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Okay, I'll admit it, in my childhood, I was a fan of WWF wrestling. Saturdays were filled with body slams & beefy men in tights; Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Rowdy Roddy Piper, the Ultimate Warrior, Jake the Snake, Bret "the Hitman" Hart, I watched them all while yelling at the television. Needless to say, my mother was less than thrilled. What does this have to do with vegan food you ask? Well, Natalie from Bake & Destroy is currently holding a "Sugar Slam!" competition of wrestling inspired desserts & I decided to whip up an entry.
When coming up with ideas, many things danced through my head, "cupcakes with snakes popping out!", "something with blood!" & then I decided to go another route. I never make tarts. In fact, this is my first tart with a tart pan that has been sitting here a few months. Enter, the British Bulldog! I think it's safe to say he would like a tart! My trip to London had provided me with some goodies to incorporate in my dessert, namely McVitie's Digestive Biscuits (only the LIGHTS are vegan) & Bird's Custard Powder. With summer's wonderful berries flooding the farmers market & my loot from London, I set out to create a tart fit for a wrestler!
British Bulldog's Custard Berry Tart with Biscuit Crust
2 cups Digestive Biscuits, Rich Tea Biscuits, or Hob Nobs (approximately 14 biscuits), crumbled.
6 Tbsp Earth Balance, melted.
a pinch of cinnamon (optional)
2 cups soy milk
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Custard Powder (try Bird's or Orgran)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split & scraped. (optional)
1 cup blueberries
For the Crust- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees & spray a 9 inch tart pan with non-stick spray.
Over medium heat, melt 6 tbsp of Earth Balance.
Crumble biscuits until you've reached 2 cups & place them in a bowl with the cinnamon.
Add the Earth Balance until a soft crumbly dough forms & then press it in to the bottom & sides of the tart pan.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes & let it cool completely.
For the Custard- Combine 2 tbsp of the soy milk, the sugar & custard powder, whisk to combine, forming a paste & removing all lumps.
In a saucepan, combine the paste & the rest of the soy milk. On medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer & let it thicken, stirring occasionally.
Whisk the lemon juice & arrowroot together, once again making sure there's no lumps. Add the lemon juice to the thickened mixture & bring it back to a simmer, continue to thicken the mixture.
Once thickened, turn off the heat, stir in the extracts & vanilla bean. Place the custard in a bowl with a layer of plastic wrap on the top of the custard, so a skin doesn't form. Place in the refrigerator until it is completely cooled, it will firm up quite a bit once cool.
Assembly- Once everything has cooled, add the custard to the crust, filling all the way to the edges. Make sure you don't leave too much custard in the middle, or your fruit will sink in & disappear.
To make a Union Jack; From top to bottom & across the sides form a cross with your strawberries, then with thinner sliced berries, make an "X" shape.
Use the blueberries to fill in the vacant spaces, leaving visible custard on either side of the strawberries to make the white lines.
Place your finished tart in the refrigerator to bring everything up to the same temperature or be a rebel & dig in! I think the British Bulldog would opt to eat it straightaway!
My Notes: This makes a light, fluffy custard that would be good with any sort of fruit. Many grocery stores carry Bird's Custard Powder, but if you don't want to use it, you can try a flour or cornstarch thickened recipe for custard or pastry cream. Most biscuits or cookies would suitable for the crust, I just love a good digestive & was thrilled to find the McV's Lights to be vegan. Many other brands of digestives are vegan, just read the label!
On another note, I was surprised to find out I am nominated for a 2008 Veggie Award from VegNews Magazine for "Favorite Veg Blog". Make sure you go vote, not only so the veggie voice is heard, but you may win some fabulous prizes! Ooh, prizes! Anyway, I am honored that VegNews thought of my humble little blog & I'm nominated with some truly fabulous bloggers & friends.