I’ve been looking to make a healthy vegan ‘custard’ for some time. Ever since my egg nog experiment, where the warm and spicy flavours of vanilla and nutmeg enveloped me.
I was recently inspired by this recipe for a cashew custard by Quirky Cooking, it looked deliciously simple but since I was in a ‘tart baking mood’ at the time I decided to modify it a bit to create a thicker custard that would suit a tart or pie filling. I also added a little nutmeg for a warming spice kick. If you want a thinner custard suitable for pouring you could reduce the amount of cashews and chia a little and slightly increase the water (or simply follow this recipe).
I had fun playing around with tart case options. Originally I wanted to go with a basic pastry shell and then pile the tart with fresh fruit berries, but as it happened I didn’t have any berries or suitable pretty fruit. So then I began thinking of ways to flavour the tart case in interesting ways.
Options…options! Either gingerbread and chocolate initially sprang to mind. Since I also had planned to make some of my healthy chocolate fudge to snack on during the week I thought it would be a good opportunity to test it out as a baked crust!
So, the tarts in the photos have a baked chocolate fudge crust, but you could also use your own tart case recipe. Baking the chocolate fudge seems to work really well as a sweet ‘pastry substitute’. It was really easy since the dough itself is very soft and easy to mould so I flattened a ball of it in my hands and then pressed it into a tart case with my fingers, or you could roll the dough and use cutters.
Taste test for the sweetness of the custard as soon as it’s mixed before you spoon it into the cases and add extra agave or a little stevia as necessary. I used a sweet tart case so the custard itself didn’t need to be overly sweet, if you were using a less sweet tart pastry style case then you may prefer a sweeter custard filling.
Recipe: Baked chocolate fudge custard tarts
Makes 1 medium bowl of thick custard
- 100g raw cashews
- 400g water
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or powder (best quality)
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbs ground chia
- 70g agave (plus a pinch of stevia if you require additional sweetness to taste)
- 30g cornflour
To make the custard, grind the cashews to get a fine meal. Add all ingredients along with the cashews to medium pan and bring to the boil for 5 minutes stirring continuously.
Alternatively using a Thermomix, grind the cashews for 10 seconds speed 9 and then add all ingredients to the bowl. Cook the mixture at 90C speed 4 for 5 minutes.
Lightly grease the tart pans and line with your chosen tart case. Spoon the custard into the prepared tart cases (if using the chocolate fudge crust line the tart pans with a 3mm thick layer of raw fudge dough) and bake at 180C for approx. 10 minutes until the tart tops are on the verge of going golden, keep a close eye so they don’t brown.