Healthy Vegan Fruit Tarts

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.

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Ingredients

4 Granny Smith Apples cut into wedges

Cinnamon

Brown sugar

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.

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Ingredients

Blueberries

Raspberries

Corn Starch

Brown Sugar

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.

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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.

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In season for fruit

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The best thing about warmer months is definitely the fruit. Who needs candy when there is ripe fruit like strawberries, mangoes and peaches? Mangoes are by far my favourite fruit, and when I lived in Australia they were much easier to come by and buy in bulk. My dad even has a huge mango tree in his backyard, but the bats and possums usually get to most of them before I do. Overall, I could choose fruit any day over candy. Especially since I have completely changed my diet and started eating properly, I crave fruit and very rarely crave candy of any kind. I have cut out all sources of sugar from my diet except the sugar found in fruit. Sugar is definitely necessary for your body to function properly, and most energy, even in plants, is created by breaking down glucose. I’m not a fan of soda, and I have never liked fruit juice because I think that I would never eat 10 apples, so why would I drink the juice of 10 apples?

I’ve never been big on sweets anyway, but one thing I will admit that was hard to cut out was alcohol, possibly because I may be an alcoholic. Okay I’m far from being an alcoholic, but having a drink now and then is relaxing, especially on the weekend when everyone else is drinking. The sugar content of alcohol is through the roof though, and drinking would basically cancel any workout I did for the day, or any healthy food I ate. Not worth it. I’m okay being the dud at the party with my bottle of H20.

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I went full Aussie with this picture and used a plate with artwork of Birds of Australia by the artist Eric Shepherd.

I also know that all fruit has many health benefits, but being someone who is obsessed with the health benefits of the food I eat I had to look up the specific health benefits of my favourite fruit. I wasn’t surprised to read that mangoes are full of vitamins, but I was surprised to read that mangoes have an alkalizing effect on the body that can balance ph levels. It can also aid in weight loss by aiding in digestion and burning up extra calories. All the more reason to keep eating them!