Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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. 

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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!).

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.”

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

Thank you for being my weirdos.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

If you can’t get enough of sweet figgy things, here are some more:

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

*Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on FacebookInstagram, 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.*

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}
Yields: 8-10 servings
 
This luscious fresh fig tart happens to be gluten-free and vegan, but it’s so rich and delicious, you’d never know. The chestnut and almond flour crust is adapted from my book Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours. If you don’t have access to chestnut flour, oat flour works in its place. Before you get started, make sure you have time to soak the cashews, chill, bake, and cool the tart crust, and let the tart set in the fridge before you slice and serve. To soak the cashews, either cover in cool water and soak 4-12 hours or overnight, or if pressed for time, cover in boiling water and soak at least 1 hour. Do ahead options: The tart crust can be frozen unbaked airtight for up to a month. The baked crust can be made a day or two ahead and stored airtight at room temperature. The cashew cream can be made up to several days ahead; let soften to spreadable when ready to use. The finished tart needs at least 2 hours and preferably 4 to firm to a sliceable consistency, but best to eat it within a day or two when the crust is crisp. Look for chestnut flour in Italian grocers or with the alternative flours at well-stocked markets (I get mine at Rainbow Grocery Co-op in SF) or order it online here.
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 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
Filling:
  • 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
Instructions
Make the crust:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Make the filling:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}

 

 

 

43 thoughts on “Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free}”

  1. Since Rob and I have moved so many times across country, I feel like the friends I’ve made as an adult, and the close few I still have, live in other states. I’ve met new blogging friends too IRL, like you, and agreed on fast friendships! It’s so fun to find and connect with new friends via online connections! Such a scrumptious and beautifully designed tart, Alanna. I’m continually impressed with the power of the humble cashew and it’s versatile ways. One day it’s milk, the next, ice cream… or thrown in whole in a curry! Pure magic! I’m lovin the figgy round up too!

    1. Yes, I’ve been really appreciating the humble cashew lately, too. Thanks so much for the sweet words! I hope we get to meet IRL soon. You’ve got a friend in San Francisco! <3

  2. What a delicious and gorgeous way to celebrate these anniversaries! Food blogging is the perfect niche for those of us who don’t enjoy the insane hours and quick pace of the restaurant industry. The artistic aspects of food and cooking deserve to be shared and appreciated too, and your blog is a beautiful example of that.

  3. This tart looks amazing and all the photos are so so beautiful! I totally get that ‘meeting new friends ‘ as an adult! As someone who moved so often and lived in 5 different countries in last 8 years, I am so grateful for all the wonderful new foodie ‘weirdos’ I met since I started my blogging/food photography journey! And I look forward to meeting many more! :-)

  4. This looks absolutely delicious!! I can’t wait to try to make this at home! My dear friend and I love figs and have a beautiful bounty of them we have been trying different recipes with. May I ask what brand chestnut flour you recommend? I have not made anything with it before. And thank you for such beautiful and delicious food…it is always a feast for the eyes and the palette! :)

  5. Oh my! This tart and its flavors are pure heaven! I love the combination of ginger in the cashew cream and that you’ll double layered the figs within the cream! That is such a brilliant idea! And as always – stunning photos, that we all cannot get enough of ! :) Brilliant work Alanna! And thank you for tagging :)

  6. Hello Alanna! I love your blog and I’m always impressed that you manage to politely reply to commenters who ask you goofy questions about your carefully crafted recipes. But now I’m about to join the ranks: I’m curious if I could use agar agar in place of the chia seeds. I can’t find white chia, don’t have time to order it for this weekend, and when I tried to grind normal chia seeds in a Cusinart for your lovely lemon tart, it was a disaster (they ended up all over the kitchen, and then turned into glue wads when they got wet). So I’ve been searching for agar/chia substitutes but failing, so I thought I’d reach out. Thanks for running a delightful site and sharing your recipes with us.

    1. Hi Kim, hahaha, thanks for the sweet note! I’m so sorry you had a chia seed fail last time! Agar is pretty high maintenance stuff as you have to boil it for a while to get it to dissolve (unless you can get powdered agar which is tough to find). You can use any color of chia seed – I specify white because the color blends better, but any color will work. I grind mine in a food processor. If you add the ground chia to the blender as indicated before getting it wet, you shouldn’t have any problems with clumping. If none of those options sound good, you can probably just add another tablespoon or two of coconut oil, which should make the filling firm enough. Please let me know if you try it!

      1. You’re rad! This is exactly what I needed to know. I might try the agar agar powder if I can find it. Failed at locating chestnut flour (called all health food stores in 20 miles). I’m off to Whole Foods because I live in a smaller town these days. But I called SF home for a number of years, loved Rainbow and miss it every day! Such good stuff there! Also, I found SF a really hard place to make friends, took me about 4 years to feel at home, and then I moved to SLO. :-)

        1. Aw, SLO’s great! I’m sorry you’re having trouble finding chestnut flour, but the oat flour version is super yummy, too, so you’re not missing anything – promise. I’m not sure I could ever leave Rainbow – I practically live there!

