Thursday, March 14, 2013

Macadamia Shortbread Tart With Lemon Mousse And Fresh Berries

Today is Pi Day! Pi Day takes place on March 14 (3/14) is a yearly celebration for the mathematical constant pi or ∏. On March 12th 2009 the US House of Representatives Passed a resolution recognizing March 14th as National Pi Day, and people all over the country will be celebrating today by eating pie and discussing pi.

Here at Vegan Heritage Press we’re celebrating Pi Day the delicious way – with pies and tarts! This Macadamia Shortbread Tart from
The Blooming Platter Cookbook by Betsy DiJulio is perfect for both Pi Day and it helps to put us in a springtime frame of mind. The vegetarian version of this refreshing dessert won one of two top monthly prizes for “Lemon Desserts” in the January 2003 Better Homes & Gardens. This vegan version is even better with the addition of glistening red summer raspberries nestled into a citrus cream.

Shortbread Tart:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal (regular or self-rising)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped toasted macadamias or other nuts, optional

Lemon Mousse:
  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • Pinch sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

  • 6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • Zest of one large lemon
  • Vegan whipped cream
  • 1/2 pint of blackberries, blueberries or raspberries

  • Optional garnish: sprigs of fresh mint; lemon slices


  1. Shortbread Tart: Grease a baking sheet or line it with Silpat. Preheat the oven to 325°F. 
  2. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. With mixer on low, mix in flour, cornmeal, and cornstarch just until combined. Avoid overbeating. Mix in the nuts, if using, until well distributed. The dough should be very stiff. If it feels soft, gather into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  3. With floured fingers, press the dough into an 8-inch circle on the prepared baking sheet. Prick the surface all over with a fork. Bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are barely browned. Avoid overbaking, as the shortbread will break rather than slice when you try to cut it. 
  4. Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack and cool the shortbread for 10 minutes. Carefully remove it from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack. Transfer the crust to a serving platter, cover tightly, and set it aside until the mousse is chilled. 
  5. Lemon Mousse: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the soy milk and salt, and whisk until smooth. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook the mixture, stirring continually, until thick. Reduce the heat if necessary to prevent sticking and scorching. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, and place it in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Cool the custard, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  6. Combine the tofu and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the custard mixture and continue processing until completely incorporated. Add the zest and pulse to dis- tribute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.
  7. To assemble: When the mousse is thoroughly chilled, spread it over the surface of the shortbread, stopping 1/2-inch from the edge. Cover and chill the tart overnight. Just before serving, decorate the top with berries and garnish with the whipped cream and optional sprigs of mint or lemon slices.
Yield: 8 servings

From The Blooming Platter Cookbook by Betsy DiJulio. ©2011 Betsy DiJulio. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

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