All of these variations on tart fillings are no bake. The bit of baking that you may want to do is for the tart shells themselves. They only take about fifteen minutes prep and fifteen minutes to bake. Not so bad, right? Of course you can use purchased shells, but these are nutty and filled with healthy goodness. So to do them right (in my humble opinion – grin), step one is to use my version of mini tart cups. The basic dry ingredients of the cups are 1/2 gluten free honey grahams and 1/2 pecans. With the addition of the sun butter, the cups are very low in sugar, delicious and full of nutrition. What more can you ask for in baked goods?
You can make the shells ahead of time and store them in a dry, airtight container. Do NOT store them in the fridge. They will get too soft. They will keep for at least a week. I’ve never kept them around for longer so I don’t have that information.
Now for the fillings. I wanted to give you some background on the fillings and possible substitutions for you. At the end of this post, there is a gallery of the cute little deserts with a link for the actual recipes. I started out including them in this post, but HOLY COW! With eight recipes, it made for a very long post. So read this first and then click on over to the actual yummy recipes.
I’ve experimented and come up with eight different, relatively low cal and sometimes sugar free fillings for you. Even though these tarts are technically deserts, they make nutritious and energizing snacks for anytime of the day. The filling can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. All of the fillings keep well for at least a week. To maintain a more crisp tart shell, I only assemble just before presentation whether it’s for a pot luck or just for myself. Of course, they can still be filled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, but it will make for a softer shell if you have to wait too long to serve. Not gross at all, but I like a more crisp tart cup myself.
All of these fillings are easily adaptable to whatever your preferences are. If you want a sugar-free version, substitute Stevia for the sweetener. Remember, a little Stevia goes a long way, so for every cup of filling that I make, I only add 1/2 to 1 packet of Stevia. And that depends on what the filling is. For the very tart Greek yogurt, I add the full packet, but for anything less sour, I only add 1/2 packet of Stevia. Try it with 1/2 packet and then add more if you need to.
Other interchangeable sweeteners that go well with these tarts are Wax Orchard’s Fruit Sweet, honey, pure maple syrup, maple butter and Agave. I’ve tried them all and am happy with the taste of them all. Spoon for spoon, the Wax Orchards fruit Sweet has the same amount of calories as honey. BUT, it is twice as sweet as honey. So, to use it, you would only put 1/2 of the amount of honey called for in the recipe. Thus, you are only eating half the calories. Know what I mean jelly bean?
A note on maple butter: it’s just whipped pure maple syrup. You can buy it like that in the health food stores. I like to use the butter for the fillings because it keeps the filling a little more firm than if you use the syrup.
Use whatever fruit you like. I like fresh, but frozen fruit works as well. Use whatever nut butter that you like. What? You say that you don’t like peanut butter? Then substitute Sun Butter. It’s made from sunflower seeds and is delicious. In my opinion, it’s better than Almond butter. If you’ve never tried it, give it a go. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.
Here it comes: the Mother-knows-best part of the post. I do not want to take all of the fun out of enjoying these super cute little treats. But, as a reformed sugar addict I have to add a word of caution here. As far as deserts go, these are relatively healthy but they do have sugar in them. Even Stevia is a natural sugar and your body will metabolize it as such. If you are a sugar addict like I am, then you MUST be aware that you will need to share these treats. And “treats” is the key word. Have one or two and then push the platter away and move on to the veggies. That way you will avoid those awful sugar cravings that are sure to come when you over indulge in treats.