I woke this morning with a burning desire for pastry. This was not a normal desire. It was one that I would kill for. There has been talk for some time that there is a patisserie opening up in my little neck of the woods. I think it’s now veering towards a cafe and eatery with beautiful desserts, but I have the word patisserie burning in my brain.
I know I will not be able to eat a single thing there, but I hope it is wonderful so I can go and just salivate over amazing desserts for a little while. All day I have been thinking of Paris. Many moons ago, I was lucky enough to spend a few years overseas and on occasion work would take me to Paris.
I loved Paris. I loved some of the people I worked with. I can remember meeting up with a colleague one morning thinking how impossibly French she was (she was French). We were both hungover from drinking all night and doing the same crap that people in their mid 20’s do the world over, but she sounded so French (she was French). The way she ordered her cafe au lait and pain au chocolat was so stylishly French (she was French).
I was simply green with envy at the Frenchness of it all. When I bit into that pastry I was transported to another place. Can anything taste as good as freshly baked French pastry in the morning?
I have always loved French things and I have always loved pastry. If I won lotto, I know what I would do. I would hire a nanny and I would pack myself and the kids up and I would go study pastry at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
If money was no object, I would be content to study for a year or two and if the kids ended up with a love of pastry and a second language, then who would I be to complain? So all day my French-inspired crushes and a craving for pastry have been running through my head. On top of that I have had dogs to walk, work to do, Eisteddfods to attend and birthday parties to assist at.
But I could not stop thinking about pastry.
I had a spare hour between 3 and 4 where work was done and the kids were occupied. So I googled ‘best ever vegan pastry’ and trawled through some recipes. The pastry I have shared so far has been good for its purpose. The pastry for the galette was perfect for a galette. The pastry for the apples pies was sturdy and solid and rustic. The dates and almonds/dates and walnuts tart shells were a fabulous vegan version. But none of those would satisfy my craving today. I needed a new recipe. I wanted flaky. I wanted indulgence. God dammit I wanted Paris in a mouthful! And you know what?
I found it!
I have literally died and gone to heaven. When people say something was better than sex, I now know what they mean. Admittedly it has been a while, but still, I can’t think of many things better than what I have just eaten. I think I need to go back a little bit to explain what I am going on about, as it is quite unlike me to launch into a conversation that starts with talking about dying and going to heaven and then mentioning sex. It is not like me at all.
Vegan Tarts with Cashew Cream and Cherries
- 8 loose-bottomed small fluted tart cases ready to go.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon almond milk
Pulse all the ingredients together in a kitchen whizz. Be warned: this is not a roll out pastry and it will be very moist and crumbly. It will almost resemble a wet cookie dough. (When I first saw it I thought – oh bugger I need to try another recipe – but rather than waste it I thought I would continue and I am so glad I did). As long as the mixture holds together when you press it, it is of the right consistency. Then press into each tart case until evenly distributed. Line with some baking paper and pie weights and cook in 180 degree oven for 30 minutes or so.
- 1 cup raw cashews – soaked for about 2 hours
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Put into vitamiser and add 1/4 – 3/4 cup water. Vitamise until smooth and desired consistency of thickened cream.
Cherry topping and glaze:
I used a can of pitted black cherries.
I reduced the syrup over a low heat until it resembled a glaze.
Wait until the pastry shells are cold and fill with cashew cream. Top with Cherries, garnish with cherry glaze.
Be transported to a heavenly place!