cranberry sweet 'n' tarts
What I love about Cranberry Sweet ‘n’ Tarts is that they tick all the boxes. They have the looks, the flavor, and are dead easy to make!
Mounds of spiced cranberries on top of flat shapes of pastry – life couldn’t be more simple, nor more delicious.
The ingredients for the grain-free pastry are whizzed up in the food processor in seconds while the cranberries (frozen ones are used for this recipe) are slightly heated to release some of their juices. Chia seeds, cinnamon and maple syrup are combined with the fruit, pastry is rolled, shapes are cut out and cooked for 20 minutes. The cranberry mixture is then plonked on top of each pastry shape, back into the oven for a little further cooking and….voilà!…..grain-free, dairy-free, low FODMAP, glossy red tarts to treat yourself, your family and friends to!
Two things make cooking these tarts light work. The obvious one is the food processor but the other major helper may not be quite so obvious. It is the humble little chia seed. This little dot of a seed has the ability to gel liquid without any fuss. You just give it ten minutes to quietly work its magic on whatever needs thickening and hey presto! The chia seeds have set the liquid!
Traditionally, a starch made from corn, wheat, arrowroot, potato or tapioca would be used to handle a job like this and you would have to heat up the liquid to a certain temperature to get it to thicken whereas chia seeds will set a hot or cold liquid.
Chia seeds have no flavor but that has not stopped them from becoming a popular choice for setting jam, for raw food puddings, and as an addition to smoothies. Mostly though, I like to use them in grain-free baked goods and as a breadcrumb replacement in meat balls. I will go into more about these chia seed recipes in later blogs.
The handy little chia seed is not just good at gelling liquids….it is bursting at the sides with fiber, protein, good fats and many other nutrients. This little nutritional booster is definitely a cut above conventional starches! And what is more – chia seeds provide the perfect amount of a bit of crunch * for the Cranberry Sweet ‘n’ Tarts.
Although the chia seed is in the limelight here I just want to briefly mention another favorite seed of mine – the golden flaxseed. Golden flaxseeds are ground and used in the pastry for the Cranberry Sweet ‘n’ Tarts. This gives the pastry a ‘granita biscuit’ like flavor – a perfect match for tart fruit . So if you want to make these shiny red beauties – be sure to add the flax seeds…..and use the golden ones not the brown because the brown flaxseeds don’t have the same mellow flavor.
*Chia seeds do not dissolve in liquid but keep their ‘poppy seed’ texture. If you prefer you can grind them to a powder in a coffee grinder before using.
CRANBERRY SWEET 'N' TARTS
35g raw sugar
100g almond meal
50g golden flaxseeds, ground
50g potato starch
50g tapioca starch
60g purified coconut oil
1 egg yolk
230g frozen cranberries
60ml maple syrup
1 tspn cinnamon
20g white chia seeds*
Preheat oven to 150C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
To make the pastry put all ingredients in a food processor and process until combined. This should take about 5 to 10 seconds.Place the pastry in a freezer bag to prevent it drying out. If your kitchen is quite warm this will cause the dough to be too soft to handle and you will need to chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Roll dough between cling film (I use two large freezer bags instead) to 3mm – 5mm thick. Cut out circles using a 9cm diameter cookie cutter. I find it easier to roll out smaller amounts of the dough and cut 2 or 3 circles out at a time. I peel away the excess pastry from the cut out circles then lift the cling film and allow one cut out shape to drop into the palm of my hand. Then I gently place it onto the prepared baking tray and repeat the process until all the pastry has been used. Bake for 20 minutes. While the pastry is cooking make the filling.
To make the filling place the cranberries in a heavy based frying pan and cook on medium heat to defrost and release some of their juice. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir through the remaining ingredients. Set aside.
To assemble tarts divide mixture amongst the pastry bases, piling up the cranberries in the center of each one. Bake for further 10 minutes.
*Black chia seeds will do the same job as white ones but I think the white look better for this recipe.