This is one of my favourite tarts – not only does it look stunning covered with the maple-coated pistachios, but I’m also crazy about the tropical caramel flavour that the combination of coconut sugar, vanilla pod and dates provides. It can be made with or without butter. Both versions are great; however, if you’re not vegan and you’re looking for something a wee bit more decadent, then I say go with the butter. It’s also particularly good topped with Greek yogurt, but you won’t be disappointed if you eat it plain.
- 70 g (2½ oz/½ cup) almonds
- 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) dried, unsweetened, grated coconut
- 30 g (1 oz/¼ cup) coconut flour
- 45 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) plus 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, packed
- 45 g (1½ oz/½ cup) regular rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 35 g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) brown rice flour
- 5 tbsp melted extra virgin coconut oil, plus more for oiling tin
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) pitted deglet noor dates
- 240 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water
- 5 cardamom pods
- pinch sea salt
- 2 x 7.5 cm (3-in) strips orange zest
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 mirin or white dessert wine
- 2 tbsp unsweetened raspberry jam
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp unsalted or salted butter, optional
- 4 tsp maple sugar
- 4 tsp pure maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 140 g (5 oz/1 cup) raw pistachios, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 15 minutes
To toast the almonds, preheat oven to 150ºC. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Add almonds and spread them out in a single layer. Place on middle rack of oven, toast for 10 minutes, stir and continue toasting for 8 to 10 minutes or until fragrant. The inside should be light brown; if not, return to oven for another 2 minutes and check again. Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray.
To make the pastry, preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Line bottom of springform tin with baking parchment and lightly oil the sides.
Add almonds, coconut, coconut flour, palm sugar, oats and salt to a food processor and grind until fine, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and mix in rice flour. Drizzle in coconut oil and use a fork or your fingertips to mix until all flour is moistened. Add maple syrup and vanilla; mix again. Pastry should be moist but not sticky. Wash and dry your hands and press pastry evenly into bottom of prepared tin – do not press it up sides. Bake for 18 minutes or until set but not cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on.
To make the filling, place dates, water, cardamom pods, salt and orange zest in a small pan. Split vanilla pod in half lengthways, scrape out seeds with the tip of a small knife and add to pan along with pod. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until mixture simmers. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until dates are completely soft. Remove lid, stir in mirin or dessert wine and continue cooking uncovered for 10 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated and dates are pasty. Remove from heat; stir in raspberry jam, vanilla extract and butter (if using). Remove and compost cardamom pods, orange zest and vanilla pod. Spread mixture over pre-baked tart shell and set aside.
To make the topping, place maple sugar, maple syrup, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Add pistachios and toss to coat. Sprinkle evenly over date layer and bake for 20 minutes or until nuts are slightly golden and shiny. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before running a knife around edge of tin, removing sides and cooling completely.
• Transfer the nuts to a jar and store in the fridge for up to a month.
Recipe and image from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well by Amy Chaplin (Quarto Books, $39.99, hbk).