Monday, April 23, 2012

Something a little different

Relief. Excitement. Happiness. Pride. I just finished a HUGE project this weekend that has consumed a considerable amount of time lately: one that I’m so excited about but unfortunately can’t share just yet. Hopefully come June I’ll be able to share – I’m very happy with the way my part in it turned out. But since I can’t share that particular project, here’s something else that I’ve been meaning to share for awhile.
Something a little different this time: a vegan maple tartlet recipe.
Here in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, maple season has just ended after an earlier than normal start. We visited two different, local cabanes a sucre (sugar shacks) this season and left armed with a fresh supply of maple syrup and one irresistible jar of taffy. We enjoyed a traditional maple brunch, sampled the desserts, and had taffy on snow while walking through the animal petting zoo.

We hiked the trails through the acres of tapped maple trees and watched as the wood fires were lit to boil down the clear sap into the beautiful, sweet, golden syrup we’re used to.

To celebrate the season that brings us that beautiful, sweet liquid gold, we decided to bake some vegan maple tartlets. Inspired by the desserts we tasted at the cabane, these are a tad healthier with silken tofu replacing the cream, but no less delicious. Maybe I should make another batch to celebrate the end of that big project?

Maple Tartlets:
Maple Filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
1/2 tetra pak (about 2/3 cup) of silken tofu, blended till smooth without any chunks
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/8 cup arrowroot starch
pinch of salt

Gluten-free Dough:
2/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 tbsp vegan butter
2-3 tbsp ice water, as needed
To prepare the dough, pulse the flours, arrowroot and sugar in a food processor till combined. Add the butter in small chunks and pulse till combined. The dough should begin to come together as a ball. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, til dough is a good consistency. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and cool in fridge for half an hour.

While dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Heat brown sugar and maple in a pot over medium heat until sugar is melted. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir. Add the blended silken tofu and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk and stir until completed combined. Stir in the arrowroot and salt, making sure the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 4 or 5 tartlet molds on a baking sheet. Roll out the tart dough on a gluten-free floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Fill four to five 4.5 inch tartlet molds with the dough. If it tears a little just press it back together. Divide the filling evenly among the molds. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until centres are just about set. Cool completely.

Note: You’ll notice that my blog will be changing a little, ever so slightly, to include posts featuring some of my other interests. I just think that a self-titled blog should be a little more representative of me. You’ll find that I’ll be including posts about cooking and baking, gardening, travel and photography along with my art. If you’re here just to see my art, don’t worry, you’ll be able to access all posts featuring original artwork at the sidebar under "My Art" or by clicking on the “ART” or “PAINTING” tags. Hope you enjoy my evolving creative space!

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