I’m usually asked to make dessert for holiday get-togethers, and more specifically to bring my usual cupcakes or cookies. This time I wanted to bring something different. I recently had a baby shower at work and brought the easiest thing I could make the night before work which were cinnamon rolls. I found that everyone else had brought cake, cupcakes, brownies and pasta. This meant that a lot of the girls didn’t want to eat anything, rightfully so because it was all so unhealthy and every woman on the planet is on a diet 99% of the time. It made me realize that I should have brought something healthier and I wish I had just brought a veggie platter instead. The unfortunate thing however is that the healthier option is usually more expensive. I was looking at spending $15 on a veggie platter compared to $3-4 to make cinnamon rolls. As a relatively young person living out of home I don’t have the biggest budget to work on. But anyhow getting to the point, this time for Thanksgiving I wanted to make something that was a bit lighter, and healthier. My brother-in-law has lost 50lbs since becoming vegan and he really tries to find ways to bake in healthier ways. I really wanted to bring a vegan dessert that was light and still really tasty. So with the little time I had I decided to make vegan fruit tarts.
I will just say now that cooking and baking are not my strong points. But I ended up finding pastry sheets that were actually vegan by Pepperidge Farms. Next time I have more time I will attempt to make my own pastry sheets but this time they were perfect for my tarts. I was also one of the blessed folk who had to work Thanksgiving this year from 7pm-1:30am. Anyhow, I’m sorry I didn’t take more photos this time but I only had about an hour to make these. Lack of time aside I also prefer to cook and bake with as few ingredients as possible. I feel like it keeps the end result more natural and light. But it could also be the lack of skill, who knows….
For all the tarts I laid out the pastry sheets and cut out circles using a large soup mug. It would probably be handy to have a circle cutter but the mug delivered. I put each of these circles of pastry into a cupcake cooking pan to shape the tart. I just had to mould the pastry circles into each cup of the pan. This way you can create little individual tarts for each person.
4 Granny Smith Apples cut into wedges
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance butter
For the apple and cinnamon tarts I just pre-roasted the apples in the oven at 400° for 25 minutes. I first mixed the apples in a bowl with the melted butter, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and powdered cinnamon. I then filled the pastry cups with this mixture and created a very poor lattice on the top by cutting out little mini strips of the remaining pastry. I cooked the tarts at 400° in the oven for 15 minutes.
I kept trying to research ways on how to make a healthy filling for berry tarts and I really didn’t like any of the recipes I found. Like I said before I really wanted these to be light and healthy, and to be a simple fruit dessert. My husband ended up making a little sauce/jam concoction using a small handful of pureed raspberries, a teaspoon of cornstarch, with less than a teaspoon of brown sugar. This created exactly what I needed to place into the bottom of the pastry tart so that it wouldn’t just be fruit that could become dry. I then placed blueberries and raspberries on top of this mixture into each pastry cup and sprinkled a tiny amount of brown sugar on top. These were also baked at 400° along with the apple tarts for 15 minutes.
Both of these tarts were so simple and used so few ingredients but they tasted really amazing! Just before I had to leave my in-laws for work on Thanksgiving I brought these out to eat and they were a hit. My brother-in-law seemed to be the biggest fan and I think appreciated the effort to bring a healthier option. He ended up eating several and I only wish I had made more. The berry tarts were a perfect mix of tartness and sweetness, and the pastry was really good too. Using a cupcake/muffin pan was also the perfect size to make individual tarts. I will definitely be making these for Christmas again, and actually wanted to try my hand at making an Aussie Christmas staple which are fruit mince pies. Next time I will also try to take better pictures and more pictures of the actual process. But they were so simple to make, and use so few ingredients that a monkey could make this.