Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

June 16, 2014

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I’m pretty sure I need to bookmark this post as a reminder to the annoyed and freezing January version of myself. This post needs to be a reminder that no matter how hard it is cut an onion while you can’t feel your fingers, its even harder to bake in a 90 degree kitchen without passing out of heat exhaustion. It is one thing to use your oven as a heater in the winter but how do you cool the kitchen down in the summer? The secret is most certainly in avoiding turning that oven back on.

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but our kitchen was a add-on from the original 1920′s ranch we live in so it’s a little bit of a awkward shack addition in the back of the home. All weird bugs and lack of natural light aside, the workspace wouldn’t be so bad if the builders had managed to hook it up to the central air system. Nope – they did not. This means that its absolutely frigid in the winter and beyond humid / muggy in the summer. Hell, the kitchen might as well be outside so I could at least get some nice natural light out of the thing.

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This tart was a result of needing a dessert without turning the oven on. The only part that required any sort of heating energy at all was the melting of the dark chocolate at the very end of the recipe. The rest of the recipe is done with the magic of your wonderful food processor. With a little planning ahead (just to start soaking the dates the night before), you’ll have a delicious, sugar-free, somewhat nutritious (have you heard about all the health benefits of dates, cashews, and dark chocolate? But not so much butter – disappointing. I know) dessert.

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I originally got a craving for a nut pie when I saw this recipe but wanted something a little less labor intensive and not drenched in sugar. Alas, the salted date caramel seemed to only make sense – its nutritious and easy and does a great job impersonating real caramel since it has a similar texture / color of its sugary friend.

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Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart With Mocha Graham Crust

Makes 2 mini tarts in 4 1/2″ tart pans

  • 15 dates, pits removed
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 graham crackers
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons strong coffee or espresso (substitute coffee extract for a more intense coffee flavor)
  • 1/3 cup whole cashews
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Coarse salt

Place the dates in enough water to completely cover them, stick in fridge, and let sit overnight (or at least 2 hours).

In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and butter until a coarse meal has formed. Slowly add in the coffee while the food processor is running until the dough comes together into one big ball.

Line the bottom of 2 mini tart pans with parchment paper (I went ahead and cut them into circular pieces that fit the bottom of the pans perfectly) and divide the dough between the two pans. Use your clean fingers or the back of a spoon to evenly press the dough across both pans. Transfer to the fridge until ready to use.

Next, drain the dates and transfer to the food processor. Add the beans from 1 vanilla pod and pulse a few times until a thick paste has formed. Slowly start adding in (1 tablespoon at a time) water while the food processor is running until your “caramel” has reached your desired consistency (I ended up using about 1/3 cup water but it will all depend on your preference).

Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips. Place the double boiler over a saucepan with 1 inch of water and let simmer over medium heat. Add your chocolate chips to the double boiler and stir frequently until completely melted.

Evenly place the cashews in one layer over the graham crust and pour the caramel over the cashews until the whole tart pan is filled. Drizzle the chocolate over the tarts and sprinkle with a tiny bit of coarse salt.

Serve immediately or let set in the fridge for 1 hour for a firmer texture.

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17 Comments

  • Reply cheri June 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Your dishes are always so beautiful, even though your kitchen is too hot or too cold. These tarts are gorgeous, great ingredient list.

  • Reply Sarah | The Sugar Hit June 16, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Gawjus! As always, you have smashed it out of the park. A totally doable, delicious looking recipe fo sho!

  • Reply Koko June 17, 2014 at 2:46 am

    This looks absolutely insanely delicious…I can’t even handle it. Ya killed it!

  • Reply Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate June 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I wish there was some heat here! I have to resort to turning the oven on to stay warm. I may have to make an exception for these though!

  • Reply heather June 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Oh WOW these look so amazing!!!!

  • Reply phi June 17, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    i want to “yes” all over this post.

  • Reply Grace June 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Dang, I’m seriously drooling on my keyboard right now. My kitchen is an add on to the 1920′s shack I live in so I can totally relate. So. Hot. One bite of this tho and I’m gonna forget all my sweaty pain. So good.

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    This is such a stunning tart! Love it!

  • Reply Kris June 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Why does this post not have hundreds of comments?! This is one of the best things I’ve seen in my life!!

  • Reply kristie @ birchandwild.com June 18, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    This looks so delicious! I need more date caramel in my life. And your photos are stunning, by the way.

  • Reply Katie @ 24 Carrot Life June 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Oh my god I would love to face plant into these. They look SO good and I love that they don’t require the oven. Nothing like adding some more heat to these already hot and humid days.

  • Reply Renee Shuman June 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

    STOP IT YOU ARE A GENIUS. Date caramel?! Ugggggghhhhh soooo goooooood. Also so good: I have all of these ingredients in my cupboard!!! HOW?! Luck of timing. I empathize with you 100% on the heat of summer plus drive to make sweets w/out an oven. Which is why I bought dates and cashews and all that in the first place. I just didn’t have a plan for what to do with them. But NOW I do! You rule. That is all.

  • Reply Joanne June 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I’m so amazed that my salted caramel peanut pie could have inspired these cuties! This date caramel sounds like something I need in my life. ASAP.

    Also, i feel you on the heat. One day I will learn NOT to turn my oven on in the summer…

  • Reply Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet June 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Cashews Dates (and chocolate) are my favorite snacks. Must eat them together…

  • Reply Erika June 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    OMG YES THE HEAT!! It is the worst. Houston humidity = suck. But these look so so perfect–I’m always looking to add another raw (ish) dessert to my repertoire! You’re amazing!

  • Reply The Links | The Good Read Guide 18th July | Rebecca Hawkes July 18, 2014 at 6:06 am

    […] Anyone want to come bake these for me? Just the name has me weak at the knees – “salted date caramel cashew tart with […]

  • Reply Thalia @ butter and brioche July 19, 2014 at 4:44 am

    yum! these tarts look so good.. love the cashews, i can imagine how good these would have tasted. love it!

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