Vegan Lemon Strawberry Tartlettes
What happens when you combine a bit of frustration, a handful of hunger and a serious craving for cream?
Voila. These are what you get… Well, when you’re talking about a vegan who’s tired of the same old same old. In the last couple days I’ve been craving something baked, something creamy, something decadent and yet light.. and these are what I came up with. Inspired by the fact that my boss keeps on asking me to bake her a pie and my own craving for something other than fruit, I decided to compromise and make a tart with vegan pastry cream.
First I asked myself… do I really want pastry cream if it’s going to be vegan? There’s something so nice and sinful about traditional pastry cream, albeit fattening and probably artery clogging… but something there that just doesn’t feel right when you add the word “vegan” to it. However, the side of me who wants to try things that just sound impossible and weird decided that it was worth the effort to try and make a delicious Vegan cream.
Vegan Pastry Cream
2 c. Soymilk
1/2 c. AP Flour
1/2 c. Cane Sugar
Zest of two Lemons
Juice of two Lemons
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Combine the milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly. This is going to thicken up in about 5 minutes just like a Bechamel sauce. Once it thickens up, add the sugar and whisk well to combine. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, cook for another minute and then take it off of the heat. Transfer to a bowl and place saran wrap over the cream, directly on top, to avoid developing a film on the top. This stuff is tasty! And not as artery clogging as the real stuff.
Vegan Pastry Shells
3 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 c. Safflower Oil
1/2 c. Soymilk
1/2 c. H2O
3 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt
Combine the flour and the oil in a bowl until the flour looks crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well. The dough will be dry, but if it’s TOO dry, add some more water to the mix. I probably wound up with about .5 c of flour still in the bowl not incorporated into the large mass of dough.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8th of an inch and use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut out little circles. Press the circles into a muffin pan, making sure that there’s some dough coming up the sides of the pan. Imagine making itty bitty pie crusts, that is what you’re doing, after all! Bake these in a 425 degree oven for 12 minutes. I got about 28 little crusts and then made myself a galleta as well with the dough.
CONSTRUCTION: After the little crusts are baked, let them cool. When the pastry cream is chilled thoroughly, spoon it into the crusts and decorate with sliced strawberries. I made some of them into stars on the top, some of them had little strawberry petals off to one side and some of them I even decorated with some raw almonds for an extra texture.
I also made a crostada, which is basically a freeform tart. I made a large oval with the leftover dough and then spread the pastry cream over the dough just within an inch of the outside. I arranged the strawberries on the creme and then pinched the edges inwards to make a bit of a crust. Sprinkle the whole thing, even the edges, with some sugar. I baked this whole thing in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.