Karen Gordon: Vegan desserts can tantalize the taste buds

Karen Gordon loves this Strawberry Lemonade Tart because it’s sweet yet not too sweet, it’s bursting with strawberry flavour and just enough tartness from the freshly squeezed lemon juice

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Summer season is berry season, and nothing speaks of summer more than red, juicy, plump strawberries.


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Summer season is also swimsuit season and here I am, the sweet tooth queen, craving sweet treats while also wanting to wear a swimsuit without my belly making an entrance before the rest of my body does.

So, what do I do when I want yummy treats and still be able to strut around, somewhat confidently, in my swimsuit? I make healthier vegan recipes, of course.

As swimsuit season began, the dessert I most wanted to make was Strawberry Lemonade Tart. Because I love local strawberries, I drove down to No. 6 Road in Richmond and brought home a nice big flat of B.C. Strawberries.

If the sound of a vegan dessert does not sound appealing to you, you’re not alone. For the longest time, I couldn’t imagine that any dessert would taste good without dairy. I had gotten used to the taste of eggs, butter, and heavy cream in my desserts. But since the pull of gravity is stronger where I locate my personal scale, I’ve been working on mixing up my diet with some healthier treats. After months of experimenting, I can now say that I have a small repertoire of vegan dessert that not only look good but also taste delicious.


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One of my favourite desserts is Lemon Tart, a decadent confection packed with calories. Not only is the pie crust made with an egg and loads of butter to give it that flaky, buttery texture, the lemon filling consists of six eggs and a whole cup of butter. It’s a recipe best saved for when I’m covered in a couple of layers of clothing. So, instead of richness, I opted to focus on light, flavourful and refreshing. And with the help of those beautiful local strawberries, I was able to create a dessert that satisfied my sweet tooth.

I love this Strawberry Lemonade Tart because it’s sweet yet not too sweet, it’s bursting with strawberry flavour and just enough tartness from the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The texture is creamy yet slightly jelly-ish. While it’s not as rich as my Lemon Tart, I love that it’s light and refreshing, makes a perfect after-dinner treat, and it’s kind to my health and waistline.


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Working off my usual Lemon Tart recipe, I replaced the six eggs and one cup of butter with cornstarch, unsweetened coconut milk beverage and a knob of vegan butter. I also replaced the butter in the crust with margarine and omitted the egg entirely. And instead of serving my tart with whipped cream as I normally would, I topped it with sliced strawberries.

My tastebuds didn’t miss the dairy one bit and my belly thanked me profusely.

Karen Gordon loves this Strawberry Lemonade Tart.
Karen Gordon loves this Strawberry Lemonade Tart. Photo by Karen Gordon /PNG

Vegan Strawberry Lemonade Tart



2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour

2 tbs (15g) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp (3g) fine sea salt

1/2 cup (113g) cold vegan butter, cubed

1 to 2 tbs ice-cold water


3 cups (500g) sliced strawberries + 1/8 cup (30 ml) water

1/2 cup (120ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice


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3/4 cup (180ml) unsweetened coconut milk beverage

1/3 cup (67g) sugar or equivalent sugar substitute, to taste

4 tbs (30g) cornstarch + 4 tbs (60ml) water

2 tbs (28g) vegan butter


1: To a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine.

2: Add the cubed cold vegan butter to the flour mixture and continue pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

3: With the machine running, add 1 tablespoon of the ice-cold water. Stop as soon as the mixture starts to come together and forms a dough. If required, add more water, a teaspoon at a time to help the dough come together.

4: Transfer the dough to a well -floured surface. Roll dough into a 14” circle. Lift and place rolled out dough onto a tart pan or pie plate. Cut out flower shapes from the excess dough. Crimp the edges of the tart shell and prick the base of the crust before placing it in the freezer to freeze for an hour.


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5: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

6: Remove tart crust from the refrigerator. Top the crust with a large piece of parchment paper that extends 2 inches over the edge of the crust. Place pie-weights, beans or rice over the parchment paper to weigh down the base.

7: Place the tart pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully lift the parchment paper and pie weights off the partially baked crust.

8: Return the pan into the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until the crust is cooked and lightly brown.

9: Remove from the oven and allow tart shell to cool before filling.

10: Remove the cut-out flower dough from the freezer and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7-10 minute or until the flowers are lightly golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack then set aside until needed.


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While the tart shell is cooling, prepare the filling. Since the filling will firm up as it cools, it is recommended that the filling not be made too far in advance.

1: Place the sliced strawberries and water into a blender and blend until smooth.

2: For a smooth, creamy filling, use a fine mesh sieve to strain the strawberries and remove the seeds. This step may be omitted if rushed or if seeds do not bother you.

3: Add the strawberry puree, lemon juice, coconut milk beverage and sugar into a saucepan.

4: Heat over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil.

5: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water together to create a slurry.

6: Add the cornstarch slurry to the strawberry mixture and immediately whisk until the mixture is thickened. Remove the pan off the stove and immediately add butter to the mixture. Continue whisking until the filling is smooth and silky.

7: Pour the strawberry lemonade filling into the prepared tart crust.

8: Allow the mixture to cool slightly before transferring the tart into the refrigerator to chill. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight preferably.

9: Decorate the tart with freshly sliced strawberries and pie crust flowers. Slice and serve as usual. Enjoy!

Makes one 9” tart

Karen Gordon is a Food Blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com and on Instagram at @karen.t.ology



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Source: vancouversun.com