Here’s a wholesome tart for more sophisticated palettes! This tart is naturally sweetened with dried figs, pears, and just a little coconut sugar. I enhanced the fruits’ natural sweetness by boiling the figs into a jam and roasting the pears. The spices add depth and warmth, making this tart a really comforting dessert. The tart base is gluten-free and has a delicate crumb thanks to the almond meal, but it is not too crumbly as the tapioca starch binds the ingredients together.
WHAT YOU NEED
3/4 cup (120 g) white rice flour
3/4 cup (84 g) almond meal
1/2 cup (60 g) tapioca starch
1/2 cup (120 ml) light-tasting vegetable oil, such as sunflower
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
3 tablespoons (27 g) coconut sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup (150 g) packed dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup (175 ml) water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 medium-size pears
Cardamom coconut cream
1/2 recipe Whipped Coconut
Cream Frosting (page 148)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 325F (160C, or gas mark 3). Line or grease an 8 1/2-inch (22 cm) loose bottom or spring-form tart pan.
To make the base
Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl or food processor and mix until evenly combined and it forms a dough. The dough should be soft but pliable and can be pinched between two fingers without breaking. Add the dough directly to the tart pan and press it against the bottom and sides to form a crust. Make sure there are no holes and the crust is as even as possible. Set aside in the fridge.
To make the filling
Roughly chop the figs and add them to a small saucepan with the water and spices. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and then reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer while stirring occasionally. After 5 to 10 minutes or when the figs easily break apart, remove the saucepan from the heat. Puree the figs with a stick blender until they turn into a thick jam-like consistency.
Remove the cores from the pears, halve the pears, and then thinly slice. Make sure the slices are about the same thickness to ensure they cook at the same rate.
To assemble: Spread 3/4 of the fig jam on the base and sides of the crust. Arrange the pear slices on top as desired, alternating with the remaining fig jam. The jam in between the pear slices allows the pears to remain in place.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the pear slices have softened. Test this by poking a knife in a pear slice in the middle of the tart. Cool for 5 minutes in the tart pan and carefully remove onto a serving plate.
To make the cardamom coconut cream: Follow the instructions on page 148 to make the Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting. Gently mix the cardamom into the cream.
Serve the tart warm with the Cardomom Coconut Cream. Store the tart in airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Whipped coconut cream frosting
Coconut cream often behaves in a similar way to dairy cream in cooking. All you need to do is chill and whip it, and then you have a super fluffy and creamy frosting! When buying coconut cream for this recipe, make sure you get canned cream that has no emulsifiers as you want the cream to separate from the water. If your cream does not whip, you may have a faulty can or the brand of cream simply does not whip.
One or two days beforehand, put the cans in the fridge to chill.
Scoop out only the thick coconut cream that has floated to the top of the can. Add the cream to a stand mixer or a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Use the whisk attachment or an electric hand whisk to whisk the cream for 5 to 10 minutes or until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge to set further.
WAYS TO USE
Whipped coconut cream can be served with desserts such as tarts and scones. You can also transform it into chocolate mousse if you mix melted chocolate into the cream when it’s whipped. If you still have leftover cream, you can use it in quiches or curries, or dilute with water to make coconut milk and bake it into cakes.
Coconut cream has a subtle natural sweetness, and you may not want to sweeten it further. If you prefer to sweeten it with no refined sugar, blend coconut sugar in a blender until it forms a powder and use it in the recipe. Alternatively, add a very small amount of liquid sweetener; otherwise, the coconut cream will not whisk. Some UHT coconut cream (with emulsifiers) whip perfectly. Make sure you chill the UHT coconut cream before whipping it.