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
- 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
- Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
- Grind the cashews in a food processor until they are pulverized.
- Add the chia and dates and continue to process.
- Add the vanilla and the squash, and process
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
- Add up to 1/4 cup almond (or other plant-based) milk to make processing easier.
- 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.
- Divide the filling among the six tarts. There will be a small amount left over to eat the next day as pudding.
- 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.
- Stir until smooth and top each tart with melted chocolate.
- Refrigerate several hours before serving. The longer the tarts are refrigerated, the firmer and more pumpkin pie-like the filling will be.