Grain-free Cranberry-Orange Spice Mini Tarts {Gluten-free and Vegan}

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Cranberry-Orange Spice Mini Tarts - Gluten-free & Vegan

Since I pulled together the massive recipe round-up list for Thanksgiving this year, I haven’t been super focus on creating recipes for the holiday, since I knew you guys were more than set, but I have just been so inspired by the season and I have been having a lot of fun with the flavors.

Cranberry-Orange Spice Mini Tarts - Gluten-free & Vegan

I love coming up with creative and healthy ways to enjoy the flavors of the season. I prefer to make recipes that everyone will enjoy, no matter if they have allergies or intolerances or not, while still accommodating my own personal dietary restrictions. These tarts do just that. They would be a lovely dessert at Thanksgiving or any other holiday gathering. The tart shells have the perfect texture to them, the creamy rich cashew layer is reminiscent of cream cheese and the spiced cranberry orange topping is what holiday dreams are made of. The smell of it simmering is almost as good as how it actually tastes. 

I made these the other night when we had friends over for dinner and it made me so happy to hear my friend Nicola say that they made her think of Christmas. To me, that is the ultimate compliment! I live for the holiday season, I have already been listening to Christmas music non-stop. Who else has started listening to Christmas music already? Oh and I have time this weekend set aside to start decorating the house, too! I can’t wait!

Cranberry-Orange Spice Mini Tarts - Gluten-free & Vegan

This recipe was originally shared on the Free People Blog BLDG 25.

[print_this]Cranberry-Orange Spice Mini Tarts – Gluten-free & Vegan

Makes 12 mini-tarts

Tart Shells:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup*
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 cups in a regular-sized muffin tin with paper liners (you could also use greased mini tart pans).

In a large bowl, add all of the crust ingredients and mix very well. Really get your hands in there to get it all together and work it into a nice dough.

Add the crust mixture to the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cup using your knuckles, going up the sides a tad bit.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then place the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tarts and serve. (Many times I make the tart shells the night before and keep them in the fridge until I am ready to serve)


Cashew Cream Layer:

  • 3/4 cups raw organic cashews, soaked at least 4 hours, if not overnight
  • Juice from 1/2 orange about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, etc
  • Pinch Himalayan crystal salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Add everything to your high speed blender and blend on high for as long as it takes to make it smooth and creamy. I don’t have a vitamix or a blendtec so I usually add half of the cashews and everything else, then once those are broken down, I add the rest in and continue blending. After it is super smooth and creamy, place it into a covered bowl and into the fridge to thicken up while you make the cranberry topping.


Cranberry-Orange Spice Topping:

  • 1 cup fresh organic cranberries, washed
  • 1 large orange, peeled, sectioned and pith removed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Zest from that orange, set a little aside for topping when serving
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, etc.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves


In a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, combine the the cranberries, orange pieces, maple syrup, ginger and cloves.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries open and the orange pieces dissolve. I actually used a potato mashed to get in there and mash up the cranberries.

Remove from the heat, stir in the orange zest and allow the mixture to fully cool. Place into the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tarts.


Remove the paper liner off of the tart shells. Top each of the tart shells with a spoonful of the cashew cream filling and a spoonful of the cranberries, sprinkle with a little orange zest. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. [/print_this]

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12 Responses

  1. My house is now decorated, and I know I will sound a bit crazy but I put up my lights 2 weeks ago! 🙂 I can say that my favourite dessert is a tart. It is light and after a big supper, it is just perfect. It looks like a great recipe to look for Christmas!

  2. Janet says:

    I love the holiday season. We will probably decorate the tree Thanksgiving weekend while the kids are on a college break. Christmas music has been playing here for 4 weeks already, love it! These tarts look wonderful. I am heading over to get the recipe.
    Have a beautiful weekend!

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  4. I’m going to use the cranberry topping at Christmas. I was looking for a healthier variant of a cranberry sauce/compote and just found it! Thanks Beth!

  5. Liz says:

    I love love LOVE the combo of orange and cranberries and mini tarts are built in portion control! This is the perfect dessert. 🙂

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  7. These look so gorgeous!!

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  12. Jeannette says:

    I had so much fun making these. As I was assembling the tarts, I felt like I wouldn’t have enough cashew cream and cranberry, but it ended up being the perfect amount. I recommend eating (and sharing!) same day, as the tart shells became squishy the next day for me. The toaster oven wasn’t able to harden them up, but it didn’t matter because they were super good regardless! Love the salt in the shell as well. Thanks, Beth!

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