Wanna know what I’m serving for Christmas this year?
Now I cant pretend that this one isn’t going to take some time or effort. I can however say that it’ll be worth all the oooh’s and ahhhh’s that the ol’ gobbler gets…maybe even more so and not to mention the taste.
We can’t deny it, there is so much that is attached to the big dinner, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas, and so I do recognize the importance of having not only a show-stopping centrepiece, but also one that everyone will enjoy. This check off both of those boxes, and it nourishes at the same time. This will absolutely appease those leery of the plant based genre. This is the taste good genre.
Using winter vegetables and things that the earth gave to us, not to sound hokey but it’s really a thing of beauty. And what more could you want to provide your family with than a piece of that offering.
A feast for the eyes, stomach and soul; I think we can all agree that that is the recipe for a beautiful dinner.
*** You will need a tart pan with a removable bottom. Mine was 9″. You can easily double this recipe and make two which I often suggest. Since you are going to all the work, might as well. ***
vegan, Gluten Free, refined sugar free
2 cups GFree Flour
1/3 cup + 4 Tbls Vegan Butter
4 Tbls Ice Cold Water, plus more as needed
A pinch of Salt
1/2 med Onion
1-2 Tbls Coconut Oil
1-2 cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Garlic powder
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1.5 cups Shitake Mushrooms
1 Can of Pumpkin puree
Salt and Pepper
1 Bunch Carrots
2 Med Yams
My Favourite Parm Topping
1/3 cup Cashews
2 Tbls Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbls Hemp Hearts
1 Tbls Coconut Oil
1 clove of Garlic
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Himalyan salt to taste
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar ( you can also skip this step and by a ready made reduction at many stores)
Lets Start with the crust:
You can throw all these ingredients as is in your food processor adding the tablespoons of water as needed or do it by hand….
Cut up your vegan butter into very small chunk and combine into the flour. You can use your hands or a fork. You want little mealy pieces. Then start adding in your water spoonfuls at a time. You want the dough to be just able to combine, and nothing more. Not wet, but able to form a ball. Same as in food processor.
Turn dough onto a sheet of saran and wrap into a disk and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
Make your Base:
This is what you spread on the bottom of your tart.
Chop into fine cubes your onion, and garlic and toss them into a med sized pan on med heat with a Tbls of coconut oil. Cook down until onions are translucent and begin to soften. About 5 minutes or so. Add in a few sprigs of thyme. Season with Salt and Pepper. Now add in your Shitake Mushrooms. Make sure this as well are chopped into small cubes a little bigger than your onions. But you don’t have to be exact. You just want small pieces. So add this into your onion mixture and begin to cook down. You may need to add a bit more coconut oil at this point, so feel free to do. Once cooked down, another 5 minutes or so, add in your can of pureed pumpkin and warm through, stirring the mixture together. Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside to cool.
Back to your Crust:
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease your tart pan well with your vegan butter. Get in all the nooks and crannies. Take your dough ball out of the fridge. This is usually where recipes tell us to roll out this shit, and we end up epically failing…. SO lets hack this together and skip that step. Flatten your dough ball disc as much as you can and place it in your tart pan and now crumble it apart. Yup, break it apart into little pieces. Start to push your dough out with your fingers and palm of your hand, to create an even dough all around patchwork style. When this worked out for me time and time again, I thought, what have I been wasting my time stressing about with a rolling pin. Eff that! If you want to, be my guess, but lets take some stress out of it. As long as the dough seems moulded into all the right places and relatively even pierce the dough with a fork just to allow the air to escape. Place tart shell as is back in the fridge to set for 10 minutes.
Set out a medium sized pot and get to boiling water.
Taking your Carrots, and yams, You want to create think slices. You can either use a mandolin, my preference if you have it, or slice if you have a really sharp knife. You want to create a bunch of slices, more than you will probably need, and set aside.
Back to your tart shell.
Place that bad boy in the oven for about 10-15. just a little pre bake.
Ten remove and allow to cool.
Crank the oven now to 375.
Back to your slices: Now that you have beautiful even slices of your yams and carrots, we need to make the malleable to bend into our gorgeous circle shape. So kind of like spaghetti, when your water is boiling, toss in a handful of your slices at a time. Meanwhile.. get a colander in your sink and run cold water over it. Let your slices cook, maybe for 3-5 minutes, just until bendy. Using your tongs, take that batch out, place under cold running water in colander and continue with the rest of the batches. Don’t worry, some will break and tear. They are still usable, the yams are a little more delicate and cook faster than the carrots. Keep repeating this process until all are done and the veggies are cooled down under the cold water. Set aside, and allow to dry.
Now… we assemble. Thank god right?!
Begin by spreading your pumpkin base mixture on the bottom of your tart shell, spread evenly. You probably will have more mixture than need be.You just want a nice even layer on the bottom and sides.
Now taking your sliced yams and carrots, that have now been towel dried, using a knife or scissors, you want to cut lengthways to achieve smaller ribbons of pieces. You can measure this against the height of your tart shell. For a bit of volume I cut my ribbons a little bit higher than the crust. Now you can begin to make your design. I suggest working from the inside out. Alternating colours and shapes. This part really isn’t technical at all even though its what gives the effect. It is just working spirally outwards until you get to the end. Press your vegetables gently down to make sure they are pasted into place by that pumpkin base.
Quickly make your cashew Crumble
In a food Processor, combine all ingredients until a nice chunk crumble comes together.
Sprinkle about half over the tart.
Place in your oven and cook for around 45 minutes.
Allow to cool before removing from pan.
Make your Balsamic reduction
In a saucepan, bring your balsamic to a boil. The reduce heat to a simmer. You are waiting for a syrupy consistency. Once that is achieved, remove from heat and set side to cool
Slice and present, with a balsamic drizzle and a bit more of your crumble,
Signed, sealed, delivered….Marthas younger cooler sister 😉
Bon appetit…. after all that pour yourself a glass of wine. A big one.
A feast for the eyes, stomach and soul. That’s the recipe for a beautiful dinner