Eat Like a Gatherer, Bake Like a Rockstar

Hello everybody!  It’s Friday, so this is Christine with another healthy dessert recipe!  Today’s recipe for Fresh Fruit Tart with Almond Crust is an unlikely cross between primitive and elegant—but all your tastebuds will say is “wow!”

Does your body crave caveman ingredients?

The paleolithic diet craze seems extreme, and definitely fudges some historical details, but I get the underlying principle.  Our bodies had finished evolving their digestive systems before the birth of agriculture, so our stomachs aren’t really prepared for the wheat, legumes, and refined sugars we force it to process.

It makes me think of cows who just want to chew on grass all day, but instead get their seven stomachs loaded up with antibiotics so they can fatten up on a cheap corn diet.  Shouldn’t my body get as much care as grass-fed beef?

Of course, progress and technology are part of what makes us human.  Now that we don’t have to spend all day foraging for food, we have time to think about food philosophies and compassion for animals, and even develop fad diets.  Besides, didn’t the caveman only live to be like 30?  If I only have 3 good years left, and can’t even eat peanut butter, well I just don’t think it’s worth it.

What would Betty Rubble do?

Luckily, this month’s featured cookbook Clean Food offers a good compromise.  Lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, artfully paired with beans and grains.  This minimally-processed approach takes the good notions of the paleo diet without the Flintstone-fervor.  Like all the recipes in Clean Food, you don’t get that classic food-coma feeling after finishing this meal; instead, you’re left feeling satisfied and full of energy.

I also really appreciate the focus on seasonality in this book: Each of the four seasons has its own table of contents, and get this—its own dessert section! Finally, a way to sweetly showcase each season’s unique offerings, from rhubarb to butternut squash.

This fresh fruit tart is from the summer section, but since it’s a little early I was unable to get the peaches and used black plums instead.  The natural geometric patterns of the overlapping sliced fruit take the panic out of decorating and provide a no-fail Betty-and-Wilma-approved elegance.

Here’s the recipe posted with permission, copyright CLEAN FOOD, copyright 2009, Terry Walters, Sterling Publishing, Co, Inc.

Fresh Fruit Tart with Almond Crust

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 kiwis, peeled and thinkly sliced
  • 3 peaches, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups berries of choice
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup fruit nectar or juice of  choice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon agar powder or flakes
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or kudzu
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparing crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place nuts in food processor and pulse to chop coarsely.  Add rolled oats, oat bran and salt and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.  In small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, oil and almond extract.  Add to almond-oat mixture and process to combine.  Transfer to 9-inch oiled tart pan or springform pan and press down to form crust.  Pierce several times with fork and bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and set aside on wire rack to cool.

Assembling Tart:

Arranged sliced kiwis and peaches around outside edge of tart and fill center with berries.  In medium pot over no heat, combine apple juice, fruit nectar, syrup, agar, and arrowroot.  Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk continuously until agar dissolves and mixture thickens.  Add vanilla, remove from heat and set aside to cool 5 minutes.  Spoon evenly over tart and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

I really enjoyed this tart; the ease of assembly, the presentation, and the taste make it a winner for me, especially for bringing to parties or potlucks.  When you walk in with this vegan tart that looks as fancy as a Parisian patisserie, you’re gonna feel like a baking rockstar.

It’s an easy introduction to animal-free food for those less-enthusiastic guests, so go ahead and try it out!  Even cavemen like nuts and berries.

See you next Sweet-Tooth Friday!


About the Author: Christine Frazier writes vegan recipes through lots of research, trial, and error … now she is applying the same theory to her other passion, writing stories. Follow along as she deconstructs bestsellers and learns how to write a novel.



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  1. Your tart came out beautiful! I’d like to see someone try that on paleolithic meat cravings(just kidding!). Awesome sweet-tooth friday!

  2. Is it bad that I just want the crust 😉 The whole thing does look incredible. Bookmarking for the next time I need to bring dessert
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Weekend Update (Including a Blogger Meet up!) =-.

  3. Oh my gosh. That looks delicious. I’m a sucker for fruit desserts. I will be making this very soon!
    .-= Chrissy´s last blog ..check in: ten goals for oh ten =-.

