You could make these no-bake peach tarts because you can't bear to turn on the oven on a hot summer day. You could make them because you're gluten-free or raw or vegan or paleo or whathaveyou. Or, you could make them because the combination of ripe peaches, ginger, and coconut is simply irresistible.
Living in a small space means that turning on the oven heats up my whole apartment — cozy in winter, but in summer? Not so much. Thus, even before I adopted a gluten-, dairy-, nut-, and refined-sugar-free diet, fresh fruit desserts were among my favorite hot weather treats. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and berries are so glorious this time of year that they can pretty much stand on their own, anyway. Yet sometimes you do want to make something special like a tart, whether for yourself or for company, and this is a recipe for those days.
The naturally sweet, chewy crust is made with dates, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. An overwhelming number of raw and vegan recipes rely on almonds, cashews, or macadamias, but as I'm allergic to nuts, I've been playing around with alternatives. For this tart I really like a combination of sunflower and flax seeds. Too many flax seeds can be overpowering, but here I think they provide just the right amount of nutty richness.
Ginger goes especially well with peaches, so I add fresh ginger to the crust and ginger juice to the coconut butter cream that sits between the crust and the peaches. The tarts are sweet, zingy, and fresh — just right for summer.
Peach Tarts with Ginger and Coconut
Recipe adapted from the Tropical Fruit Tartlets in Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley
Makes 4 (4-inch) tarts
For the crust:
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup pitted dates, chopped — plus a few more if needed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
For the cream filling:
1/4 cup coconut butter
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk or water
1 teaspoon ginger juice (made by pressing grated ginger through a strainer)
For the peaches:
3-4 ripe peaches
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
4 (4-inch) tart pans with removable bottoms
To prepare the crust, place the sunflower seeds, flax seeds, coconut, and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add 2/3 cup dates and the ginger, and process until well combined and sticky. The mixture may look crumbly, but it should hold together when pinched between your fingers. If necessary, add more dates to get the right consistency.
Divide the mixture between 4 tart pans and press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or freeze for at least 2 hours. If freezing, let soften a bit before assembling.
When ready to assemble the tarts, gently remove the tart shells from their pans.
To make the cream, combine the coconut butter, milk/water, and ginger juice in a small bowl and mix with a fork until smooth. Divide the cream between the four shells and spread it evenly across the bottom.
Thinly slice the peaches and sprinkle with lemon juice. (Lemon juice is optional, but helps to prevent discoloration of the peaches.) Arrange the peach slices on top of the cream in concentric circles.
Serve immediately (recommended) or wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to a day (tarts will still be good but may get a bit soggy).
Nut and seed substitutions: 1 cup of almonds, cashews, or other nuts of your choice can be substituted for the sunflower and flax seeds.
Dates: Soft, moist varieties like Medjool or Barhi are ideal. Drier dates may require you to use a bit more than the amount called for.
Coconut butter: To make your own coconut butter, see this tutorial: 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut will yield about 1/4 cup of butter, but for best results I recommend processing at least 2 cups at a time.
Sweetness: I find that the dates, coconut, and ripe summer peaches are plenty sweet, but you can top the tarts with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar for additional sweetness and shine.
(Images: Emily Ho)