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Essence of Spring: Raw Strawberry Tart

Good morning bloggies!

Happy Friday! You might be wondering why you’re not getting a Fit Bit Friday post today, but don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten. Instead, we’re switching things up this week. I’m currently running around and throwing last-minute items into my suitcase, but here to fill in for me is the lovely Lisa of Vegan Culinary Crusade. I was first introduced to Lisa at a blogger meet-up in Toronto, and you may remember seeing her appear on Eat Spin Run Repeat when the two of us, along with several other local bloggers got together for lunch at Thrive Juice Bar. A social worker by day, Lisa is also a certified Raw Food Chef. She hosts several cooking demos and contributes recipes to organizations like the Toronto Vegetarian Association, and once you get your first taste of one of her desserts, you’ll see that this lady knows her stuff! Want proof? Here she is to give it to you first-hand.

 

When Angela invited me to write a guest post to share while she’s off on an Australian adventure, I jumped at the chance. I started 2012 with a visit to Sydney and Melbourne. It was my first time in Oz, so of course, I stood in awe of the iconic Opera House, waded into the waves at Bondi beach and marvelled at the magnificence of  the Blue Mountains. But now, three months later, what has stayed with me is the brilliant flavour of the fresh, local fruit I feasted on during my stay.

Australia’s food scene is spectacular. Growing up in Canada, January has always left me craving foods like sweet potatoes, lentils and kale. In Sydney, January means bananas, passionfruit, mangoes, cherries, apricots and strawberries. I ate everything with enthusiasm. The vibrant flavours of local food, enjoyed in season, is so incredibly satisfying.

My stop in Australia came in the middle of a much bigger journey through India, Thailand, Bali, New Zealand and Hawai’i. For me, the most incredible gift of travel is the insights and inspiration you’re left with long after you’ve unpacked and resumed your regular routine. I came home with pages and pages filled with ideas for recipes, ingredients to source and plans for field trips to farms and markets in my own backyard. But it was February, in Toronto…so I knew I had to wait.

Then, just the other day, I saw the first pint of organic strawberries arrive at the store. I figured while I was still pining for market season, I’d create something special to signal the spectacular moment in Ontario when plants are just starting to blossom and our enjoyment of the harvest still lies ahead.

With one bite of this tart I was transported to the strawberry fields I often frequent in late June but also to those memorable days I spent savouring the scene in Sydney.

Essence of Spring – Strawberry Tart

Serves 10-12
Crust:
1 cup raw almond
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
Cream:
1/4 cup cashews
1 frozen banana, peeled
zest of 1 lemon
2 TBSP water
Topping:
2 cups strawberries, chopped
1 TBSP agave syrup (optional)*
4 leaves fresh mint
1 TBSP shredded coconut

Directions:

In a food processor pulse the almonds and walnuts into a coarse meal. Add the dates, vanilla and sea salt, and pulse to combine. The crust should hold together when firmly pressed between your thumb and fingers. Distribute evenly in a medium sized tart pan (a springform pan would also work well).

In a food processor churn the cashews into a paste. Add the remaining filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Spread an even layer of the filling into the prepared tart pan – an off-set spatula works well for this task.

Top the creamy filling with the chopped strawberries, a chiffonade of mint and a spring of coconut.

Chopping the strawberries allows for a rustic sprinkle across the tart. Thinly slicing the berries would allow for a more artistic arrangement. To chiffonade the mint, simple roll up the leaves into a cigar shape and thinly slice widthwise.

Chill the tart until ready to serve.

*If your strawberries need a boost of sweetness, toss in agave before topping the tart.

Enjoy!

Wow! Thanks Lisa, for this gorgeous recipe, and for sharing a little bit about your incredible travel adventure. It’s heading into autumn in Australia now, but hopefully there’s still plenty of fresh juicy fruit to be had when I arrive! So tell me, friends…
  • Are you starting to see bright, juicy organic produce pop up in your area? Has it been inspiring any fresh and healthy recipes in your kitchen? Feel free to link to them below! 
  • Of all of Lisa’s tour stops (Australia, India, Thailand, Bali, New Zealand and Hawai’i), which country would you most like to visit and why?

Comments

  1. says

    Love this recipe…and it doesn’t have added sugar is the best part and only a 1/3 c of dates really…I am so excited to have this..thanks you for sharing! :)

  2. says

    I’d most want to go to Thailand!! I was blessed enough to study abroad in New Zealand and got to visit Australia while I was over there and though I’d love to go back to both, I also want to go places I’ve never been!

    Hope your packing is going well!!!

  3. says

    Wow, this looks amazing Lisa! The trip you took through India, Hawaii, Australia… sounds very epic and life changing!
    Your photography is breathtaking. Thanks for introducing her to us, Angela… and have an amazing trip!!

    • says

      Leanne,

      It was quite an adventure. I was teaching raw food classes in each place which changed the dynamic but really helped me to engage with the local food culture.

      I wrote about each step of the way on my blog.

      I’ve read your posts about your time in India as well. What a country!

  4. says

    That dessert looks great! I’ve used cashews for a ‘cheeze’ sauce, but it makes sense that they would be the perfect base for a sweet cream as well.

    India–I’d love to explore the spiritual heritage of the country.

  5. Natasha says

    This is something that I deff need to make! Also FYI – I haven’t had a chance to get the Seaweed Salad recipe for you yet – but promise that when I do – I will share :)

  6. Katherine says

    Made this today- I wish I had good things to say but I just was not impressed with it. My husband and little one seemed to enjoy but I felt it was missing something. First off, maybe I have a large tart pan (11 in) but I didn’t have enough crust for the edges. I also recommend keeping a bowl of warm water next to you so you can dab your finger tips in to press the crust out/in pan. Second, the filling. I do not recommend the banana unless you are going to consume it very very soon. I am sure there are a ton of other options out there but I do not recommend the banana for two reasons 1) Very overpowering taste 2) It turned brown by the time we ate it. I am currently looking for a more strictly cashew based cream sauce. Healthyblenderrecipes has a yogurt recipe made with cashews I might try. Anyhow- I appreciate you sharing, you never know how it will turn out unless you don’t try!!

  7. says

    This looks so amazing, I love all the color. This is kinda similar to a banana cream pie that I made recently. As soon as I took my first bite I started thinking about all of the possibilities, but never thought of something like this. I really really love the fresh berries. Thanks for sharing, I cannot wait to try it.

  8. says

    Having shared some of that amazing fruit with Lisa in Melbourne, I can safely say that any dessert inspired by it, but with her magic raw chef touch added, is destined for greatness.

  9. says

    Made this a few days ago – quite delicious though I did have to tweak the amount of ingredients for the filling and the crust. Just wondering if the ingredient list is correct?

    Thanks so much – lovely recipe that I will be making again, perhaps even this week.

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