No-bake apple tart

I’m having trouble finding words to describe how much I love this dessert. Had I known it was going to look and taste this good, I would have made two! Better still, it’s one of those desserts that can be added to your not-so-guilty pleasures of the holiday season. Why? Because it requires no flour, no sugar, no baking…and yet it’s super delicious!

First, I have to admit: I’ve never been a big fan of pie or tarts. I would much prefer a serving of pie filling, minus the heavy, buttery crust. So when I started dreaming about this idea for an alternative no-bake apple pie, I imagined a soft apple filling spiked with cinnamon and complementing spices, as well as my favourite alternative to a pastry crust, which is a simple blend of nuts and dates and a pinch of salt.

This is my first time making a crust with just walnuts, and dare of say I like them much better than my usual almond-based recipe. The raw walnuts provide a soft, buttery flavour and pair perfectly with the caramel flavour of the dates. The apple filling is made simply by simmering apples with apple cider and spices, and then layering it with a simple date cream. I used Granny Smith apples here, but feel free to mix it up if you wish. Enjoy!

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No-bake apple tart

Yield: one 8-inch tart

Ingredients:

For the crust:

    • 2 cups California walnuts
    • 1/2 cup chopped dates, soaked and drained
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt

For the filling:

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 + 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped dates, soaked and drained

Directions:

For the crust:

    1. In a food processor, process the walnuts to a coarse meal. Take care not to over process or they'll turn into butter.
    2. Add the dates and salt and pulse to combine. The mixture should stick together when pressed between two fingers. If it seems too dry, add more water 1 tsp at a time.
    3. Press the mixture evenly into an 8-inch tart pan with a removeable bottom. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  1. In a large pan, carefully mix together the apples, 1 cup apple cider, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Heat over medium heat until the liquid comes to a boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the apples are soft but not mushy and the liquid is reduced.
  2. While the apples are cooking, blend the dates and remaining 1/4 cup of apple cider until smooth. It should resemble a soft cream.
  3. To assemble, remove the tart crust from the freezer and spread half of the date cream over the crust. Next, add a layer of the cooked apples, overlapping in a ring formation, and then top with the remaining date cream and another layer of apples. Garnish with walnut halves, if desired.
  4. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge until ready to serve.

This recipe was submitted to the California Walnut Commission for its California Walnuts Holiday Blogger Challenge.

      

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17 Responses to “No-bake apple tart”

  1. veganlisa — November 23, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

    You know, I think this would be the perfect dessert to share over a cup of tea with a very good friend. Missing you and all your sweet treats.

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 23rd, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

      I agree! I’ll make one for your homecoming. xoxo

      Reply

  2. jess — November 23, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    mmmm, i feel as though i can already smell the apples simmering on the stove. this looks lovely!

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 23rd, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

      Oh, that was one of the best parts! I love that scent.

      Reply

  3. JL goes Vegan — November 23, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

    Walnut crust! What a great idea. I could eat that alone ;) Great recipe!

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 23rd, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

      Thanks! The crust was better than I expected.

      Reply

  4. Robin — November 25, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    Incredible! I will be making this very soon!

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 27th, 2011 @ 11:28 am

      Thank you, Robin. I hope you like it! :)

      Reply

  5. Hannah @ A Foodly Affair — November 26, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    Wow this looks good! You now have me thinking it would not be a huge leap to make this into a completely raw recipe…

    Thanks for the inspiration, Nicole!

    H :)

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 27th, 2011 @ 11:27 am

      Thanks, Hannah! Yes, this could definitely be made completely raw. I’d suggest pulsing uncooked apple slices and date cream together for the filling and topping with more apple slices. But I’m sure you can come up with something amazing!

      Reply

  6. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul — November 26, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    This tart looks delicious, I’m definitely going to give it a try. I hope you won the California Walnut challenge!

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 27th, 2011 @ 11:27 am

      Thanks, Jenne! :)

      Reply

  7. Karolina — November 30, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

    Wow, I read your story and love your mission! <3
    Keep up the good work and your beautiful creations!!

    /Karolina~

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — December 1st, 2011 @ 11:35 am

      Thank you, Karolina! You just put a smile on my face.

      Reply

  8. Tracy — November 22, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

    I made this as our Thanksgiving apple pie, everyone loved it. My oldest son said it tastes like drunken apples lol I was worried about how sweet it would be from the dates, but it was really perfect. After I made it, it sat in the fridge for a couple hours until we were finished with dinner. The crust was soft and the filling was delicious. I will definitely make this again.

    Reply

    • Nicole replied: — November 23rd, 2012 @ 10:53 am

      I’m so happy you and your family enjoyed the pie, Tracy!

      Reply

  9. Morgan C. — November 22, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

    I made this tonight for an early Thanksgiving feast. It was an absolute hit! Thank you!

    Reply

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