Alternative baking is the new baking! Whether you’re eschewing grains, dairy or sugar (or in the case of this book, all three), Clean Cakes has a sweet or savory baked confection for you. Enlist the help of British pastry chef Henrietta Inman and an expanded pantry to reap the benefits of extra-friendly goodies everyone can enjoy.
These sublime savory tarts pack a super flavor punch. A spicy base made with sesame seeds and toasted pecans is covered in a light and creamy cashew béchamel, all topped off with an abundant mix of sweet and earthy carrots and beetroot. They are grain-free, vegan and perfect for a comforting but light lunch or supper.
Note: To make one large tart, line a 10- to 11-inch tart tin with the above quantity of pastry and increase the baking time to 15-20 minutes or until dark golden brown, then fill as above.
Roasted root vegetables
- 4 large carrots, about 1 pound 5 ounces
- 4 beetroots, about 1 pound 3 ounces
- 2 onions
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin cold-pressed grapeseed oil or coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing pan
- coarse sea salt
- black pepper, optional
- Generous bunch of fresh herbs such as coriander (cilantro) and parsley, finely chopped
Spiced sesame and pecan crust
- 1 1/2 cups ground pecan nuts
- Scant 1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1/2 teaspoons each ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger and cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin cold-pressed grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
- 2/3 cup black and white sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Generous 1/3 cup gram flour
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Scant 2 cups cashew milk
- 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the tarts
Preheat the oven to 345°F. Grease six round 4 x ¾ inch tartlet tins.
Peel and cut the tops off the carrots. Cut them lengthways into about 1¼ inch–long pieces, then quarter into small crudité-sized strips. Scrub the beetroot, quarter them and slice the same thickness as the carrots. Peel, quarter and slice the onions. On a large baking tray, mix up the vegetables with the garlic, oil and a generous amount of salt and black pepper, if using. Roast for about 1 hour, checking halfway through. They are ready when a skewer inserts easily into the center of the vegetables. Remove from the oven, adjust the seasoning while still warm, and set aside.
Meanwhile, to make the base, combine the ground pecans, almonds, spices, salt, oil and water in a food processor. Add the sesame seeds and blitz until the mix looks like bread crumbs and sticks together when you pick up a piece of it in your hand. Divide the pastry mix between the greased tins — you will get about 2½ ounces per tart — and press it down with your fingertips and a step palette knife (frosting spatula) to make the crust, pressing it into the edges and making sure it is even. Put the tins on a baking tray and bake in the same oven as the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes or until dark golden brown. Leave to cool.
To make the béchamel, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add the gram flour and whisk in vigorously. Add the mustard and then gradually start to add the cashew milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. The sauce should start to thicken and look smooth. Add the yeast flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Stir again and taste and season more if necessary. You can make this in advance for use later, but note that when it cools it will thicken slightly, so before filling your tarts with it, return to the heat and add some extra milk to loosen.
Finish off the vegetables by adding the freshly chopped herbs and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, if necessary. Mix the béchamel with a whisk until really smooth, use it to fill the tarts and then top with all of the vegetables, pushing them into the béchamel slightly. Serve with salad or steamed green vegetables. These tarts are great served warm or cold and keep well for three days in the fridge.