Tarts are usually a shallow pastry product in comparison to pies. The features of a tart include them being usually sweet and having a crumbly crust. Traditionally, a smooth velvety vanilla custard is used as filling. They are also topped with various ripe fruits, such as peaches, strawberries or blueberries.
For this recipe, we will use a vegan cream cheese as the base filling of the nootropic tart crust. This is very easy to prepare and bake.
In the past 50 years, cheese has grown its popularity in the American diet. In fact, the consumption has tripled from 1970 to 2009. While there are a lot of types of cheese in the market, one of the most consumed varieties is cream cheese.
Cream cheese has been used in a lot of recipes ranging from spreads, dips, fillings and even part of the main dishes. In the survey period conducted by the US Statistics Portal, Statista, from 2000 to 2015, the US per capita consumption of cream cheese amounted to 2.49 pounds in 2015.
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This just shows that there is a large distribution of cream cheese in the average daily diet. But how about the consumers who also crave this ingredient, perhaps even only in their toast, but cannot do so because of biological restrictions or diet shift? It is true that there is an increasing population of people who have allergies in milk or dairy consumption. In the US alone, dairy has been repeatedly ranked as one of the top 8 food allergens. If you are part of this population, this might be a good chance for you to treat yourself with this pastry. This recipe uses a dairy-free, vegan substitute for ordinary cream cheese.
So, what is a vegan cream cheese made of? A lot of vegan, non-dairy cream cheeses are being sold in the market today. The most common main ingredients of this variety of cream cheese can be soy blend, coconut oil, starches such as tapioca and potatoes and/or some pea proteins.
Of course, there will be some noticeable changes in mouth-feel or texture once you taste the product. But you will find it negligible since this tart recipe is favorable to the palate.
Let us now move on to another interesting ingredient in this recipe: Chai.
Chai Health Benefits
The term “chai” means tea. For so many years, this has been traditionally used as an herbal and medicinal drink. In India, this is called as Chai Masala, where “masala” means mixed spice tea.
In the US, almost the majority of the coffee shops have chai or chai latte already included in the menu. Historians agree that Indian chai is made from black tea. The spices that generally make up the “masala” are: cardamom, clove, cinnamon, fennel seeds, black pepper corns and/or fresh ginger. Then milk is added to mellow down the astringent taste of these spices. Also, sugar is added to make it more pleasing to the drinkers but you can definitely go sugar free.
Here in this tart recipe, we will use a mixture of spices that makes up a chai.
This drink has not only been popular in India, but to other Middle Eastern countries at well due to numerous health benefits.
Improving Hearth Health by Lowering Bad Cholesterol
One of these is the improvement of heart health. One of the main ingredients of the masala is cinnamon. This has been proven to decrease high blood pressure. In a study made in 2003 by a group of scientists in the Journal of Diabetes Care, it was found that an intake of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggests that an inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
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Second is that it can help digestive problems caused by bacterial infections. Cloves, cardamom and black pepper are naturally antibacterial agents. Oman Medical Journal published a scientific study pertaining to clove, noting it as part of the Indian spices which happen to be considered a valuable support in the treatment of infection and able to contribute to the development of potential antimicrobial agent against a strain of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of ginger can be attributed as another health benefit of chai masala. In a review published by the Journal of Natural Product Communications, it explained that ginger possesses anti-cancer activities because of its effect on different biological pathways involved in apoptosis, which possesses the ability to curb the life and initiate death of a cell.
The filling of the tart recipe below includes these masala ingredients such as clove, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger.
Chai & Carrot Vegan Cream Cheese Tart
For the crust:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 scoops Momental MIND
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup vegetable butter
4 tablespoon water, cold
For the filling:
¾ cup non-dairy or vegan cream cheese
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated, divided into two
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided into two
3 eggs, medium-sized
3 cups grated carrots
6 cups water
¾ cup fresh milk
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almonds, sliced
- Prepare the crust: In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening and butter, incorporate using a fork until everything is distributed and clumps are already forming. Stir in 2 tablespoons ice-cold water. Add one tablespoon of cold water one at a time until it shapes into a ball; roll out and wrap tightly in a cling wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove the wrap and transfer dough to a floured surface. Roll in to a 10-inch circle; line this into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the edges into a crimp. Freeze this for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Prepare the filling: Beat cream cheese, half of the amount of sugar, vanilla, and one egg until smooth. Chill.
- In a medium saucepan, boil carrots into 6 cups of water until tender. Drain.
- In a bowl, combine cooked carrots, milk, brown sugar, orange juice, vinegar, salt, nutmeg, fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, half of the remaining sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer this mixture into a bowl and whisk in 2 remaining eggs.
- Transfer cream cheese mixture to prepared crust, and smooth the surface with a spatula. Carefully transfer carrot mixture to make sure not to blend with the cream cheese. Smoothen out to an even layer.
- Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to 325F, sprinkle almonds on top of the pie mixture. Bake until set around 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Let it set in the wire rack for 40 minutes and then serve.
Active Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 12 slices