Imagine biting into a perfectly tart lemon bar:
Sour from the citrus hits the back of your tongue, balanced out by sugary sweetness filling the rest of your mouth. Your teeth gently press though a crust that doesn't need to be overly flashy -- just the perfect combination of soft & firm -- lemon is the star after all.
It is no wonder they are one of Dave's favorite treats. What are in lemon bars anyway? Mostly eggs & sugar? Whatever it is, they are the perfect balance of gooey filling in a soft bar you can pick up without having it fall to pieces.
I wanted to create a raw dessert with a texture similar to traditional lemon bars. The recipes I found online either yielded a treat Lara Bar-esque or were creamier than I was after. My ah-ha moment hit while eating one of my desert island foods.
I love mangoes - especially champagne mangoes - & they are perfect when you are after a sweet, gooey filling. This dessert is not traditional by any means, & I decided to go with two small tarts instead of bars. The first bite is a subtle sweetness from the mangoes, but it's quickly overtaken as lemon floods to the back of the tongue. Even though mangoes play a crucial supporting role, lemon is definitely still the star here.
While this crust isn't anything like the traditional's, how could a crust made entirely of dates be anything but amazing? I think a fine almond meal crust would be really fantastic too; but I kept it simple with dates & a little coconut. (I didn't want to use nuts. To be completely honest, I intentionally kept the fat at less than 10%.)
The dates can be tricky & sticky; just keep pressing & working it, sliding your finger along the corner. It's worth it! And you'll be left with plenty of yummy date butter to lick from your fingers.
**This recipe is a submission for a raw food contest. If you like it, PLEASE go here to vote for my tart by "liking" it on Facebook. If you really like it, please share it on your wall with your friends & family. I rarely enter competitions -- & ask for votes -- but I'd really love & appreciate your support! I hope everyone is having a fun, active, & delicious Memorial Day!
See all of the yummy raw food recipes at facebook.com/fullyrawkristina.
- ~1.5 cup fresh dates
- 3 tablespoon dried coconut (optional)
- 6 champagne mangoes
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- two small tart pans or one deep, square dish
In a food processor, puree about 1.5 - 2 cups fresh or soaked dates with the dried coconut (optional) to form a paste. I found the date paste easier to work with after letting it firm in the freezer for a minute or two. I plopped a couple balls of paste into the center of each tart pan & placed in the freezer while I made the filling. Press into two, (*parchment-lined) mini tart pans (or the bottom of a larger square pan for lemon squares).
For the filling, combine lemon juice, zest, & 3 chopped champagne mangoes. Puree. With the food processor running, slowing add 3 more chopped mangoes & puree until smooth. If slightly runny, allow filling to set up in freezer for a few minutes; then pour over tart crusts. Allow the tarts to set up in freezer for at least one hour.
You can carefully remove the tarts from each pan using the parchment paper, but the dates are kind of sticky & this is a little messy. They make a pretty dessert served right in the tart pans. *Don't bother lining them if you plan to serve this way.