Posts tagged tart
Christmas day done.... and the chickpea hazelnut tart!

Christmas day never fails to disappoint. The one day of the year where I feel able to totally relax and chill out... no need to be anywhere or so anything, other than spend time with family, peel veg, eat (lots), read books, watch TV, play games... basically whatever takes our fancy in the moment. I love the notion that the whole world is taking time out to relax too. I love that vision, opening my curtains in the morning and imagining what is happening inside all the other houses in my street. 

A little frustrating was that this year I had a cold. I very rarely get ill and i've had this cold for almost two weeks which is a wake up call that I was working myself too hard over these last few months. That didn't stop me enjoying the day, it just meant the early Christmas morning run I went on last Christmas day didn't happen this year.... as I can't breathe properly! I am planning on picking up running again in the New Year. I find it meditative, and I could really do with more of that in my life.

We'll talk all about goals and resolutions another time soon but for now.... my Christmas day and food!!

I made this mushroom chickpea and hazelnut tart largely inspired and changed very little from the original recipe by Kathy at Healthy Happy Life. I didn't have any sage- all the shops had sold out!  so I couldn't add that, otherwise it was pretty much the same. I made this tart for myself and my dad who are both plant-based. The rest of my family ate meat but wanted me to make some stuffing (usually they use my nut roast as stuffing), so with a little twist, I added extra oats to the tart mix and pressed it in to an oven dish and voila... 2 dishes from one recipe. I got a tart they got some stuffing.

I added the recipes below so you can see the differences and make which ever you prefer as a main or side dish.

I also had lots of potatoes, steamed and roasted veg, bread sauce (I indulged in gluten a little over xmas), plus a dish of pan fried maple glazed brussel sprouts with red onion and chestnuts... yum!

Recipe: Chickpea hazelnut tart with a spelt crust



  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup mild oil (I used olive)
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk of choice


  • 3 cups chestnut mushrooms- chopped 
  • 1 large white onion- chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • juice of one orange (approx 1/4 cup) and 1/2 tsp zest
  • 2/3 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • 400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fine corn meal (polenta)
  • 2 Medjool Dates or 5 deglet nor, pitted and diced
  • 1 heaped up kale, finely chopped, loosely packed
  • a few pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt + 1/8 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced

See note below for stuffing additions.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Prepare crust. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk and oil in separate bowl then process together to achieve a slightly sticky crumbly mixture. Using your hands form a ball  that will roll out without crumbling, roll to fill the base and sides of a 9" pie dish. I had a little leftover to make holly leaves!

Bake for approx. 10 minutes until just golden. Set aside.

Meanwhile start on your tart filling. Warm a frying pan over high heat, add the coconut oil. Add mushrooms, onion and rosemary. Saute until browned, about 3-5 minutes over high heat. Onions and mushrooms shoul lightly brown and reduce in size. Fold the salt, black pepper, cayenne, nutritional yeast and parsley into the mushroom mixture. Turn off heat and set the pan aside.

Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a hot pan for 2 minutes until they begin to give off an aroma. Then, in a food processor process the hazelnuts until they are coarsely chopped. Add the chickpeas and process for a few seconds until the chickpeas until coarsely mixed in with the nuts. 

Put the nut chickpea mix in a bowl and add the orange juice, veg stock, dates, kale and corn meal to the large mixing bowl and fold the ingredients together. Add the mushroom mixture to the chickpea-hazelnut mixture and fold everything together. Stir for about a minute.

Spoon this filling into the pie crust and pat down to smooth the top. Add the chopped red pepper over top and press in lightly. 

Bake tart at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. (see notes on Kathy post for other notes on timings) Allow tart to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving, it can cool for up to a half hour. 

Stuffing: For a firmer crust-free stuffing style alternative I added 1 1/2 cups oats and 1 tbs soy sauce (to bump up flavours since the oats 'dilute' it). Press into  pan and rough the top with a fork. 

Note: I made both the tart and stuffing this the day before and warmed in the oven for 15 minutes on Christmas day itself- I left it in for 20 mins and browned the top a bit too much! It also tastes great chilled as I had the following 2 days!

I also tried making a trifle.

Trifle is a childhood favourite for me... especially the way my mum makes it with sponge and  raspberries in jelly, a blancmange layer and then a whipped cream layer with sprinkles on top!! But since being vegan I haven't been able to eat it. I've always had it in mind to attempt my own and so this year I did... I worked pretty well BUT I couldn't get the whipped coconut to work- that should have in theory been the easiest part!! Annoying. It's not a recipe I consider blog worthy and for the all the effort that went into it i doubt i will attempt it again... i'll just enjoy the memories of my mum's version :-)

The trifle kind of worked... topped with some vanilla Wholeplus Toppers

The trifle kind of worked... topped with some vanilla Wholeplus Toppers

How did you sped your Christmas day?  Food? Family? A big gathering or a quiet affair?


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Baked Chocolate Fudge Custard Tarts

I’ve been looking to make a healthy vegan ‘custard’ for some time. Ever since my egg nog experimentwhere 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

Ingredients- 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.

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