If you're looking for a lighter dessert this holiday season that's fruity and creamy whilst still being full of festive flavors, this plant-based tart is the one for you. The creamy filling resembles a panna cotta consistency which it lends from the full-fat coconut milk in the recipe. Homemade cranberry and pomegranate curd bring a punch of zingy fruitiness to the filling which sits on an easy no-bake gingerbread spiced crust.
What's more, this cake is made with plant-based ingredients, and is dairy-free and gluten-free too. It can also be made nut-free by swapping out the pecans in the base for another ingredient. It's suitable for vegans, coeliacs and everyone in the family to enjoy this Christmas season.
Roasted buckwheat: Buckwheat is used to give the base of this tart a nice firm texture while keeping it gluten-free. If you don't want to use buckwheat, you can use oats or nuts of your choice in its place.
Pecans: Buttery pecans give flavor to the base of the tart. You can swap these out for extra buckwheat or oats to keep this tart nut-free.
Sea salt: A touch of salt helps to enhance the flavors of the tart crust while also helping to marry all the flavors together.
Coconut sugar: The base of the tart is sweetened with coconut sugar in order to keep it refined sugar-free. Coconut sugar also has a deep caramel flavor, which adds to the taste.
Ground spices: Ground ginger and cinnamon give a gingerbread flavor to the base of the tart which pairs really well with the fruit cranberry and pomegranate filling. Feel free to omit the spices if you'd prefer.
Coconut oil: This is added in order to bind the ingredients of the base together and to help them set once chilled.
Fresh cranberries: The star of the recipe, fresh cranberries on their own don't taste very good in my opinion. However, when combined with a sweetener and cooked with pomegranate seeds, their full potential is met! They become sweet, tangy, and zingy.
Maple syrup: I use maple syrup as the sweetener for the filling, but you could also use agave syrup if you'd prefer.
Full-fat canned coconut milk: It's important that the coconut milk you used is the full-fat variety as that fat is needed to help the tart set.
Vanilla bean paste: Because the fruit in this recipe is quite punchy and tangy, a touch of vanilla helps to mellow out and balance the flavors.
Agar-agar: This is a jelly substance that is obtained from red algae. It acts as the setting agent and vegan version of gelatine for this recipe.
White chocolate: Vegan-friendly white chocolate also helps to balance out the flavor of those tart berries by leaving a hint of white chocolate aftertaste. If you can't find dairy-free white chocolate, you can also use pure cacao butter in its place, which will also be less sweet.
How to make this recipe
Make the crust
If you are using raw buckwheat groats, you will need to toast them. Using a pan over medium heat, roast them in batches for 4-5 minutes until they begin to brown, tossing them so they brown evenly. Allow them to cool before using.
Next, prepare your tart pan by lining the base of it with some parchment paper. This recipe calls for a 9" tart pan with a removable base.
To prepare the base, firstly add the roasted buckwheat to your food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until you have a coarse flour consistency. I like to blend this first to avoid having large pieces of buckwheat in the base, however, if you would prefer a little more crunch, you can add the buckwheat into the food processor together with the remaining dry ingredients and blend them for a little less time.
Once the buckwheat has been ground up, add in the pecans, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and coconut sugar and blend again until the mixture reaches a floury consistency. Lastly add in the wet ingredients, the coconut oil, and water and blend again to form a dough consistency.
Press the base mixture into the tart pan using a spatula to compact it evenly into the case and sides of the pan. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling
For the filling, add the cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and maple syrup to a saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. The cranberries will burst and release their juices and the mixture should reduce by about half to form a jam. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly for 5-10 minutes.
Next, transfer the cranberry pomegranate jam to your blender and add the coconut milk, vanilla bean paste, and agar-agar. Blend thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Then pass the mixture through a sieve and place it back into a clean saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whilst stirring continuously. This will activate the agar so that it sets the tart once cooled later.
Break the white chocolate or cacao butter into small pieces and add to a large heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot cranberry pomegranate mixture into the bowl on top of the white chocolate and whisk until combined. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring the filling into the tart base. Gently tap the tart tin on your work surface to knock out any air bubbles.
Transfer the tart to the fridge to set for a minimum of 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Garnish the tart
Here's the fun part! You can garnish this tart to your heart's content, but my favorite way to top it off is with some sliced fresh cranberries and pomegranate seeds. Other options include adding different fresh berries, cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary sprigs, grated white chocolate, etc.
Store this tart in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
More vegan tarts
Don't forget to check out these 25+ vegan Christmas dessert recipes to get all your baking plans sorted this festive season!
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- Fresh cranberries
- Fresh pomegranate
- Line the base of a 9.5" springform tart pan with parchment paper.
- Add the roasted buckwheat to your food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until you have a course flour consistency.
- Add the pecans, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and coconut sugar and blend again until the mixture reaches a floury consistency. Lastly, add in the coconut oil and water and blend again to form a dough.
- Press the base mixture into the tart pan using a spatula to compact it evenly into the case and sides of the pan. Set aside in the fridge.
- For the filling, add the cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and maple syrup to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes until the cranberries have popped and cooked down. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly for 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer the cranberry pomegranate jam to your blender and add the coconut milk, vanilla bean paste, and agar-agar. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pass the mixture through a sieve and place it back into a clean saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whilst stirring continuously. This will activate the agar-agar.
- Add the white chocolate or cacao butter to a large heat-proof bowl and pour the hot cranberry pomegranate mixture into the bowl. Whisk until combined. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the filling into the tart base and gently tap the tart tin on your work surface to knock out any air bubbles. Transfer the tart to the fridge to set for a minimum of 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds and cranberries before serving.
- Store this tart in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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