It is really easy to get overwhelmed by the tasks of life. Dishes, laundry, memos, templates, bills, groceries, meetings, appointments…
There are days that I push through the agenda with my head down – a narrow focus on the goal: survival.
But there are also moments, that stop me in my tracks, when joy hits me straight in the stomach and consumes me, leaving behind a huge smile and warm glow.
I am often delighted by little things – pink clouds at sunrise, a sale on kale, three-year-old’s knock-knock jokes. However, for me, there is nothing like being in the presence of great friends, with great food to incite fits of stomach-aching laughter and overwhelming joy!
When I know I’m going to be with people who make it worth trudging across the city for an hour with a huge tart pan, I feel inspired to fill that pan with some very special.
1 1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup dates
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cups cashews, soaked two hours and drained
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 TBSP dried lavender flowers
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP cacao butter, melted
1 cup frozen blueberries
Directions (I wanted this to be a dish to impress so I didn’t take any short-cuts this time):
In a food processor pulse the nuts and salt into a fine meal. Pour the nuts into a bowl and set aside. In a food processor pulse the dates and the vanilla extract until a paste is achieved (there will be lots of side scraping involved). Add the nuts back into the food processor and pulse to combine. Press the crust evenly into a tart pan. Put the the tart pan in the fridge or freezer to set while you you make the filling.
For the filling, in a blender pulse the cashews until a fine meal/flour consistency is achieved. Add the almond milk, agave, lemon juice, vanilla bean, lavender and sea salt and blend until completely smooth. Add the coconut oil and cacao butter and blend until just combined. Reserve 1 cup of the filling mixture. Pour the rest into a bowl and set aside. Return the reserved cup of filing to the blender and add the blueberries. Blend until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of the blueberry mixture for garnish in a piping bag or a plastic ziploc bag.
Pour the blueberry filling into the tart crust and smooth with an off-set spatula. Bang the tart pan against the counter a couple of times to ensure there are not air bubbles in the filling. Return the tart pan to the freezer for 30 minutes (until the layer is completely firm). Pour the reserved, white filling layer, into the tart pan. Smooth with an off-set spatula and bang on the counter to remove air bubbles. Using the piping bag or ziploc bag, pipe small circles of the blueberry filling across the top of the tart. Pull a skewer through the circles in one quick motion to make the heart pattern. Return the tart to the freezer to set until serving.
A slice of this tart is perfect on its own but if you can arrange to pair it with the company of people who think you’re both ridiculous and wonderful – each bite will benefit from the addition.