  4. What a beautiful tart! I agree with Evan, the crust would be fab on it’s own. hee hee.
    .-= JoLynn-dreaminitvegan´s last blog ..Carmelized Onion and Kale Quiche =-.

  5. I’m already trying to figure out who has a birthday coming up that I could find an excuse to make this for. This is my favorite Sweet Tooth Friday to date!!
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Falafels in a box! =-.

  6. This looks amazing! My fiance and I are hopefully going to make it this weekend!
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Why I decided to become a vegetarian =-.

  7. Oh MY, this looks divine!!!

    Question: You think it would work if I substituted the canola oil for coconut oil? I try avoid canola oil and usually prefer to stick with Olive or Coconut.

    Thanks, I LOVE all the great recipes and ideas that come from this site! xo

    • Hey Shael,
      I think coconut oil would work great here, just make sure you get it warm enough to turn to its liquid state before mixing with the other liquid ingredients.

      I’m glad you are enjoying the recipes!
      Thanks for the question, Christine

      • I finally made this tonight but it didn’t turn out very well 🙁 How long should it take for the topping mixture to thicken? I whisked it for quite awhile and it didn’t seem to be getting thick at all. I hoped it would just thicken once the tart was in the fridge, but it didn’t! It sank to the bottom of the crust and made it all soggy 🙁 I ended up using 1 and 3/4 cups of apple juice since I had no fruit nectar. Could this have been the problem? I definitely want to try it again! Thanks 🙂
        .-= Shael´s last blog ..Shael DiscoKitty added a new photo to the album. =-.

        • Whoops, I meant 1 and 1/4 cups of apple juice! (1/4 cup to replace the fruit nectar)
          .-= Shael´s last blog ..Shael DiscoKitty added a new photo to the album. =-.

          • Hey Shael,
            Oh no what a bummer! I wonder what happened…I just looked up what would affect agar in setting up; I saw at that foods that are too acidic (like kiwi) and other foods (like peaches) have enzymes that break down the gelling ability.

            One theory could be that since you heated it for longer, it needed more than 5 minutes to cool before being poured over the tart?

            Also, I used pear juice for the nectar. It’s possible that the extra apple juice was too acidic.

            That website also mentions differences in strength depending on when the agar is harvested.

            Finally, I used agar powder, not agar flakes. Since both are listed as options, it seems like that shouldn’t matter but maybe if you use flakes you require a larger quantity.

            Thanks for the update, and good luck!


  8. This fruit tart looks amazing! Can I have a slice 😉 So colorful!

  9. That’s gorgeous! wow it ALMOST doesn’t matter how good it tastes.
    .-= Rita´s last blog ..Fitness Friday: Peace with the BOSU =-.

  10. If paleo people didn’t live past 30 we wouldn’t be here. It took 15-16 years to reach sexual maturity. Then nine months to produce a baby. If the parents died by age 30 they would be dead before they raised their first kid. Based on menopause being nature’s way to keep from wasting effort on raising a kid and dying before they were independent, one can assume that they lived to about age 70.

    You write “definitely fudges some historical details.” What details are fudged?

  11. That’s looks amazing! I just got the clean food cookbook but my only complaint is that it doesn’t have pictures of the amazing food. I swear I eat just as much with my eyes when I’m deciding what to make!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    That looks absolutely beautiful! I love the colors! I’ll keep my eye on this one for the next get together I have with friends! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. This is looking good!
    .-= Super Mario´s last blog ..RE-CAP: Falls Duathlon & Spring Classic Kids Mile =-.

  14. @Christine. You wrote “The paleolithic diet craze seems extreme, and definitely fudges some historical details…” Please explain what details are fudged.

  15. I love Clean Eating magazine and all of its recipes so can’t wait to try this one. Thanks, Christine!
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..Mountain Goat Run – Race Recap =-.

  16. This tart looks fantastic… Wish I could make something like this.

  17. I’m a vegan at heart but have experimented with paleo to see how it effects my performance. For an endurance athlete, I have come to the conclusion that clean eating somewhere between these two is the way to go. Grains like oatmeal and quinoa and Ezekial breads give me energy for long workouts and they don’t disagree with my system in any way. Thanks for featuring that book. I’ll check it out.

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