For some reason I was at a loss this year as to which recipe to use for my Thanksgiving pie….until just today. I’d been so busy this last week it just really slipped my mind what day it even was. But when I awoke this morning, heard the chimes singing outside on our patio and noticed the colorful leaves flying gently about our window, the season was suddenly declaring itself loud and clear.
I was having guests this holiday weekend so everything needed to be just right. One guest was going to be a young boy who really loved sweets; is there any other kind? I quickly scoured my multitude of dessert recipes and first tagged my Maple-Glazed Spiced Pumpkin Pie Cookies. They would be a hit with my young guest. But I needed something especially for the grown-ups with a bit of class but still fun and of course super delicious. A raw and decadent sweet potato super food tart would fit the bill nicely.
I wanted a tart because they always look so classy and refined. Whenever I see one I think fine dining and gourmet. Of course, the only difference between a tart and a pie is the shape of the crust. But that little difference hits the eyes like day and night. Amazing how a humble pie can turn into a downright pretentious dessert simply by changing its shape.
Since I happen to have loads of sweet potatoes on hand, they became my choice for the filling. When it comes to pumpkin pies, I think sweet potatoes are a great alternative to pumpkin. I became particularly fond of using them a long time ago when I once needed a substitute for pumpkin in a hurry. One try was all it took to convince me that sweet potatoes were destined to be my new favorite filling (sorry pumpkin, but I still love you in other dishes).
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and have a pleasant mildly sweet flavor which is why they’re so dang satisfying. The color under the skin is gorgeous deep orange so they also look appetizing while feeding you mega nutrients. Just so you know I’m talking about the garnet or jewel variety which is what I used for this recipe. These orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are native to Central America and one of the oldest vegetables known to man, having been consumed since prehistoric times. The season is typically November and December although they are usually available year round so no limits on how often you can include them in drool-worthy desserts. To store, keep in a cool dark and well-ventilated place away from heat, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days.
Sweet potatoes are nature’s unsurpassed source of beta-carotene and vitamin A, (providing as much as 90% of your daily requirement in one serving), are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and also help stabilize blood sugar levels. They’re also high in vitamin C (a 7-ounce or 1 cup serving contains 65% of the minimum necessary daily amount), calcium, folate, potassium and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which converts to vitamin A in the body. One serving of sweet potatoes can provide you with as much as 700% of the US RDA for vitamin A. They’re so potent in fact that The Center for Science in the Public Interest rates sweet potatoes as THE most nutritious vegetable. I think sweet potatoes could easily develop a serious superiority attitude.
For the crust I was looking to fall flavors that would compliment the spiced sweet potatoes, so I reached for the almonds, dried apricots, coconut, and a pinch of interesting cardamom. Cardamom was a great discovery for me many years ago and is one of my favorite and most used warm spices. I’ve always thought it was very underrated because it imparts such an exotic aura wherever it’s used. Process and press, my pie was halfway there.
The cookie-like crust was filled with thick spiced delicious filling and then crowned with raw cacao chunk trail mix and golden berries (or Incan berries). The final step was dusting this wondrous pie with cacao powder for extra bravura; my guests won’t know why they suddenly feel like dancing and singing. It’s the only way to celebrate.
This tart is vivid, healthy, and knock your clean socks off tasty; an easy gourmet dessert that’s sure to please even the most finicky pumpkin pie eater. I hope you enjoy it.
This recipe is dairy and gluten-free, and serves 6 – 8 persons.
Easy Sweet Potato Super Food Tart
Apricot Almond Crust:
The apricots I used were unsulphured and very dry. If using soft apricots, adjust the amount down to half and then add to taste. I also didn’t soak the almonds, I just rinsed and drained them thoroughly before using.This helped keep the crust dry and cookie-like which I think produced a better flavor for the filling.
- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
- 1 1/2 cups unsulphured dried apricots
- 1 1/2 cups dried shredded coconut
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cardamom or to taste
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp coconut butter
- 2 – 3 Tbsp water as needed or until the crust adheres between your fingers (optional)
- Add all ingredients except coconut butter and water to a food processor.
- Process until very finely chopped.
- Add the coconut butter and water. Start out with 1 Tbsp of water and increase as needed.
- Pulse until the mixture is sticky and adheres between your fingers.
- Remove and press firmly into a 9-inch tart pan (or pie pan), making sure it’s even all around the edges and at the bottom.
- Refrigerate for one hour to set. You can also dehydrate at 115 degrees for a few hours for drier crust.
- Yields a 9-inch tart crust.
Sweet Potato Filling:
- Sweet potatoes can be substituted with pumpkin or yam.
- The spices can be substituted with pumpkin pie spice to taste.
- Make sure the filling is room temperature or slightly warm before adding the coconut oil. Chilled ingredients will cause the oil to coagulate. If this happens, simply warm the filling in a pan until the coconut oil is completely melted and the texture is smooth, or blend until slightly warm and smooth.
- I found that when purchasing bagged frozen sweet potato chunks I didn’t need to steam them. If using thawed frozen, simply skip to step 3.
- 5 cups peeled and chopped fresh or thawed frozen sweet potato chunks
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 – 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla-flavored stevia to taste
- 2 – 4 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup coconut/palm sugar or date sugar or other natural sweetener of choice to taste
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
- stevia to taste (I use vanilla-flavored stevia)
- Steam the sweet potatoes with minimal water until fork tender (about 30 minutes).
- Remove from stove, drain of excess liquid, and let cool to warm or room temperature.
- Add to a food processor with remaining ingredients.
- Process until smooth.
- Remove and add to a container.
- Refrigerate for one hour before using.
- Yields about 5 cups.
- natural cacao trail mix or other trail mix of choice
- Goose (Incan) berries
- raw pecans
- cacao powder
- Pour Sweet Potato Filling into Apricot Almond Crust, spreading evenly.
- Refrigerate for 2 or more hours until chilled and set.
- Garnish with Toppings of choice.
- Slice and serve.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 4 days.