We had our first snow fall yesterday. It came all of a sudden. The weather turned overnight and when we woke up the mountains were covered. We haven’t turned the heating on yet in the house and the sun is back today, but the season has definitely shifted up here. It’s cold. The mornings are frosty and the nights carry a different chill. Winter is on its way, you can feel it. We pulled down an extra blanket from the closet and added a few more layers to our around the house sweat pant attire, it’s a welcomed change.
There have been a few lazy afternoons with many cups of hot tea. I bought a mug and plate set for 40 cents at the local good will a few days ago and I have been putting it to good use. It’s light blue and brown and really tacky but I love it. It holds well and keeps my hands warm with my morning coffee. Since there is the matching plate I figured that needed a little something too, so I have been doing a bit more baking than I normally do. I told Matt that I could design an entire kitchen around my new mug set. He thinks I’m totally out to lunch, but for 40 cents he’ll stick around. I suppose one day it might make its photo debut here, but for now it’s sitting beside me as I write, filled with hot vanilla rooibos and one of these mini tarts. The sun’s reflection off the snowy peak in front of the house is almost blinding as it shines through the window. It’s just a perfect, simple moment in my day today. I hope you have one of those too.
VEGAN SQUASH TARTS WITH GINGER, COCONUT + A PECAN OAT CRUST
A spicier twist on your classic pumpkin pie. Ginger, coconut and a crumbly pecan crust. Cozy up with a hot cup of tea and a little treat. It is fall after all.
Vegan + Gluten Free. Makes 9 tarts.
1 + 1/2 cup oats (gluten free if possible)
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 cup squash puree (I used red kuri squash, see note* or use canned pumpkin)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 + 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or organic non-GMO cornstarch)
Coconut Whipped Cream or Coconut Cashew Cream for serving, optional
Coconut Cashew Cream
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 – 1/3 coconut milk
2 + 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F
Make the crust, place oats and pecans in a food processor and pulse to combine until well mixed and finely ground. Add dates and maple syrup and blend to combine. With the motor running, poor in the coconut oil. Continue to blend until the everything is well combined and the mixture starts to stick to the sides of the blender.
Prep a muffin tin by greasing with coconut oil. (tip: cut out strips of parchment to place across the muffin forms so that once the tarts are done you can easily pull them out by pulling on the parchment like tabs.)
Press golf ball sized amount of dough into each form, then using your fingers work to dough up the sides and around until it forms a shell for the tarts. This is definitely the most labor intensive part of making the tarts, sorry, but it’s worth it! Use any extra dough to fill in the holes or thin areas.
Make the filling, place squash puree, vanilla, grated ginger, spices, sea salt and maple syrup in a large bowl. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the coconut oil and coconut milk together, whisk to combine. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in arrowroot powder. Whisk the coconut milk mixture into the squash puree and mix until well combine.
Fill each crust with the squash filling up to the rim, then bake for 30-35mins until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from tin. Run a knife around the edge of the crust, then pull on the parchment tabs to remove the tarts from the tin. Let cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the cashew cream, rinse and drain the cashews, then place in a small blender with the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and blend. Add more milk until desired creaminess. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary. Will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Serve at room temperature or out of the fridge with a dollop of cream of your choice. Will keep for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge.
*Squash puree is easy and simple to make at home. Place chopped, peeled squash chunks into a double boiler and steam until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool, then blend in a food processor until smooth. I used one whole red kuri squash, which left me with almost 2 cups of puree. Extra puree can be used in granola, smoothies, oatmeal or baked goods!
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!