Semifreddo is an Italian term for desserts that are served semi-frozen. These no-bake semi-frozen tarts are light, refreshing, and not too sweet. They’re great on a hot summer day. You can make them plain, with grated chocolate and cinnamon sprinkled on the tops, or add a fresh fruit layer.

Semifreddo Mini Cream Tarts [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Serves

12

Ingredients

For the Base:

  • 1 cup almonds with skin, roasted
  • 1/2 cup small-size rolled oats, roasted (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered vanilla
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in water or at least 2 hours in boiled water
  • 1/4 cup pure lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond cream 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder

For Topping:

  • Grated dark chocolate mixed with powdered cinnamon
  • Fresh or frozen fruit, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon agar agar powder (see notes)
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Preparation

To Make the Base:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put rolled oats in a small ungreased pan and add the vanilla. Dry roast on medium-high, stirring constantly until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium-size bowl.
  4. Take almonds out of oven and chop them small. Mix chopped almonds with oats.
  5. In a small microwaveable bowl, put the pitted dates and add 3 tablespoons of water. Press the dates into the water and microwave covered on high for 10 seconds to soften. Take out and keep the water with the dates. Add the maple syrup and process with a handheld blender until it looks like caramel.
  6. Add the caramel to the almond/oat mixture and mix with a spoon until well incorporated.
  7. Use 12 paper muffin molds and put about 1½ tablespoons of base mixture in each. Press down with fingers tips so that mixture sticks together. You can also use the bottom of a small stem glass to press them even. Put molds in refrigerator.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Strain soaked cashews and rinse them under cold running water. Put them into a high-speed blender.
  2. In a small bowl, hand whisk the lemon juice with the maple syrup and add this to the cashews in blender. Blend just enough to mix the ingredients (it will still be lumpy looking).
  3. In a small saucepan on stovetop, heat up the almond cream and add the agar agar. Simmer and stir for one minute only. Add this to the cashew mixture and blend for 2-3 minutes gradually increasing to high speed or until silky-smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
  4. Take prepared molds out of refrigerator. Directly from blender, spoon out about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cashew mixture on top of each base. Spread evenly with back of a small spoon. Add toppings (optional). Chill in freezer for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Peel off molds, let soften for 5-10 minutes (or longer with fruit on top), and serve semi-frozen, like ice-cream. Store leftover tarts in freezer.

Notes

For the optional fruit topping, put fresh or frozen fruit (about 2 cups), whole or chopped, in a bowl. Squeeze a little lemon juice and mix. Mash 1-2 tablespoons of the fruit in a separate bowl to make some fruit juice and add this to the fruit. Add 1 tablespoon agar agar powder and mix. If the fruit mixture is sour, add some granulated sugar. Mix and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. It will slightly gel. With a slotted spoon, spread the fruit on top of the tart fillings already in molds. Put tarts in freezer.

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