November 07, 2016

Little pumkinish pie tarts

Well look at this — here I am taking my own advice and making the little pumpkin tarts that appeared in my last post. Only those were, in reality, little sweet potato tarts, and the ones I just made are little butternut squash tarts. I like pumpkin pie, I really do, but over the years I've come to prefer pumpkin pie when it's made with something other than pumpkin. In a pinch, if I really need a pie fast, I might use canned pumpkin, but foods like sweet potatoes and winter squash (dry winter squash like kabocha or butternut) are sweeter and more flavorful than pumpkin. Pie pumpkins also work, but I like butternut!

I have a set of eight, four-inch tart pans that I found several years ago at an estate sale, and they make the cutest little tart shells. They are non-stick, and it's thrilling to me that they actually work. Don't you just love it when the tart shells pop out of the pans like they're supposed to?

I made six tarts, and although I served them whole, I think half is probably enough for a serving. The problem was the chocolate topping I made was hard, and difficult to cut through. If I were planning to cut them in half, I would probably opt for a soft chocolate topping, or perhaps a dollop of coconut whipped cream, as in the original recipe. The chocolate sure was good, though. WAIT. Did I just say half a tart is enough? Scratch that. I just ate a whole one and it was just right. You can make the tarts the day before you need them; they taste even better the next day.

Well, here it is the day before election day. (Not to mention it's been the most stressful, horrible election I can remember. I can't sleep, and I've been nursing a headache for two days.) Think about who would be the best candidates for President, Senate, and Congress, and GO VOTE! Then make yourself little tarts as a reward.

Butternut squash tarts with hard chocolate tops
makes six four-inch tarts with gluten-free crust

pastry shells
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 cup mild oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water, if needed
  1. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. 
  2. Mix in the oil and maple syrup, to form a cohesive pastry. Add water one tablespoon at a time if needed to form a press-able dough. Use your hands!
  3. Divide the dough into six equal balls and press each one into a tart pan, making sure to fill the top edges of the pans.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated 350˚F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. Cool about 15 minutes, then pop the shells out, and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  • heaping 1/2 cup of raw, unsalted cashews soaked at least four hours, and drained. Soaking over night will make the filling easier to blend.
  • tightly packed, rounded 1/3 cup of soft, pitted medjool dates. If your dates are dry and hard, soak them while you are soaking the cashews.
  • 2 tablespoon ground chia seeds (I ground mine in a high speed blender, but you can use a spice grinder)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup baked butternut squash (I used leftovers from dinner, pressed into the measuring cup) or sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh ground is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, as needed 
  1. Grind the cashews in a food processor until they are pulverized.
  2. Add the chia and dates and continue to process.
  3. Add the vanilla and the squash, and process
  4. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
  5. Add up to 1/4 cup almond (or other plant-based) milk to make processing easier. 
  6. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This may take a while. Taste to see if the filling is sweet enough for you. If not, add a tablespoon of maple syrup.
  7. Divide the filling among the six tarts. There will be a small amount left over to eat the next day as pudding.
  1. Place 1/3 cup of vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small glass dish, and microwave for 30 seconds. Check to see if they are melted. If not, microwave for 30 seconds more.
  2. Stir until smooth and top each tart with melted chocolate.
  3. Refrigerate several hours before serving. The longer the tarts are refrigerated, the firmer and more pumpkin pie-like the filling will be.
The recipe was adapted from one for mini pumpkin pie tarts from Danielle Walker's Against All Grain blog. The original recipe was a guest post by Beth from Tasty Yummies.


  1. I am SO ready for this election to be over with already. A sweet little tart would sure help ease the pain... These look great! I just wish I had one with me right now.

    1. As much as I want the election to be over, I feel like there will be a long struggle ahead to get past all the negativity that was stirred up — if we ever can. As for the tarts, i wouldn't mind having a few on hand to, I hope, celebrate with.

  2. Nice job! Tarts are always so cute. Was actually thinking earlier that the Gone Pie pumpkin blondie I showed on the blog today was the first pumpkin baked good I can remember really tasting like pumpkin - everything else kind of has the pumpkin flavor washed into the background. And I really do love kabocha (more than butternut, sorry!) so i'd probably agree with you in swapping a squash in.
    In any case, well done. they sound great.

    1. Thanks! Pumpkin can be so bland, and need lots of sweetener and spice to make it taste like we expect it to. I like kabocha more than butternut, too, but I had leftover butternut in the fridge, so I used it. Maybe I'll use kabocha for Thanksgiving.

  3. I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie, I actually prefer sweet potato, butternut or kabocha squash over pumpkin. So glad I'm not the only one. :-) I probably need at least 2, maybe 3 of those mini pies to comfort me after the election. I have a feeling the negativity isn't going to end after tomorrow. :-(

    1. I almost never use actual pumpkin, so yes, when I say I like pumpkin pie, I mean sweet potato or squash. I hope the election will have a good result so you won't need more than two tarts. :D I'm assuming we're on the same side, but it's bound to be ugly no matter who wins. Sad.

  4. These are such sweet little pies. I'm sorry to hear about the election...we over in Australia are looking on in horror. It's an odd time for the world right now.

    1. Thank you. I am rather at a loss for words right now but I appreciate your thoughts. I really do.

  5. I love, love, love the look of these - I definitely wouldn't be restricting myself to a half a tart. Especially post-election. Maybe two tarts, locking the door and hoping it all goes away.

    1. I was pretty impressed, myself, when I made them. Post election I felt too sick to eat, but before the election I could eat a whole one — probably not two. Maybe you have a better appetite than me. :D

  6. Yes! Butternut is the best! It has a real sweet and creamy taste. I still to this day have not tried pumpkin tarts!
    I might need a few of these to help me deal with the election outcome.

    1. Butternut does come through in all categories, I agree. As for the election outcome, there aren't enough tarts in the world to help me through. :(

  7. Ah its really lovely and very autumnal. I have just made a vegan dessert with butternut squash too, but it also has carrots, mango and apricots. I am liking your crust too.

    1. I've made deserts with carrots, too, and I'm going to look yours up right now. I love adding sweetness with naturally sweet foods. :)


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