A healthier take on a date tart with a luxuriously creamy but refined sugar-free filling surrounded by a buttery rich but oil-free almond crust and crumble! Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.
Time for a break in the cute, round, finger-food festive desserts. How about something sliceable with a touch more elegance. Only a touch though, it is still streusel-topped after all and streusel doesn’t exactly scream fancy pants.
The fact that this is a tart, not a pie, does make me feel a bit fancy, I must say. There is just an inherent elegance with a tart that pie can’t quite pull off. The fact that I had to go out and buy a tart pan specifically for this recipe does not, however. Nor does the fact that I came dangerously close to buying the set of six mini tart pans instead because they would’ve just been so cute in the photos. I resisted though, so no need to talk about that.
So I am now the owner (and store-er) of a tart pan, which feels like a step in the elegance direction. And a step backwards on the minimalist direction, but that’s another topic entirely.
Perhaps the real irony here is the fact that a tart pan makes me feel elegant just shows how utterly un-elegant I am. But it’s true.
Even if “elegance” is too subjective a word to really come to a decisive conclusion on the tart pan = elegance question, if I could virtually pass you a slice of this tart right now I am pretty sure we would agree that this is some seriously sweet scrumptiousness nestled inside one perfectly toasty almond shell.
But before I get ahead of myself and gush on about the date overload (in a good way!) that is the filling, let’s start with the crust. This crust is my FAVORITE crust currently–I fall in love with it more and more every time I make it. It’s the same crust I used on these mini pie cups just multiplied. It’s gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, and only requires 3 simple ingredients. Almond flour + maple syrup + water. Almond flour has so much natural nutty richness, I swear the crust tastes buttery somehow!
The concept of a date tart is actually rather new to me. Of course I am a big fan because dates-in-everything is practically my tagline. And I would like to know where the world has been hiding this date-y dessert from me all these years? But hey, let’s just focus on the present and make up for lost date tart eating time.
It seems to be one of those obscure forgotten desserts that is vaguely holiday-esque…maybe. I’m not really sure. What I do know is that it involves a crust, chopped dates squished in the bottom, and a layer of typically eggy, sugar-laden custard baked on top. For the custard I swapped all the usual ingredients for a blended mix of more dates, coconut milk, vanilla, sea salt, and a little cornstarch to thicken. I recommend Medjool dates for this recipe because they are extra sweet and soft and delicious baked amidst a sea of sweet custard, but any kind will work.
Hey, remember that most amazing favorite almond crust I was just blabbering about? Well it just got even more amazing because it can double as a streusel topping. Yep, the streusel is actually just leftover crust that’s been crumbled up on top. Not lazy, smart. And who doesn’t want buttery textural contrast coming at you from all sides with every bite??
It’s quite a simple recipe really, but I am telling you it tastes so rich and decadent–like a salted caramel streusel-topped pie of sorts! Decadence without chocolate is possible after all. And by pie I mean tart of course, because remember we are being elegant today.
A healthier take on a date tart with a luxuriously creamy but sugar-free filling surrounded by a buttery rich but oil-free almond crust and crumble!
- 3 cups almond flour
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 3-4 tbsp water
- 8-10 pitted Medjool dates (for layering in the bottom, chopped)
- 1 ½ cup pitted Medjool dates (about 15)
- 2 cups lite canned coconut milk*
- ½ tsp vanilla bean powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 ½ tbsp . cornstarch**
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour and maple syrup. Mix with a fork adding the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the texture is clumpy and holds together when squeezed.
- Press 2/3 of the dough into a tart pan, making sure to cover all sides evenly and reserving 1/3 of the dough for the topping.
- Spread the chopped dates into the bottom of crust.
- Blend the 1 1/2 cup of dates with the coconut milk, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch until very smooth.
- Pour into the crust. Spread evenly, covering the chopped dates.
- Sprinkle on the remaining crust mixture.
- Bake for approximately 45 mins at 375F.
- Let it cool, then chill overnight before slicing and eating.
- Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*You can use a different non-dairy milk, but the light coconut milk will yield a richer, creamier texture for the filling.
**You can sub arrowroot starch but it may affect the texture slightly.
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