With luscious vanilla ginger cashew cream, layers of fresh figs, and a crumbly crust laced with earthy chestnut flour, this vegan and gluten-free ginger fig tart makes a glorious fall dessert for all.
Last week marked the 1st anniversary of my cookbook Alternative Baker being out in the world, and the 8th blogiversary of The Bojon Gourmet. Let’s celebrate with ginger fig tart! The gluten-free chestnut almond crust is adapted from Alternative Baker, and layered with ginger cashew cream and fresh figs. I love the way the tart slices up, with multi-hued rings of figs hiding in layers, and the bright fruit melds with gently spiced vanilla cashew cream and earthy, cookie-like tart crust.
I’m grateful every day for the community of foodie friends I’ve found through this space. When I moved to San Francisco 13 years ago, I didn’t have many friends. Meeting people as an adult can be notoriously difficult, and this was the case for me as I moved from one restaurant job to another and even through pastry school. I made a few good friends early on, who I’m still happy to be in touch with, but it wasn’t until I attended a food blogger meetup (at Jay’s suggestion) that I really found my people.
Food bloggers are a completely different breed of food nerd than restaurant folk. The pace of a restaurant is fast, the work is repetitive, and it’s hard to have a social life when you’re working nights and weekends (or all through the night in the case of some poor bakers). I always felt like a fish out of water, rushing around and trying to match the pace of my colleagues, guiltily gumming up the works of every well-oiled machine with my sloth-like pace.
But people who write about food, style it beautifully, agonize over minute details, and spend hours shooting to get the perfect light – those are my weirdos.
This tart came about from a baking date with Mere and Laura, two dear sweet gals I met thanks to TBG and Alternative Baker. I was doing a book event at Anthropologie in Walnut Creek last year on my birthday, December 16th, and the highlight was meeting Mere’s housemate, Maura, who happened to come by. “My roommate has a food blog too, and she loves your site!” she said. “I’m getting her your book.” I looked up Mere’s blog, Pollinate Journal, and was struck by her evocative images and poetic prose. Mere came to a book event at Omnivore later that winter, and we hung out again at Sarah B’s book talk a few months after that. Laura, Mere’s friend, was there too and we bonded over our obsession with cats (Laura fosters kittens!).
The three of us met at Mere and Maura’s place in Berkeley a few weekends ago and cooked up this tart. We made it vegan for Laura, gluten-free for me, and it was Mere’s idea to combine figs and chestnut flour with a bunch of grated ginger to brighten up the cream. We went for beers and tamales while the tart set, then came back to shoot and nosh.
There was silence as we ate the first few bites. Then Mere said, “To be honest, I thought, ‘what’s the point of baking if we have to make it gluten-free and vegan? I take it back.”
I’m so grateful to have these two lovely ladies in my life, for weekend baking collaborations, for people who don’t mind eating cold food because I just spent an hour trying to get the perfect shot of it. I’m deeply appreciative of every like, share, comment, book review, and email I get from you. I love when you try my recipes, catch my mistakes, ask questions, and adapt ingredients and techniques to make them your own. And I get an extra-special thrill when you make one of my recipes, snap a photo, and share it with me.
Thank you for being my weirdos.
If you can’t get enough of sweet figgy things, here are some more:
- Smoked Sugar Ice Cream with a Fig Butter Swirl
- Za’atar broiled figs with goat cheese ice cream
- Huckleberry Fig Shrub
- Denisse’s Honey Cardamom Fig Tart
- Sarah’s Ginger Goat Cheese Cheesecake (with a hazelnut crust adapted from Alternative Baker)
- Amanda’s Honey Fig Almond Cake
- Kate’s Honey Mascarpone Fig Tart
- Alana’s Fig Tarts Two Ways
- Tessa’s Chocolate-Almond Cake with Honey-Glazed Figs
- Sherrie’s Basil Fig Vodka Smash
- Sarah’s Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Figs, Pistachios, and Honey
- Em’s Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Honey-Balsamic Roasted Figs + Toasted Pepitas
- Eva’s Pistachio Rosewater Pavlova with Greek Yogurt, Honey, and Figs
- Shelley’s Vanilla Bean Fig Shortbread with Honey Glaze
- Amisha’s Balsamic Honey Fig Compote-Swirled Goat Cheese Ice Cream
- Renee’s Double Chocolate Sheet Cake with Brown Butter, Figs, and Candied Ginger
- Jenny and Teri’s Salted Honey and Fig Eton Mess
*Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this, I’d love to see! Tag me on Instagram @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
- coconut oil or cooking spray, for the pan
- 1⁄2 cup (60 g) blanched almond flour
- 1⁄2 cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour
- 6 tablespoons (40 g) chestnut flour (or use ½ cup oat flour if you don’t have chestnut flour)
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) tapioca flour/starch
- 1⁄4 cup (50 g) granulated cane sugar
- 1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) cold, salted vegan butter (such as Miyoko’s), cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes (dairy butter works, too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 g) raw cashews, soaked (see headnote)
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) finely ground chia seed (preferably white – I grind whole seeds in a coffee grinder)
- ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup (preferably grade A amber)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice
- fat 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and finely grated (1 scant tablespoon)
- pinch salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- ½ cup (120 ml) melted coconut oil (preferably refined)
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- ~ 1 pound figs (2 dozen medium), trimmed and sliced scant ¼ - inch thick
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (190ºC). Rub a 13½ by 4½-inch rectangular tart pan (or a 9-inch round tart pan) with a loose bottom with coconut oil or spray lightly with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond, sweet rice, and chestnut flours with the tapioca starch, sugar and salt. Scatter the vegan butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to medium-low and run until the dough comes together in clumps and the butter is worked through, 3–5 minutes.
- Dump the crumbs into the prepared tart pan with and press the dough evenly into the pan, starting with the sides and then moving to the bottom, keeping the edges square. (It usually takes me about 10 minutes to make it look pretty.) Freeze until firm, 15–30 minutes.
- Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden all over, 20-30 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and, while it’s still hot, press the sides and bottom firmly with the back of a spoon; this will help it hold together when cool. Cool completely.
- Drain the soaked cashews and place them in the bowl of a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the ground chia seed, maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger, salt, and water. Blend, starting on low and increasing to medium-high, scraping the sides of the blender as needed, until the mixture is silky smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the melted coconut oil and vanilla paste, and blend on medium to combine, about 20 seconds.
- Spread a little less than half of the cashew cream into the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Chill the tart to firm the cream enough to support the figs, about 20 minutes. Top with a layer of figs, halving some to fit snugly (see photos in post). Spread as much of the remaining cashew cream as will fit over the figs (I had about ½ cup left over) and chill again to firm the cream enough to support the figs, 20 minutes or so. Top with a final layer of figs. Chill the tart until firm enough to slice, at least 2 and up to 8 hours.
- If the figs look dry, brush with a little maple syrup or honey diluted with boiling water. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each cut to slice the tart. The tart is best the day of baking when the crust is crisp, but will keep for up to 3 days refrigerated airtight.