If you’re looking for an alternative way to use apricots in your cooking, this apricot and lemon tart could be just what you are looking for. Not only is it delicious, but it is packed with health-promoting antioxidants, making it a healthier choice for a dessert or afternoon treat. As a bonus, the recipe is vegan-friendly, so suitable for anyone who avoids animal produce or who has an egg or dairy intolerance.
Apricots – packing a nutritional punch
Apricots are high in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene, making them a nutrient-rich choice. Their fiber content means apricots and anything that contains them are filling, which is good news if you want to lose weight or cut back on snacks between your meals. As apricots are high in fiber, they also promote healthy digestion, but as the majority of this is soluble fiber, they are likewise good for blood sugar control. Meanwhile, vitamin C and beta-carotene are two antioxidants that are linked to healthier blood vessels and a reduced risk of heart disease. As antioxidant supplements may cause more harm than good, the best way to increase your intake of antioxidants is through natural sources such as apricots. There is also a link between a good intake of dietary antioxidants and protection against cancer. However, antioxidants don’t just benefit your physical well-being, as they can also improve your mental well-being too. For instance, studies show that people with higher intakes of carotenoids – of which beta-carotene is one – are less likely to suffer from depressed mood. Similarly, enhanced intakes of vitamin C are also linked to improved mood.
A little of what you fancy does you good
Although it’s not always possible to prevent mood disorders, including nutrient-dense foods in your diet is one helpful way to reduce the risk. Boosting your mood naturally reduces the likelihood that you will be tempted by addictive substances to improve the way you feel. Another natural way to enhance your mood is to treat yourself to a bit of something sweet. It’s no coincidence that desserts act as pick-me-ups, as we usually associate these foods with fond memories and just tasting them, smelling their aroma or experiencing their mouth feel can take us back to happier times. However, foods rich in carbohydrate can also boost serotonin production, which is one of the feel-good molecules released by our brain, helping to lift our spirits. Just be careful that you don’t over-do it on the sweet stuff, as eating these items too often can outweigh their benefits.
Apricot and Lemon Tart
Half a cup of flour
Two cups of soya milk (you can use rice, oat or nut milk substitutes as an alternative)
Third of a cup of sugar
Quarter of a cup of lemon juice
2tsp of lemon zest, grated
1/2tsp of vanilla extract
One cup of Vanilla Wafers, crushed
Quarter of a cup of margarine
Quarter of a cup of coconut
Making the “lemon curd”:
Add the flour to a bowl and whisk in half a cup of soya milk.
In a saucepan add the rest of the soya milk and sugar, before whisking. Stir in the flour mix and whisk, then heat for around five minutes or till thickened, whisking all the while.
Add the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract, whisk and heat for another minute.
Assembling the tart:
Add the Vanilla wafers, margarine and coconut to a food processor and pulse, before pressing the mix into a tart tin.
Add about 14 apricot halves around the outer edge of the tart and slice the remaining three apricots, forming a flower effect in the center of the tart.
Pour on the “lemon curd” mix.
Bake for around 35 minutes at 375°F.
Allow to cool and serve each slice with cream, ice cream or custard – dairy or dairy-free depending on your preference.
Many people don’t realize that Vanilla Wafers are naturally vegan. However, if you don’t need an egg and dairy-free recipe, you can substitute the “lemon curd” described here for your own recipe or a shop-bought version; though there’s nothing quite like home-made lemon curd.This recipe would work equally well with peaches. If you wanted to try this out with cherries or plums, but didn’t fancy combining these fruits with lemon, you could swap the lemon juice in the recipe for a juice based on berries.