Pear Sunflower Seed Tart – Gluten-free

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This is a variation on the classic Pear Frangipane Tart using sunflower seeds in place of almonds. Sunflower seeds are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, a delicious way to get anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits.

Crust
3/4 cup rice flour
1/3 cup vegan butter
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon evaporated cane juice (optional)
pinch salt (optional)
Ice Water, 4 tablespoons

Filling
4 to 5 small pears
6 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 1/4 cups raw sunflower seeds (hulled)
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup nondairy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt and sugar. Cut vegan butter into flour and knead dough. Add 4 tablespoons of water at a time until dough is moist and somewhat sticky. If the dough is too crumbly you can add more water. Let the dough chill at least 30 minutes.

When ready to roll out the dough, preheat oven to 350F. Place dough on a sheet of wax paper and press into a circle about 1 inch thick. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and roll dough from the center out to the edges, to make a circle large enough to cover an 8 inch pie place. Carefully remove the top sheet. Flip the dough on top of the pie plate. Center the dough and press into the plate. Slowly peel the top sheet off, holding the dough in place with one hand. If the dough tears, that’s okay. It’s easy to scoop up the dough that sticks to the wax paper and press into place. Even out the edges, trim and press with a fork or pinch all around to make it pretty. Bake crust for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

Peal, core and slice pears into thin 1/4 inch pieces. If the pears are very ripe and soft you can use them as is. If they are hard and/or dry it’s best to poach them. To poach, place them in a saucepan and add about 1 inch of water. Cover and cook over high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove, drain and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the sunflower seeds into a meal. Add vegan butter, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon. With the processor running, stream in the nondairy milk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Pour batter into the pie crust.

Line the batter with pear slices. Bake the pie for about 40 minutes. Remove and let cool.

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