Apple-Pinto Tart

christine apple tartHey guys!  This is Christine and I’m back to kick off your weekend with another healthy dessert!  For this Sweet-Tooth Friday I had my mind set on something elegant.  You know, the kind of dessert you can bring to a dinner party and fill the room with ooh’s and aah’s.  I also wanted something that you, the NMA reader, could easily whip up with professional results.  The catch?  Sneaking some pinto beans into the filling while keeping it tasting yummy.  The result is this Normandy-style Apple-Pinto Tart and it is DELISH!

Wait a minute–pinto beans?  That’s right, but before you run for the hills hear me out.  First of all, there are so many variations of this pie from buttery applesauce to straight custard that I’m sure the French wouldn’t mind if we added just one more change.  (Oui?)  Secondly, though uncommon in the U.S., beans are used in desserts all over the world.  (Just maybe not France.)  For example, there are Thailand’s black beans and coconut, China’s red bean paste, and India’s many lentil based desserts.

If you’re still on the fence, think about the amazing health benefits added to our tart.  Pinto beans are full of dietary fiber, protein, and other heart healthy nutrients.  That’s unheard of in a dessert!  Plus, we aren’t just adding beans, we are swapping fat and animal products out!

apple tart ingredientsBeans aren’t the only good thing this tart has going for it.  The main sweetener in this dessert (besides the apples)  is demerara sugar.  Demerara is raw and has not been bleached from its original color, and also retains some of the minerals from the sugarcane plant.  Although it is still sugar, it’s nice to eat food that’s less processed.  Another interesting ingredient is arrowroot, which is used as a thickener.  I wanted a tart without a crust for simplicity, but that especially means the filling needs to stay together on its own.  I like arrowroot better than cornstarch because it holds up for the long periods of baking and is more flavor neutral.  That is especially important when we are already working to compensate for the flavor of beans.   Finally, I snuck in some ground flaxseed to up the nutrient ante even more.

I wanted to let you know that I drew on the Idaho Bean Commission (who knew!?) recipe for Pinto Bean Pie as an outline for this recipe.  I used walnut oil and the apples in place of the butter, the apples and demerara for sweetness, and a flaxseed mixture for the eggs.  In the end the only common ingredient left were the pinto beans, so now I am proud to present to you my very own NMA Apple Pinto Tart.

[apple tart pinto beans photo]

Apple-Pinto Tart Recipe


5 apples

1/3 cup demerara sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs arrowroot
1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground flaxseed
2 tsp egg replacer
1/4 cup warm water

1.5 cups pinto beans
2 tbs walnut oil
2 tbs pure maple syrup
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

If using dry beans, soak overnight.  Rinse and simmer for about 1 hr or until soft.  If using canned beans, rinse thoroughly to remove saltiness.

Preheat oven to 375.

Peel and dice 3 of the apples.  Mix the diced apples, lemon juice, arrowroot, spices and salt and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ground flax and egg replacer with the warm water to thicken.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl mash the beans roughly with a pastry cutter until they measure 1 cup.  Add the flax mixture and beat well to further break down beans.  Add the walnut oil and maple syrup.  Add apple mixture.  Stir in walnuts and oats.  Pour mixture into greased pie plate (I just use Pam.)  Bake for 25 minutes, rotating it around about half way through.

While the tart is in the oven, slice the other two apples into quadrants.  You don’t have to peel them; the skin looks pretty as decoration.  Remove the seeds, then slice each wedge lengthwise into very thin pieces.  They should kinda look like half moons.  Cut about 4-5 of these slices in half to use as the center of the rosette.

After 25 minutes remove the tart from the oven and place on rack.  Carefully arrange the apple slices in a circle around the perimeter of the pie pan using an overlapping pattern.  Push down slightly to secure.  Make another circle of apple slices, overlapping the outside circle.  Continue arranging the apple slices in this pattern, switching to the smaller pieces as you reach the center.  Stand the smaller pieces at more of an angle to resemble a rose.  It’s not rocket science, so if you prefer to arrange the apples into a pinwheel or even a smiley face, go for it.  Return tart to the oven and lower temperature to 350.  Bake for 30 minutes more, rotating once.  Cool thoroughly before slicing.

I hope you enjoy this pretty dessert, I know I sure did!  I was really surprised by how much the texture of the beans resembled the apples after baking.  Such a show-stopping way to get your protein and fiber!

Come back next Friday for a special No Meat Athlete request…a baked goodie especially for you athletes and athletes in training.

xoxo, Christine
Pinto Bean Muffins on FoodistaPinto Bean Muffins




  1. That tart is GORGEOUS! If it weren’t for the super pretty picture, I probably would have been too freaked out by the pinto beans (even with your glowing review) to try the recipe. Now, I’m definitely tempted!
    .-= katherine´s last blog ..Back from the Dead =-.

  2. That sounds delicious and looks beautiful; thanks, Christine! Also I didn’t know about the difference between cornstarch and arrowroot, so I REALLY appreciate you mentioning that.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Struggling with overeating: Brainstorming session! =-.

    • Thanks Sagan! Arrowroot will hold up better than cornstarch when freezing foods too. The only time I would recommend corn starch over arrowroot is when using dairy- the arrowroot gets slimy.

  3. Oh yeah! That tart looks beautiful and yummy at the same time. Adding the pinto beans is a great idea! Adds protein, fiber and probably a bit of a “nutty” flavor. Very cool. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Jennifer Z´s last blog ..You know you’re a runner when… =-.

  4. The tart sounds delicious and looks very good too!
    .-= diana´s last blog ..Komen Race for the Cure =-.

  5. The tart looks awesome!! Drool worthy for sure. 😀
    .-= Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)´s last blog ..“Rest” day??? =-.

  6. Beautiful presentation! I have no doubt it tastes as good as it looks.

  7. This is going to be scrumptious!!! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Looks delicious and SO pretty!

  9. fyi – the tart picture is not appearing at this moment.

    I’m so happy you addressed this topic and hopefully it will bring beans to the western dessert menu. As a chinese-american, I grew up eating red and green bean desserts (ice cream, steamed buns, soup, etc…) and remember watching the horror on my friends face when I offered some to them. I bet your tart could bridge that culinary gap!

  10. i’m so intrigued, i’m going to have to give this a try 🙂
    .-= ttfn300´s last blog ..An ode to Spring =-.

  11. I love using beans in desserts- This one sounds fantastic, and looks stunning too!

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