"These sublime savoury tarts pack a super flavour punch. A spicy base made with sesame seeds and toasted pecans is covered in a light creamy cashew béchamel, all topped off with an abundant mix of sweet and earthy carrots and beetroot. They are grain-free, vegan and perfect for a comforting but light lunch or supper."
Roasted root vegetables:
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
Spiced sesame pecan crust:
170g ground pecans
105g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger and cardamom
1.5 teaspoons of salt
65ml rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons of filtered water
85g sesame seeds
25g coconut oil
40g gram flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
450ml cashew milk
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F). Grease six round 10x2cm deep tartlet tins.
Peel and cut the tops off the carrots. Cut them lengthways into about 3cm long pieces, then quarter into small crudité-sized strips. Scrub the beetroot, quarter them and slice the same thickness as the carrots. Peel, quarter and slice the onions. On a large baking tray, mix up the vegetables with the garlic, oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour, checking halfway through. They are ready when a skewer inserts easily into the centre of the vegetables. Remove from the oven, adjust the seasoning while still warm, and set aside.
Meanwhile, to make the base, combine the ground pecans, almonds, spices, salt, oil and water in a food processor. Add the sesame seeds and blitz until the mix looks like breadcrumbs and sticks together when you pick up a piece in your hand. Divide the pastry mix between greased tins – you will get about 70g per tart – and press it down with your fingertips and a sharp palette knife to make the crust, pressing it into the edges and making sure it's even. Put the tins on a baking tray and bake in the same oven as the vegetables for about 15–20 minutes or until dark golden brown.
To make the béchamel, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add the gram flour and whisk in vigorously. Add the mustard and then gradually start to add the cashew milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. The sauce should start to thicken and look smooth. Add the yeast flakes and season to taste. Stir again and taste and season more if necessary. You can make this in advance for use later, but note that when it cools it will thicken slightly, so before filling your tarts with it, return it to the heat and add some extra milk to loosen.
Finish off the vegetables by adding the freshly chopped herbs and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mix the béchamel with a whisk until really smooth, use it to fill the tarts and then top with all the vegetables, pushing them into the béchamel slightly. Serve with salad or steamed vegetables. These tarts are great served warm or cold and keep well for three days in the fridge.
Recipe kindly contributed by Henrietta Inman, from her book Clean Cakes.