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Apple Pomegranate Tart with Cashew Cream Cheese

Apple Pomegranate Tart with Cashew Cream Cheese

I didn’t grow in a religious home but we did celebrate the holidays and Rosh Hashanah was among my favorites because a) it didn’t involve fasting b) there were no weird dietary restrictions and c) it was a fun holiday but also, as the beginning of the Jewish new year, a chance to look within, take an inventory of the previous year, make amends and set goals for the next year. As someone who has always loved her lists and her fresh starts, Rosh Hashanah has always appealed to me.

Like many new year traditions, Rosh Hashanah has its share of customary or symbolic foods that are used to help stack the deck toward good luck in the coming year. Apples and honey are traditional foods for the holiday, thought to usher in a sweet new year. As vegans, we don’t use honey (also, as ecological stewards, we try to protect these vulnerable pollinators) so maple syrup is a perfect swap here, especially with the fall upon us, used in the cashew cream cheese middle. Pomegranate seeds, gorgeous, tart little garnet-colored jewels, also are traditional on the Rosh Hashanah table, symbolizing fruitfulness and abundance. (Use this method for the simplest way to release seeds from your pomegranate, as well as a little extra aggression along with them.)

While there are a number of steps, this is still a super easy dessert to make and it creates a lovely presentation. I recommend using a tart pan for this, the kind with the detachable bottom, to not muck up your finished tart, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. It will still work. The final tart is creamy, a little tangy and luscious, and it can be served either warm or cold, but is I think it is best cold. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Apple Pomegranate Tart with Cashew Cream Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in hot water to cover for one hour.


2 cups pecans, unsalted
1 cup medjool dates, pits removed
2 teaspoons vanilla
Dash of salt

Pulse the pecans in a food processor until they are crumbled small. Add the dates, vanilla and salt, and process until combined. When pressed between the fingers, this should hold together. If it doesn’t, add some more dates or a little bit of water.

Press evenly into the bottom and the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Greasing the pan is not necessary.

Cashew Cream Cheese

1 cup raw cashews, soaked as described above
cup water
cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Add the soaked and drained cashews, water, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt to a high-speed blender. Blend, baby, blend until it’s smooth, about one minute. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, just blend longer. It may not result in as smooth a cream cheese, but, hey, that’s okay. It’ll still taste great.

Apples and Glaze

Four apples, peeled* and sliced thin (I used Gala)
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Over the top of the cream cheese layer in the tart pan, layer your apples. I enjoyed making this as a spiral, but whatever your prefer will work great. You should have about two layers of apples. Mix together the jam, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl or a measuring cup. Gently dab this over the top of the apples using a pastry brush. Cover the surface of the tart with the glaze.

Bake for one hour.

Pomegranate Seeds

1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 - 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

After one hour, remove the tart from the oven and brush with the maple syrup. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top and bake for five minutes more.

You’re done! Refrigerate for a couple of hours to serve cold or eat it warm.

*Looking for something to do with those peels? Apple peels, especially organic ones, still have some life in them and don’t need to be wasted. Check this out for ideas.

2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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