Before moving to Colorado Rainier cherries didn’t exist. The summer after arriving they suddenly materialized, as if by magic. I’ve always been a cherry lover. I even have a cherry tattoo on my hip. Cherry is usually my favorite flavor of anything. Although, before moving here I don’t remember ever having a fresh cherry. That seems to be the case with a lot of fruits and vegetables since my healthy eating habits didn’t start until a few years ago. As with the other fresh fruits and vegetables I’ve tried, I am now spoiled by the pure taste. There’s no going back now! I even bought this cute little cherry chomper dude to help me pit them.
I’m not sure what makes Rainier cherries so special, but I much prefer them to other sweet varieties. It may have something to do with their gorgeous color. Since I didn’t know much about them I did some research and found some interesting facts:
- Rainier cherries were developed by researchers at Washington State University in 1952
- They are a cross between Bing and Van cultivar cherries
- They are named after Mount Rainier
- Their season is short being from late June to mid-July, making them more expensive
- The Northwest cherry season usually spans from June to the end of August
- Cherries are considered a stone fruit being related to peaches, plums, apricots, and almonds
- Cherries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C
- 1 cup of cherries contains 13% fiber and 18% vitamin C
The filling for this tart is beyond simple using just 3 ingredients. I wanted to experiment using chia seeds knowing they gel up when combined with a liquid. I happened to have a large amount of dates leftover so I decided they would be the perfect base mixed with some milk.
I recently found out that chia seeds contain a high amount of calcium having 25% of your DV for every 1/4 cup. Combined with the milk (if you use So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk), the dates, and the yogurt in the crust one slice of this tart contains about 20% of your DV of calcium. Not to mention the amount of fiber you’re getting which comes out to about 40% of your DV in every slice.
My point of all this is to say this tart is the best and a rather healthy alternative to most desserts since it contains no refined sugar. So eat up and enjoy it! I could have eaten half of this for dinner, but all I had were two slices for dessert…
Berry Cherry Tart
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free
makes 8 servings
- 20 to 25 Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- Soak pitted dates in filtered water for 24 hours.
- Drain dates and place them in a food processor with the milk. Blend until smooth, this may take several minutes. Scrape down sides as needed.
- Set aside until crust is done baking.
- 1 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/3 cup baking cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soy-free Earth Balance buttery spread, softened
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla So Delicious yogurt
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9.5″ tart pan.
- In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet and stir until everything is mixed well and it looks like rich, wet potting soil.
- Dump dough into tart pan and press evenly on the bottom and up the side. Poke holes through the bottom with a fork to prevent crust from rising.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until it looks dry and begins to crack.
- 1/4 pound rainier cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- 10 ounces blueberries
- While crust is cooling add chia seeds to the date/milk mixture and stir until chia seeds are properly dispersed.
- Pour filling into tart shell and spread evenly.
- Top with cherries and blueberries.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!