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Vegan and no-bake pear tart with whipped coconut cream and caramel

With summer coming and temperature rising, no-bake desserts can be a great addition to baked summer treats. Their preparation only takes minutes and you don’t need to turn the oven on.

This vegan/raw tart relies only on plant based ingredients, doesn’t contain any refined sugar and is free from wheat, eggs and diary. For the crust, I used gluten free nut flours, almond and hazelnut, both high in protein and dietary fiber. Besides, nut flours pair very well with pears.

The pear I picked for this dessert is d’Anjou, the all-purpose variety with a dense flesh perfect for poaching.  Cooking will bring up their juiciness and subtle sweetness that hints at a refreshing lemon-lime flavor.  It’s best to use pears that are still firm as an overripe, sliced d’Anjou when cooked, may become too soft to hold their shape.

Although health benefits of pears are quite well-known I will quickly mention the most important ones. Here they are: pears are rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber, are a good source of vitamins C and K, potassium and other minerals and are low in calories ( 1 pear contains only about 100 calories) meaning that their consumption supports natural weight loss.

D’Anjou pears are best for this tart

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut flour or ground hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp organic honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid but softened
  • pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or mix by hand in a medium bowl. Press the mixture into a nine-inch tart pan to form the crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Note: You can prepare the crust one day ahead. Cover it with plastic and place in the fridge.

The crust is ready. Now, it needs to stay in the fridge for about 1 hour.

For the coconut cream:

  • 1 (14 oz) can of coconut cream, placed in a freezer for 30 minutes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

The frozen coconut cream will separate into solids and liquid. Combine the solids with 1 tbsp of the liquid and the vanilla in a bowl. Using an electric beater, whip on high speed until the coconut cream forms soft peaks (about 5 minutes). Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Fill the crust with the chilled coconut cream and place in the fridge again.

When crust is set, fill it with the whipped coconut cream.

For the filling:

  • 2 d’Anjou pears, rather firm, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp arrowroot or corn starch
  • pinch of salt

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced pears, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and stir to coat the pears. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until pears are slightly tender. Dust with the arrowroot powder or corn starch, stir and continue to simmer for one additional minute or until caramel sauce it creates has thickened enough to lightly coat the back of the spoon. Chill the pears and mixture completely.

When chilled, line the crust filled with coconut cream, with the cooked pears in a circular pattern until it’s covered. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Refrigerate for about two hours to set the crust. Serve cold or at a room temperature.

Note: Coconut cream is high in saturated fat. For more dietary option, you can skip the whipped cream and fill the crust only with poached pears.  Serve it by itself or with a dollop of the cream.

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