Many great traditional or classic recipes only take a handful of natural ingredients. They don’t need products and often celebrate what’s seasonal. Sometimes these really easy dishes only take the tiniest of adjustments to become plant-based. A Plant-based Apple Tart is a great example of such a dish. The ingredients are few, it’s very easy to make, but the real elegance of the dish comes from its presentation.
This is my classic Plant-based Apple Tart, if a dish can be called both plant-based and classic that is. With a little care in the decorating, a plant-based apple tart can be a beautiful and elegant dessert. It’s also a perfect ‘make ahead’ dish to impress your guests or warming pudding for the family table. The naturally sweet dates add all the sugar needed, so there’s no need to add refined white sugar.
For your pastry case, you can make your own or use a store bought pastry. Serve with a plant-based ice cream, yoghurt or plant-based Creme Anglaise with your favourite plant-based milk and custard powder. If there are any leftovers, they taste delicious cold too.
Plant-Based Apple Tart
I have made my pastry recipe with 100% whole grain spelt, white flour and a 50/50 blend of white and wholemeal. If short on time ( or inclination) use your favourite store bought pastry instead.
If you are preparing a tart ahead of time
- prepare and blind bake the pastry
- prepare the date puree
- store sliced apples in acidulated water
- Assemble and bake in a preheated oven, just as your about to sit down for the main course, then dessert will be ready when you finish.
This recipe will line a 22cm/9″ tart tin.
- 1 1/2 cups flour of choice or 50/50 blend
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup mild tasting olive oil or canola, sunflower or grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp plant-based milk or water
- 1 cup pitted dates
- zest and juice of a lemon
- 3-4 apples – cored and thinly sliced
- Optional – oil for glazing
Put the dates and just enough water to cover the base of the pot and simmer until the dates soften, add more water if it evaporates. Add lemon juice and zest. You can blend to a smooth paste or leave crush to make a textured mix. Leave to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour and sea salt. Combine the oil and milk in a jug, whisk together. Slowly pour into the flour mix while stirring until the dough comes together.
Form the mixture into a ball, wrap in cling film. Press the pastry into a disc approximately 22cm round and 2-3cm thick. Rest the dough in the fridge for at least 15 minutes preferably for 30 minutes.
Peel, core and cut the apples into quarters. Cut into slice 2-3mm thick. If not using immediately, put into a bowl of water with a dash of lemon or apple cider vinegar to stop them browning. Drain and dry before using.
Blind baking the tart case
Pre-heat the oven 200ºC/180ºc fan-forced.
Line the base of a 22cm/9″ loose bottomed tart case with baking paper of a reusable tin liner and grease the sides of the tin.
Between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the pastry until approximately 3mm thick. Peel off the top sheet and gently lay the exposed side of pastry over the tart case, remove remaining paper and press the pastry into place, leaving excess pastry hanging over the edges. Use any scraps to patch tears or holes if needed.
Crumple one piece of the baking paper (it helps get the paper into the knocks of the tart tin) lay over the base of the tart case and fill with ceramic or aluminium baking beans. If you don’t have any, you can use dried rice, beans or other legumes. These can be kept and reused multiple times.
Place the tart case on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and bake for 5 more minutes, if the base isn’t lightly cooked, lower the oven temperature by 20ºC and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and trim overhanging pastry with a serrated knife.
Cover the base with date puree and arrange the apple slices in a decorative pattern.
Use a pastry brush glaze the apple slices with oil or lemon and water.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the apples are cooked and the pastry golden.