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Little pumpkin tarts

Posted Jan 16 2013 9:00am

We attended a party recently where the hosts were very kind to their vegan guests, and made sure there was lots of beautiful, delicious food to eat. I'm actually skipping the dinner and moving right to the dessert, because I was so impressed with the mini pumpkin tarts that were served.

There was also an impressive, mouthwatering bowl of dark vegan chocolate and a large platter of fruit for dipping, but the tarts! They were so cute and so yummy and they made me think about my mini tart pans and how I should use them already.

Not only were the tarts delicious, pretty and vegan, they were also gluten-free and grain-free! Jen made them, and they were perfect little gems — delicate, flaky crust, light, creamy pumpkin filling and whipped coconut cream topping. I've got the recipe for you.

Jen made her tarts in silicone muffin cups, pressing the dough part way up the sides. She put the silicone cups into a muffin tin so the shells would keep their shape while baking. I don't have silicone bakeware, but last summer I bought a set of eight mini tart pans at a garage sale. The tins are approximately 4-inches across the top, 3-1/4-inches across the bottom, and 3/4 of an inch high. They are in great condition and I've always wondered why — did the tart shells stick and refuse to come out after they were baked so the previous owner only used them once? I was pretty sure that's what would happen. I made half a recipe and carefully pressed the pastry dough into the pans. I had enough dough to make the shells go about halfway up the sides of six tart pans. I first oiled the pans, then pressed the dough carefully into the fluted sides, making sure all the edges were fairly even and the same height.

After the shells were baked and briefly cooled on a metal rack, I held the edges of a pan, pressed gently on the back, and the perfect little shell popped right out! Five more perfect little shells and, grinning with glee, I prepared the filling.

Although Jen's tarts were wonderful, I made a couple of changes to the recipe. Instead of all almond flour, my shells were half almond and half sorghum. And, instead of pumpkin, the filling was made from baked sweet potato. I used a solidly-packed half cup of potato (one medium potato) for six tarts. It was creamy and delicious, but not as airy as the pumpkin purée. The topping was made from coconut cream, as in the recipe, but made in a food processor because I don't have a mixer. I was quite pleased with the tarts and recommend the recipe to you.


Intentions ...

Instead of resolutions, this year I have an intention. I intend to create two pieces of art per month. Here's my latest collage. It was made as a gift so I couldn't post it until the recipient had received it. It's made from home furnishing catalogs but that's all I'm going to say. It's 15 by 20 with a three-inch mat.

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