My name is Katherine Dunn and I love fudge brownies. Lemon bars make me giddy. Butter cream frosting tastes like the perfect day. I don’t mess around with toasted coconut, and I find it difficult to say goodbye to the last cream cheese crumb bun. I realize these things just make me sound like a fat boy on his birthday, but I admit that my life has been occupied with the baking and creation of sweet treats for quite some time.
I’m not sure if I would call myself a baker (I don’t have a fancy hat or own a jumbo muffin tin…although I really wish I did), but I do bake. And I bake often. I give credit to my Mom and Joy Wilson of joythebaker.com for encouraging my insatiable desire to keep creating sweet things (my mom’s apple pie recipe is killer, and Joy the Baker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart bread trumps all things).
The recipe starts with a nutty but sweet crust, powered by a hearty helping of diced mardjool dates – you can find these at any local health food store. For the filling, you might think to yourself, ‘this is a lot of strawberries’….but really, just go for it. The sweetness of the strawberries and dates allows this recipe to be completely free of any other sweeteners- making a double whammy of healthy AND vegan! For the chocolate shavings I used Sweet Chocolate Dream, a 100% dairy free chocolate (also sold at your local health food store). Once this dessert is assembled, be sure to chill for at least 1 hour before devouring.
What You Need:
- 2 cups of almonds or pecans (I used one cup of each)
- 1 cup of dates, pitted (10-12 dates equals a cup; I used mardjool dates from the health food store)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
For the Filling:
- 3 cups sliced strawberries (yes, it’s a lot of strawberries, i know)
- 5 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
- 1 cup whole strawberries (about 8 strawberries)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2-4 ounces dairy free chocolate
Put it Together:
- Pulse nuts in food processor until it is coarse meal
- Add dates, salt, and lemon juice and blend until thoroughly combined (and dates seem finely chopped)
- Press into a 8-9 inch tart or springform pan
- Set Aside
- Arrange the sliced strawberries on crust (make it pretty!)
- In a food processor, combine whole strawberries, dates, and lemon juice
- Blend until fully pulverized
- Pour the puree over your sliced strawberries
For the chocolate shavings, I took a 2 ounce dairy-free chocolate bar that I found at the health food store, melted it in the microwave, smeared it on the back of a baking sheet with a silicone brush, let it set in the freezer until it hardened (5 minutes) then shaved/curled the chocolate off with a spatula, but you can do this however you choose.
Once the puree is over the sliced strawberries, decorate the top with a few MORE sliced strawberries and chocolate shavings. Let set in the fridge 1 hour before serving.
What’s your favorite summer dessert? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
PS: This is Katherine. She was one of our models in the Hep Cat Pin Up Fashion Show. Isn’t she the cutest?! We’ll get the other photos up from the event as soon as they’re all ready!
Tarte photos courtesy of Katherine & Katherine’s photo courtesy of Amelia Bartlett Photography.