Today I wanted to share something a little different! I was playing around in the kitchen with some crazy dessert ideas and ended up with these little tarts that have a flaky pastry crust filled with a cashew-based lemon custard and some fresh berries in the center. The perfect late spring / early summer dessert.

I say this is something different because it strays a bit from the One Ingredient standard – I almost never cook with oil in significant amounts (or white flour), but those are essential for a good pastry crust and I thought it would be fun to break the rules for this one.

The tarts themselves have an awesome pie-like pastry crust, which isn’t something that I have a lot of experience with, but it turned out amazing. Inside is a lemony cashew filling that is lightly-sweetened and set into the center with a few berries and some lemon zest. In all, they’re a mildly sweet, super-tasty dessert that’s a lot of fun to make.

Makes about 6 tarts

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chilled coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice + zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3-4 tablespoons almond milk
  • A few fresh blueberries / blackberries

Step One: The Pastry

The pastry crust is definitely the hardest part of this, but it’s also a lot of fun. This was (I think) my first time making one and the key is to use cold butter (or in this case, coconut oil). When it’s hard, the oil will not fully dissolve into the dough, leaving tiny pockets. Those pockets melt just as the dough is setting in the hot oven and boom – lots of fluffy, flaky layers in the dough. Here’s how to do it –

  • In a food processor with a pastry blade (or by hand in a bowl), combine the ingredients from the first list – coconut oil, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Start pulsing until you have a crumbly batter. Then add just enough cold water until it starts to stick together. You don’t want a totally blended pizza dough, for example, *just* enough water so that it sticks together if you pinch it.
  • Grab the dough and transfer into a big sheet of plastic wrap, knead it gently into a flat round and pop in the fridge to chill while making the custard. Just like with the oil, chilling the dough is important to get the consistency right in the end. Preheat the oven to a hot 425º F.
  • Okay! Once the custard is ready (read below), get on with the baking. Split the dough into balls about 1.5x the size of a golfball and roll them out into thin rounds on a large cutting board sprinkled with flour. Press each round into a lightly-oiled cupcake pan (I liked leaving the tops rusting and uneven) and pop in the 425º oven for 10 minutes or until the tops start to brown – it doesn’t take long.

Step Two: The Cashew Lemon Custard

Prep: Soak the cashews in fresh water for at least an hour before blending.

Drain the cashews of their soaking water and add them to a blender with a pinch of salt, the juice of one lemon (save the zest for a garnish), some maple syrup (you can use a little more if you want them really sweet) and just enough almond milk or water so that they blend into a smooth (but thick) puree. Note that this cream won’t thicken too much, so what you’ve got here is what you’ll be using in your tarts – make sure it’s not too thin. Set aside until the tarts are done cooking.

Step Three: Finish

Cashew cream will harden when heated and we can exploit that to form an awesome crust in our tarts. Just as the edges of the crust start to darken at the end of step one above, remove from the oven and fill each tart with the custard and a few berries on top. Return to the oven for just 2-3 minutes until you see a *slight* darkening of the cashews, as you can see in the photos. Then, remove from the oven and allow to chill in the fridge for an hour before serving with a garnish of lemon zest and, um, edible flowers? (Don’t ask.)