Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Tart with Candied Pecans

The filling for this tart is actually made with garnet yams, but calling the tart a Garnet Yam Tart doesn't have quite the same ring to it.  I prefer using yams over sweet potatoes or even pumpkin puree because of their natural sweetness and their deep orange color.  And because they are so sweet you can cut down on the sugar in the recipe and even use a natural sweetener such as maple syrup, which is what I used.  I also prefer serving tarts over pies.  I love the way they look with their perfect crimped edges and I prefer the filling to dough ratio.  If you don't have a tart pan, no problem, use your favorite pie pan and crimp the edges to your liking.  BTW, this is totally delish and I will definitely be serving this for dessert this Thanksgiving.

Flaky Pastry Crust Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp unfiltered sugar
12 tbsp or 1-1/2 sticks Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, cut into small cubes, frozen
4 tbsp or 1/2 stick Earth Balance Natural Shortening, cut into small cubes, frozen
1/4-1/2 cup cold filtered water

  • Add flour, salt, sugar to a food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Using the pulse mode add butter and shortening and pulse until the texture is crumbly and the fat resembles small peas.
  • While still in pulse mode, drizzle in water slowly until dough sticks together when pressed in your hand.
  • Remove dough from bowl and place on a cutting board and form into a 1" high flat disk/circle.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.
Yam Filling:

1 3/4 cup garnet or red yam puree, about two medium yams, baked, pureed
1 1/4 cup cashew cream, see recipe below
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup silken tofu
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp kosher salt

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Wash yams and stick with a fork several times and place directly on the oven rack and bake for about an hour until soft.  Remove from oven to cool.  
  • Once yams are cooled, peel and place in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Measure out 1 3/4 cup puree and place back in food processor--you may not use all of the puree depending on the size of your yams.
  • In a small bowl whisk together cashew cream and corn starch and add to food processor along with all the other ingredients and blend until smooth.  Set aside until ready to use.
  • On a lightly floured cutting board, roll out the dough to 3/8" thick and line a 9" tart pan, pressing along the sides and removing excess from the edges.  Reserve excess dough to make leaves.  
  • With the prongs of a fork, prick the bottom of the dough several times and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.
  • Remove tart from the freezer and place on a sheet tray and using a spatula, add filling and smooth the top surface.  If using a tart pan, you will have a little extra filling left over.
  • Position oven rack in the center of the oven and bake tart for 45-55 minutes, rotating tart/sheet pan half way through the cooking process.  When ready the tart will puff up, there will be no jiggle in the center of the tart and will be lightly golden brown.
  • Set tart on a cooling rack and let cool for about 15 minutes before removing the tart ring.
  • To remove the ring, position tart on a wide-rimmed can and let tart ring fall away from the bottom of the tart.
  • Carefully place tart on serving plate and let come to room temperature (about 3 hours before cutting).
  • Garnish with candied pecans and pastry leaves and serve with your favorite vegan whipped topping or ice cream.  Or add some maple syrup to the leftover cashew cream and drizzle over sliced tart.

Cashew Cream:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in filtered water
Enough water to cover in the blender

  • Drain cashews and place in the blender.  Add enough filtered water to cover and blend on high until smooth, about 4 minutes.  
  • If you do not have a high-speed blender like a vita mix, then strain the cashew cream to remove any solids.
  • Measure out 1 1/4 cup and set aside
Candied Pecans:

1/2 cup whole raw pecans
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt

  • Blanch pecans in boiling water for about 1 minute.
  • Drain and toss in powdered sugar to coat.
  • Cover a sheet tray with a silpat or parchment paper and bake pecans in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, turning pecans over half way through the cooking process.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely before using.
Sugared Pastry Leaves:
  • Roll out remaining dough to 3/8" thick and using a leaf cookie cutter, cut and then score the veins of the leaves with a small paring knife.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp of cashew cream and 1 tbsp of filtered water.
  • Brush each leaf with cashew mixture and then sprinkle with unfiltered sugar to cover.
  • Place leaves on a sheet tray covered with a silpat or parchment paper and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown around the edges. 
  • Remove from oven and place on a plate to cool.


  1. Can I please come to your house for Thanksgiving?! All this food is insane... I will be busting out a lame Tofurkey most likely but really am enjoying some of your ideas... You rock! And seriously, I want to come! Haha

  2. Thanks! Stay tuned because I will be posting this week a couple entree ideas that you may want to use instead of the Tofurkey.