Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Wrap fruit in some tasty, attractively shaped dough and you have an elegant dessert that is actually good for you.
The dough quickly mixes up and unlike butter pastry, it is unfussy and easy to work. Made with chestnut and buckwheat flours and nutmeg, vanilla, and sweet potato, this tender dough is naturally sweet, low in fat, and gluten-free.
Filled then with plums and grapes, baked all soft and jammy, just top these tasty tartlets with a dollop of crème fraiche (easy to make with my homemade soy yogurt), and you’ve got a scrumptious dessert for the holidays. What’s not to love?
Plant-based, whole grain, gluten-oil-sugar-salt free
Prep time 50 minutes Bake time 40 minutes Makes 12
High speed blender (or use food processor) to blend date paste
Food processor to mix dough
1” bristle pastry brush
Spice or coffee grinder to grind nutmeg
12 French 3” mini brioche pans
Water spray bottle
For Crème Fraîche
12” by 12” square of muslin
1 cup chestnut flour, plus a bit for dusting the board
1 cup buckwheat flour
3 Tablespoons arrowroot
3 Tablespoons golden flaxseed, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup date paste from 1/3 cup pitted dates, any variety
1 cup hot sweet potato pulp, microwaved or baked
8 red and/or black plums
1 bunch of seedless red or black grapes
1 carton frozen apple juice concentrate, reduced
2 cups soy yogurt will produce 1 cup of crème fraîche
Hint 1! You can purchase chestnut flour online and in Italian specialty shops. Italian chestnuts are harvested and milled in early autumn and hit the market soon thereafter. Buy your chestnut flour in October or November from this year’s harvest and keep it fresh and sweet by storing it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.
Hint 2! Kick the flavor and nutritional potency of your spices way up by grinding just the amount you need, right before use. Spices keep far longer as intact whole seeds, bark, nuts, dried fungi, and chilis. Store whole spices in a cool, dark cupboard.
Hint 3! Select fruit that are of a similar size and not overly ripe to facilitate slicing.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C
Make Date Paste
In a nonmetallic bowl cover dates with water and microwave for 2 minutes or simmer on a stovetop for 5 minutes. Cool. Blend both the fruit and soaking water in a high-speed blender until very smooth.
Make the Apple Glaze
Empty the apple juice concentrate into a saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes or until it reduces sufficiently to lightly coat the back of a teaspoon. The glaze will continue to thicken slightly as it cools. The glaze should be sufficiently thin to easily apply with a natural bristle brush. If need be, thin with water. Apple glaze will keep in the fridge for several weeks or can be frozen.
Prep the Fruit
Cut the plums in half, pit, cut each half in ¼” slices.
Cut grapes in quarters.
Make the Dough
Combine all dry dough ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the vanilla, date paste, and sweet potato, piping hot from the oven or microwave. Run for 1-2 minutes or until the dough gathers into a soft, pliant, moist ball. If it fails to gather because the mix is too dry, add a bit more sweet potato pulp and try again. If the mix is too wet, add a bit more chestnut or buckwheat flour.
Make the Crème Fraîche
Spoon the yogurt into a square of muslin. Gather up the sides and tie with string, Hang over a bowl or over the sink and allow to strain for 2 hours to thicken. Transfer to a storage container and set aside in the fridge.
Create the Tartlets
Divide the dough in 12 equal pieces. Remove one piece. Keep the others well covered with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel to keep moist and warm.
Very lightly dust the board if the dough sticks. Roll into a 4” disk, about 3/8” thick. Fold and press lightly into your mini brioche tartlet tin. Spritz very lightly with water. Cover with plastic wrap. Roll and shape the remaining pieces of dough.
Arrange 4-6 slices of plum, skin side up, in each tartlet tin, draping each slice slightly over the pastry. Fill in gaps between the plum slices and in the center with slices of grapes.
Place brioche tins on a cookie sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check them at 30 minutes. The tartlets are done when the crust is golden and the fruit is easy to pierce with a sharp paring knife.
Remove from oven and cool tartlets in their tins on a cooling rack. Any juice released during baking will congeal as the tartlets cool. When they are easy to handle, wiggle the crust around the tartlet’s perimeter very gently to release each tartlet from its brioche tin. Using a pastry brush, glaze the fruit and dough rim with the apple glaze.
Serve warm or reheat for a few minutes in a warm oven or a few seconds in a microwave. Top each plum chestnut tartlet with a dollop of soy yogurt.