success.  Kenney has amazingly delicious recipes, but some get a little fussy and the ingredient list isn't always easy to obtain.  If that's your first raw book, you may get a bit discouraged.  Don't be.  He works magic in the kitchen, so when you're ready, do it.


1 1/2 cups unsweetened, dried coconut
1 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1/2 tsp salt (next time I'll use less, this seemed a bit too salty for me)
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates (I know I used a lot more to make it pliable - probably a cup - have extra on hand)

Process the coconuts, nuts and salt in a food processor.  Add dates and process until crumbs start to stick together.  This is where I added my 1/2 cup of dates and then continued adding them 1 or 2 at a time until I was satisfied.  The crust turned out a little too sweet, so maybe next time I'll add a little coconut oil instead of extra dates to get it all to stick.

Press into a pie tin or tart pan.  I had extra and threw it into the freezer in a plastic bag.  When my little nephew was cruising the kitchen for food (sorry, Janna, I totally spoiled his appetite for dinner), I gave him some of the pie crumbs and he LOVED them.  So I tried them, too.  Oh no, too good. This is my new cookie fix.


3 cups soaked cashews
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup strawberries
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast  (I left this out.  If you like a cheesy taste like a cheese cake filling this might help. To me, it doesn't help enough and I'm left with a weird after taste.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped (you could make do with a little extra extract if necessary)
Sliced strawberries to decorate

Blend everything in a Vita Mix or high speed blender until smooth.

Pour 1/2 into pie crust.  Add layer of fresh strawberries and rest of filling (I forgot this step, hmmm, so what).  Decorate with sliced strawberries.  Freeze to set, or refrigerate overnight.

PS:  I learned a little about cashews from making this.  Generally I store open bags of nuts in the fridge so they'll last a little longer without going rancid.  This bag I didn't.  The nuts looked and smelled fine until I soaked them.  Some turned a little purplish and tasted slightly of mildew.  It was pretty easy to pick them out.  But I've often questioned the storage of raw nuts vs pasteurized.  Anyone else have experience with this?  Send me an email or link.  I hate wasting expensive ingredients.

I realized I should have pressed the crust up the sides.  Next time.

This is incredibly rich and I've been slow to calculate the calories per serving.  With all these nuts, oil, dates and agave, I'm not sure I want to know.  To me, though, just a little bit is enough - not like Girl Scout cookies that I can eat an entire box without slowing down.  There is something about eating whole foods, rich satisfying foods, that creates a sense of satisfaction without the desire to eat the entire pie, fridge and cupboards.  If you're struggling with weight, you know what I mean.  If you're directly related to my husband, you don't.





  1. WHAT??? Dominique, these are GORGEOUS!!! Oh man, I love what you're doing here. Hope you guys have a great weekend ! Love ya, xoxo

  2. That looks sooo amazing!! Making my sugar craving breastfeeding body going crazy just looking at them! And OMG, your ingredients are awesome! Coconuts oil and dates are my religion, you know?
    As for storing nuts, I heard from cooking show that you should store in the freezer instead of fridge, and also toast them before you cook (use) them. Toasting can get the life back to they say.
    I've been watching my favorite cooking star Jamie Oliver's 30min cooking show on Youtube these days:)LOL! I love his rusticness and pretty healthy cooking ideas.
    I'm about to check out your RAW cooking books!;)....oh wait, I hate how there's no more bookstores around...

    1. Saki, go to Whole Foods, I know they carry the Matthew Kenney book, and I might have gotten the other one there as well. We've definitely got to hook up and spend a day (or week) in the kitchen when you come for a visit!

      Now, the raw foodies would be opposed to toasting the nuts, they would soak them, instead. I've been averse to nuts and seeds all my life and found that the ones that I really detested, taste wonderful to me after having been soaked.

      I haven't completely narrowed my thoughts (or diet) to raw food, and am open to trying lots of new things. I'm attracted to raw food because the recipes automatically omit my particular problem foods, aka dairy, soy and other legumes (although some people sprout them) and wheat. I do enjoy meat and fish on occasion, but I'm torn between what I see as a broken food system and an occasional good cut of steak.

      Take care, friend, and kiss that gorgeous baby for me.

  3. Did you use Truly raw cashews or store bought? Store bought a actually are steam pasteurized and you'll always find a few purple ones. If you buy them online you should find that they're much higher quality and much fresher. Just steer clear of nuts with a film on the outside or pieces as opposed to whole nuts. You should also know that cashew have a reputation for carrying aflatoxin like peanuts.

    1. Purchased from Whole Foods (I know, not always the best source, but often convenient). They say they are raw, but legally, in the US, one can label cashews raw and still be pasteurized. Interesting. Since writing the post, I've done a little research online... cashew shells and the skin between the shell and nut are pretty toxic (like you note). The quick way to separate the nut is by steaming or boiling. Yet, it is the pasteurization of the nut can promote mold growth.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Beryl.