Hallelujah! We have a winner! Congratulations to Megan B. and her incredible Cranberry & Pear Tart!

I have to say, this was not an easy decision my friends. And of all things to win this challenge, a dessert?! Yes, I too am shocked. Entries upon entries poured in with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Hokkaido pumpkins, and I was seduced by a tart? But I was. And I am. And so shall you too, because this pastry totally gives it.

I think I will start off by saying a few words about this process, which was kind of like a dream come true. I ask for awesome, and everyone steps up to the plate. But I can’t quite believe the culinary prowess so many of you possess, of which you have never had the decency of sharing? C’mon people. I think the majority of you should consider starting your own food blogs because you’ve clearly been holding out on us all. Not fair.


Anyway, so the teasing went on as the recipes poured in, and I became a very hungry girl indeed. After begrudgingly eliminating the dishes that I wasn’t going to prepare (I wanted to eat everything), I set my focus on a select few that I knew had crazy-delish potential. Therefore, I will take this opportunity to give due shout outs to the following: Solstice Squash, Nut-Crackin’ Apple Salad, Stuffed Pumpkin, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Kale Pesto, and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls – you know who you are.

And now I know you are all thinking again: Sarah, seriously. A tart? The answer is still a resounding yes.

This dessert is amazing. Let’s forget for a moment that it is vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free, and just focus on the delectable elements that combine to create perfection.

First of all, fresh cranberries – where have you been all my life? I have only ever seen pictures of you on the bottles of fake neon juice, and urinary tract prevention supplements at the health food store. The closest I’ve come to you is craisins, which are a sad, sweetened excuse for a cranberry indeed. Fresh cranberries are oh so tart and vibrant, bursting with bright juices and tangy goodness. You are my new best friend and can’t wait to play with you more.

Then we need to talk about the crust, which I was totally skeptical of. After removing the dough from the food processor, it was wet. Like, really wet. And I could not begin to understand how it would cook under all that filling. Somehow this crazy mélange turns from healthy goop into flaky gorgeousness that it not full of lard and sugar. I would highly recommend you tucking this crust recipe alone into your back pocket for the next time you need a pie base – it is officially my new go-to.

The filling is a caramel-like mix of brown rice syrup, coconut oil, and chia seeds. The original recipe called for flax, but I find that flax seeds can sometimes give off that classic, Omega-3 ‘fishy’ flavour that I just don’t dig. I made the switch to chia seeds because they really are tasteless. I soaked them in pear juice instead of water for a little extra sweetness, but you could use apple juice or any other unsweetened juice you like.


On to looks – the tart is undeniably gorgeous. I could not stop photographing it. She worked those angles and made serious love to the camera. Although aesthetics were not a must in this challenge, I have to say that the glistening tops of those bright red berries completely begged me to capture them. And how unhealthy does it look? Very. No one dives into the mysterious bowl of brown mush on the Christmas buffet table. No matter how delicious it may be, we all know the prettiest dish gets eaten first. And this is the prettiest and the healthiest. Consider your meatball-lovin’ uncle fooled.

Whew. Enough talking. Here is the recipe.
Blessings to you, Megan!


Cranberry & Pear Tart

Serves 10

For the crust:

1 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if possible)

1/2 cup pecans, chopped (I used walnuts)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp. vanilla (I used 1 vanilla bean, scraped)

1/2 tsp. salt

75 g whole grain flour (I used buckwheat flour)
For the filling:

2 pears, sliced thin

2 cups fresh cranberries

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

2 Tbsp. ground flax (I used whole chia seeds)

6 Tbsp. water or pear juice

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp. vanilla (I used 1 vanilla bean, scraped)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cardamom

zest of 1 organic lemon


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse to mix. Grease a 9” tart pan with a little coconut oil and press crust evenly along the bottom of the pan. Place pear slices in a layer on top of the crust.

3. For the filling, combine the flax or chia with the water or juice and set aside until a gel forms. Mix the cranberries with remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the gel and fold to mix. Pour filling on top of crust and pear layer and spread evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow tart cool completely before removing from tart pan (approx.1 hour, or place in the fridge).

4. Slice and serve with an optional dollop of cashew cream, sheep’s milk yogurt (pictured), crème fraîche, or ice cream.

Afterthought: a drizzle of melted, dark chocolate. Ugh.


Overall, I’d say this challenge was a great success. A challenge – yes. I really had a hard time deciding between which unbelievably delicious dish to choose.

As a thank you to everyone who participated, and even those that did not, please check out My New Roots on December 25th for a very special Christmas gift from Sarah B. to all of you! I want to spread some love, but that is all I will say for now. You’ll have to return to see what I’ve hidden for you under the imaginary tree.

Until then everyone, have a spectacular and delicious holiday. And please make Megan’s tart. And visit her blog: meggsalad.com

Love and cranberries, Sarah B.

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