It’s Pi Day tomorrow, so naturally there has to be pie right? Right. Glad we’re all on the same page here.
So based on our local weather forecast, I’m thinking we’re done with snow around here. A month ago I might have been sad to see Winter go because I’ve missed having a white Winter season for so many years, but in case you haven’t noticed, I’m basically over Winter and totally ready for Spring. Yes, mid-March is the perfect time for Spring to truly arrive. This is such a random thing to notice unless you’re me, but when I got in the car yesterday and the seat was warmed from the sun rather than its usual freezing cold temp that always makes me cringe.
In other recent news, my berry addiction seems to be reaching an all-time high in anticipation of the season changing. I’m so addicted that I’m actually pretty sure I could eat my weight in fresh berries. What’s your superpower?
These cute little tarts were a spur of the moment idea I had a few days ago. In fact, the cream was something I’d made with a different recipe in mind, and I had been planning to bake a typical pastry pie with a cooked berry filling. But then I thought about how delicious the vanilla custard would be with some fresh berries and remembered that pi day was so close.
Between Springtime coming, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and all the other random events around March I always seem to miss Pi Day and I wanted to be sure not to let that happen again this year. That’s when I realized these little pies/tarts just needed to happen.
It’s just a personal preference, but I’ll always choose fresh berries over cooked ones even though I love them cooked also. Don’t worry, if you’re a bigger fan of cooked berries I’ve got all Spring and Summer to share plenty of those kind of recipes, but today’s recipe is all about celebrating the fresh ones.
Yeah, so these simple little tarts are super basic. We’re talking graham cracker crust, meets simple vanilla pudding, meets fresh berries, super easy-peasy! You can also make it as a larger pie in a 9-inch pie pan, but you guys know I’m always a sucker for the miniature versions of things, so I chose the more individual size. I used some of the dishes from this Pyrex set, but any ramekins or pie dishes will do. Oh, and this didn’t make it into the photos but a squirt of whipped cream on top is the perfect way to finish these off.
Easy Vanilla Cream Custard Berry Tarts (Vegan)
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker or vanilla cookie crumbs finely ground *see note finely ground *see note (I used graham crackers from this recipe
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegan "butter" melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Vanilla Cream Custard:
- 1 1/2 cups plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup coconut cream *see note
- 1 1/2 teapoons vanilla extract
- fresh berries or fruits
- vegan whipped cream optional
Graham Cracker Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 defrees F (180 C) and grease a 9-inch or 4 (2-cup) ramekins (I used the 2, 2-cup, and 1, 4-cup, rounds from this Pyrex set). Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, vanilla, and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Press into your greased pan(s) and use the bottom of a cup or just your fingers to shape it about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes until beginning to brown. Remove and set aside to cool completely while you prepare the custard.
Vanilla Cream Custard:
Whisk sugar, salt, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in cornstarch until very smooth.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the first bubble pops and splutters. Turn off heat and continue stirring rapidly as it will start to get really thick, then remove from heat and stir in coconut cream and vanilla. If lumps have formed pour pudding through a sieve into a clean bowl or if your pudding is smooth you can skip the sieve. Pour the mixture into prepared crusts and cover with plastic wrap directly on top to prevent it from forming a film.
Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. (If your in a rush you can put in the freezer for about an hour to chill it faster.) Serve them topped with fresh berries, fruit, and maybe some whipped cream!
*If you are vegan and prefer to not make your own graham crackers you can replace the crumbs in this recipe with a number of lightly sweet cookies or crackers from the store. I think Nabisco makes grahams without honey but Speculoos and Biscoff Speculoos cookies, animal crackers, cinnamon teddy grahams, and Girl Scout's Thanks-a-lots are all vegan. Double check to make sure though.