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!

No-Bake Apple Tart | A Dash of Compassion

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!

No-Bake Apple Tart | A Dash of Compassion

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No-bake apple tart

Yield: one 8-inch tart


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


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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23 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.

  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!

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

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

  4. Nicole — November 23, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

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

  5. Nicole — November 23, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

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

  6. Nicole — November 23, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    Thanks! The crust was better than I expected.

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

    Incredible! I will be making this very soon!

  8. 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 :)

  9. 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!

  10. Nicole — November 27, 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!

  11. Nicole — November 27, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    Thanks, Jenne! :)

  12. Nicole — November 27, 2011 @ 11:28 am

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

  13. 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!!


  14. Nicole — December 1, 2011 @ 11:35 am

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

  15. 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.

  16. Nicole — November 23, 2012 @ 10:53 am

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

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

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

  18. Nicole — November 24, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    Wonderful! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Morgan!

  19. Piper — November 25, 2014 @ 10:06 am

    This looks great, I’m planning on making this for Thanskgiving! Is it possible I can use plain Apple juice instead of Apple cider?

  20. Nicole — November 25, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

    I haven’t tried it with apple juice but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. I hope you and your family enjoy this, Piper. Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Piper — November 25, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    Thank you, I can’t wait to make it :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Adriana — November 25, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

    How long should I soak the dates for?

  23. Nicole — November 25, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

    Just long enough to soften them. I put them in a bowl with hot water and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Hope that helps. :)