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There are a few things in life I don’t quite get, and  probably never will:

The country’s economy (who, why, where, how???)

Baseball (sorry, way too slow for a sport)

Politics and politicians  (promises, promises…)

Reality TV “stars” making obscene amounts of cash ( because, they are obviously far more valuable to society than, let’s say, teachers or nurses or firefighters, right?)

Narrow-mindedness (that’s just sad)

Baggage weight limit ( but extra weight isn’t an issue if you pay a fee??)

… And artificial food coloring

Let me talk about that one for a second.

A couple of days ago I saw a picture posted on Facebook, I believe by Eden Foods, that showed a beautiful display of bright, colorful fruit. The caption said something like: “Nature’s Skittles”. How true…

I often wonder why, with all the amazing colors available in nature, someone felt the need to create artificial colors. Fluorescent green drinks? Pink, green and purple cereal? Electric blue frosting? Makes me cringe.

Call me boring, but I don’t get it. Really, what is the point of it? As far as I’m concerned, if a color doesn’t exist in nature, it doesn’t belong inside my body. Period.

This year, I want to challenge you to Go Red, White and Blue, the natural way. Kick the fake stuff to the curb.  Think you can do it?

Here are some ideas to get you started: how about topping your vanilla ice cream with blackberries and sliced strawberries instead of sprinkles? Or adding fresh raspberries to our Frozen Blueberry Lemonade and serve it at your July 4th BBQ? Or making Popsicles using REAL fruit juice?

Or… if you really want to go all out, you may wanna try this fruit tart. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to make than it looks. Do all the work yourself or take some of the shortcuts we suggest. Either way, we can guarantee your guests will be impressed.

Have a great Holiday week!

Ruth

PASTRY CREAM (Note: You can use store bought vegan vanilla pudding instead!)
Cook time: 3-5 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk (we used Silk Pure Almond)
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil

1. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of almond milk and sugar  just until small bubbles start to appear on the sides.
2. In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup almond milk, vanilla extract and corn starch until well incorporated.

3. Off the heat, add corn starch mixture to warm milk. Bring saucepan back to the  stove and cook the cream at medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens (this will happen quickly, in 30 to 45 seconds). Turn off heat and add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, mixing well until it melts completely. Set aside to cool, but do not refrigerate. Cover the surface with plastic wrap (so it touches the cream)

PIE CRUST (Note: You can use store bought vegan pie crust instead!)
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus 15 minutes to refrigerate dough)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients (makes 1-11″ x 1.5″ tart)

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 4 tbsp cold coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp cold non hydrogenated vegetable shortening (we use Earth Balance)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp cold unsweetened almond milk (we use Silk Pure Almond)
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Combine flour, coconut oil, shortening and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times it has the consistency of coarse corm meal.

3. Add almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and keep pulsing until it forms a dough. (Note: if the crumbs don’t come together in the food processor, but they do when you pinch them with your fingers, place them on a floured surface and knead with your hands until it forms a soft dough)

4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a round disk, big enough to fit a non-stck 11″x1.5″ with removable bottom tart pan (approximately 13 inches).
5. Roll dough over rolling pin and carefully unroll it onto the tart pan. Press it evenly with your fingers so the dough comes up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
6. Carefully prick the bottom and sides with a fork several times to avoid air bubbles while baking (you can also use pie weights if you have them)
7. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

COCONUT “WHIPPED CREAM”
Ingredients:

  • 1-15 oz can coconut milk (NOT LIGHT), refrigerated overnight
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1. Refrigerate coconut milk overnight. The cream will solidify and separate from the water. Carefully scoop the cream (taking as little liquid as possible) and place it in a medium bowl.
2. Add sugar and beat at medium to high speed until light and  fluffy and it forms soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

FRUIT TOPPING:

  • 1 lb strawberries (washed and thoroughly dried) sliced in half
  • 1 pint blueberries (washed and thoroughly dried)
  • 2 tbsp all fruit apricot spread
  • 2 tbsp hot water

TO ASSEMBLE THE TART:

  1. Make sure all the elements of the tart have cooled before assembling.
  2. Spread pastry cream on the tart shell.
  3. Arrange fruit on top.
  4. Combine apricot spread and hot water in a small bowl and mix well. With a pastry brush, gently glaze the fruit.
  5. Garnish with coconut “whipped cream” (leftover cream with last several days in the refrigerator)

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