          1. Okay! I made it! I’m still kinda reeling from my almost mid-recipe (almost midnight) fail.

            I couldn’t find white Chia seeds, or powdered agar agar, but I did try the coconut oil trick. After about 45 minutes of sitting on the counter, it was pretty clear that the filling was not going to gel properly with only the addition of the coconut oil. I tend to weigh my ingredients, and was pretty sure my liquid measured were correct. Still, not looking good. Luckily, I had a feeling when I was using the Cusinart to blend it up, and didn’t pour any into the tart shell.

            I dashed out to the grocery store at 11:30pm, and bought some Chia seeds, and using the coffee grinder technique, I had success in making a brown powder of of them! Mixed them in and it almost instantly set up. Now it’s a pretty firm set and I’ve yet to fling it into the fridge. I also used the oat flour instead of the chestnut, and the shell appeared quite sturdy before I filled it.

            Thanks so much!

          2. One more little thought: It was amazing! Tasted great, looked perfect (I used the round tart pan because I owned it already), and held up to someone accidentally turning the ice chest in which it was stored 90° – so it basically was stored on it’s edge for about two minutes, and it stayed together! (I couldn’t believe it. When we opened it’s little foil tent, I figured it’d be a mess of crumbs and custard studded with figs. But it was perfect! Very impressed!

          3. One more little thought: It was amazing! Tasted great, looked perfect (I used the round tart pan because I owned it already), and held up to someone accidentally turning the ice chest in which it was stored 90° – so it basically was stored on it’s edge for about two minutes, and it stayed together! (I couldn’t believe it. When we opened it’s little foil tent, I figured it’d be a mess of crumbs and custard studded with figs. But it was perfect! Very impressed!)

  7. My god, that is the cutest f’ing tart in all tart land. It’s almost too cute to eat! HA! Who am I kidding. If I was ever left alone with that tart I would consume it in 3 seconds. You’re killing it with your food photography and recipes!

  8. Omg I LOVE the double layer of figs!!!!!! Yay for new blogging friends (ugh miss u, hope to catch up the next time I’m in the bay!!) and also THANK YOU for this vegan version!! I always drool over your tarts but dairy has not been agreeing with my skin lately, so I’m excited to try this cashew cream!!! I know it’ll rock, because your recipes always do <3333

    1. I miss you tooooooooo! When will you be back in the bay? I’ve been having major chocolate chip cookie envy every time I see your feed. Please let me know if you give this tart a go! I love being able to make desserts that everyone can enjoy. :) xoxoxoxo

  9. Prettiest tart ever. And I love the story how your friends said if it’s gf and df, what’s the point of baking — and then LOVED it. Hah! You are a magician.

    I am so grateful that we met because of our passion for sharing food and creativity. Your book is just one testament to your amazing talents. All the love!

    1. I’m so grateful that we met through this amazing community too, Amanda. Thank you so much for the sweet words – the feeling is 100% mutual. <3

  10. Stunning! And thanks for the fig recipe round-up – so many lovely ideas there for fig addicts like me. FYI the last link (double chocolate cake) links to the wrong page.

  11. Hi, Alanna! Thank you for this amazing tart, I’ve already tried making it once and it was a huge success! (A couple of friends of mine that got to try it were a bit reluctant at first, because, as they said, they weren’t sure how they felt about figs, and after tasting it they LOVED IT. People discovering they love a crrtain food because of your cooking is just the best thing, isn’t it?)
    I was wondering, do you think the assembled tart will keep in the freezer for a couple of days?

    1. Hi Arianne! I’m so glad you liked the tart and even converted fig haters – that’s the best!! My only concern with freezing the tart is that the figs will break down and be watery when thawed. Other than that, I think it would probably hold up ok, though the crust might soften (and there’s a chance the filling could become slightly grainy, but then again it might be fine). You could make the tart and skip the layer of figs (or swirl in some fig jam instead) and then top the tart with figs once it’s been thawed? Let me know if you give some iteration of this a try. :)

      1. I ultimately decided against freezing, and instead made tartlets in a muffing pan. This recipe makes 6 crusts and 8-9 portions of filling. I used cupcake liners for portability, and two fig slices per tartlet. They were very well received :)

  12. Wow! Happy 8th Blogiversary! I can only imagine what an incredible achievement it feels like to have gotten this far! Congratulations!

    I laughed and I sympathise completely with “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.”

    I have never considered going to a blog meet up, perhaps because I’m an introvert and the thought of meeting several strangers at once terrifies me. In saying that I have made some great friends online who food-blog so I’ll give it a try! :)

    Amazing images as usual. When figs come in season I’ll be sure to try this tart; they are my partner’s favourite! :)

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