I will let you on to a secret. While the rest of Europe is still excited about the arrival of its first sun-kissed strawberries, we are nearing the end of strawberry season here (I’m sooooo sad about this!) as we are a bit ahead weather-wise. We’ve been enjoying them straight from the punnet, in our breakfast and in desserts for about a month now and so it’s high time to introduce my latest strawberry-packed dessert – vegan matcha strawberry tart.
If you cannot get hold of strawberries or simply don’t like them, this tart would work just as well with raspberries! In fact, this would be my berry of choice if I had them at my disposal. Raspberries and matcha are a tried and tested and simply divine combination! Unfortunately for me, Greek islands don’t do berries (other than straws) and it’s something I sorely miss.
Eating raspberries, blackberries and wild blueberries (tiny little gems that stain your teeth and fingers deep purple) straight from a bush are one of my fondest childhood food memories. As are my grandma’s wild blueberry pierogi with vanilla sauce! Damn, I’d better stop that trip down the memory lane as I’m almost welling up here 😉 .
This tart makes for an impressive dessert, yet it’s dead easy to make. The base is a bit like handling play dough 😉 , something I also loved to do as I kid. The two layers are very simple too and you can make them even simpler by using sliced raw strawberries instead of a strawberry jelly layer. Your call!
Whatever you do, ensure that you have plenty of matcha-loving mouths around you as otherwise you may find yourself polishing the whole tart off by yourself. I don’t know why that is but even once you put it away, it will keep on calling you for seconds…and thirds…and… 😉 Perhaps I need a padlock on my fridge, ha ha.
Place pitted dates in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave them for 10 minutes to soften.
Place almonds and oats in a food processor and grind them both into flour. If you don’t have a powerful food processor, you may want to grind them separately or else you may end up with large almond chunks, which will affect the quality of the base. Transfer ground almonds and oats to a large bowl. Add cacao and salt and mix well.
Squeeze excess moisture out of the dates and place them into the food processor. Process until you get a smooth, sticky mixture. Add them to the dry ingredients and knead by hand until you get a uniform dough.
Finally, add melted coconut oil.
Line a tart tin with a piece of baking paper and line the tin with the dough you’ve just made. Make sure you press it really well so that it’s compacted and holds together well. Pop into the freezer for 10 minutes.
If you want to save some time or / and you want this tart to be almost raw, slice strawberries and layer them (in multiple layers) at the bottom of the set base.
If you would rather make strawberry jelly, place destemmed strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth.
In a small pot, place the agar flakes and about ¼ cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes stirring the whole time until the agar turns into thick, lightly opaque jelly.
Once agar has been activated (turned into jelly), add it to the pureed strawberries and blend them together well, scraping the walls of the blender as needed.
Quickly pour the strawberry jelly onto the base of the tart as the agar thickens really quickly. Set aside to set (takes about 30 min).
Place drained cashews, coconut cream, matcha and maple syrup in a blender. If you don’t have a power blender, I recommend chopping the cashews up first to get a smoother finish.
Place the agar flakes in a small pot with ¼ cup (4 tbsp water) and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until agar has ALMOST dissolved (I find that the flakes never dissolve completely no matter how long I stir). Cool it down a little so that it isn’t added to the rest of the ingredients when it is piping hot.
Add warm agar mixture to the blender and process until smooth, scraping the walls of the blender from time to time. Once smooth, pour the mixture over the strawberry layer. Allow it to set (approx. 1 hr in the fridge).
Decorate and cut into slices. Store in the fridge and consume within 2-3 days. It freezes well.
*If you make your own almond milk, this is the perfect recipe to use almond pulp in. Spread damp almond pulp on a baking tray and dry it out in the sun 😉 or in a 75° C / 165° F degree oven before incorporating into the crust.
The exact dimension of my tart tin are top: 25 cm / 10 inches , bottom 22 cm / 8.5 inches and side 3.5 cm / 1.4 inches.