These tartlets are a real treat for Christmas morning, or a special dessert. If you're going to be pressed for time, make up the nut crust the day before, refrigerate, and have things ready to go for the morning. Simply chop up the fruits, and spoon into the ramekins. We love all of these versions, and Rex and I enjoy sharing them with each other so that we can enjoy all the different tastes and flavors in one sitting. However, one ramekin is plenty for one person for a dessert!
Makes 4 Small Ramekins (2 inches diameter) for 4 people
1/2 cup mixed nuts: almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts (equal amounts of each)
2 Medjool dates, pits removed
1 tablespoon honey
Tiny pinch Himalayan salt, optional
Put nuts and dates into food processor and grind to desired texture.
Add honey and process until well mixed. The dough should hold together when pinched between thumb and index/middle fingers. If it doesn't, add a teaspoon of water.
Fillings: Each fruit will make 4 tartlets
2 persimmons, minced
1/2 apple, minced (shown in forefront of photo)
1/2 pear, minced
1/3-1/2 cup minced cranberries, 4 teaspoons raisins, 1 tablespoon honey
Lemon juice to squeeze on the apples to prevent discoloration
1/2 Medjool date, minced
1 tablespoon raisins
Shakes of cinnamon or cloves
A few slivers of lemon or orange zest, optional
Note: To make every version of the tarts, like we did, use the following measurements: 1/2 persimmon; 1/8th apple; 1/8th pear; 4 tablespoons cranberries with 1 teaspoon honey.
Serve with Honeybush Chai Tea, which makes a delicious and refreshing complement to the tarts. Serve in your favorite mugs, top with a little almond milk, sit back and enjoy a little feast.
The Little Story: Feeding Our Feathered Friends with Homemade Vegetarian Bird Suet
We've been feeding our feathered friends with suet for the last two months after our friends, Dan and Charm, told us that the birds need the fat so much in the winter. Last year we put out several feeders, and some suet, and the birds made an unbelievable mess. In desperation we re-hung the feeders under our deck so the seeds could fall on a concrete slab. This year we thought we'd be smart and use only black hulled sunflower seeds but were we ever wrong. Within five days, the deck was literally covered with cracked hulls!
So the idea of suet started to sound better and better. There was a drawback though, and it was that the ready made suet is made with beef fat. I did a little research, and discovered a hot debate about making vegetarian bird suet, or keeping it animal based. Most of the arguments against the veggie version were about using Crisco, a heavy, hydrogenated shortening. Then we found Spectrum vegetable shortening which is made from organic, non-hydrogenated palm oil, a far cry from Crisco.
We bought some and I started experimenting with great results and the birds love it! I kept one of the suet containers from the feed store to use as a mold. Now all I have to do is press the mix into the mold, freeze it for 30 minutes, and it's firm enough to drop into the suet holders and the coldness outside holds the suet in fine shape. Is there a mess? Yes, but it's much less. Next, were going to hang the feeders in the garden!
Here's the recipe, with amounts approximate. Makes enough to fill three feeders.
1 1/2 cups Spectrum All Vegetable Shortening
1 1/2 cups ready made bird seed mix (millet, sunflower seeds, corn)
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
Put all ingredients into food processor and process until evenly mixed.
Press into suet container.
Freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove from container by turning upside down, and pressing with thumbs while holding it. Place in suet holder and set outside.