Adrienne Gajownik

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Apricot carrot squares

Before I got married, I lived with my good friend, Ryan. He had an almost complete set of Calaphon cookware and owned a pretty good cookbook collection (perks for living with a guy roommate). He owned a copy of The Whole Foods Cookbook and honestly I didn't give it much notice until he made these chickpea burgers from it one night.
Fast forward a few years later. Since I no longer have the cookbook in my possession, I turn to the Whole Foods blog for recipe ideas these days. Every now and again something really catches my eye. This recipe for carrot cashew spread is one of them. I followed the recipe as is and realized it was much too sweet for me. It would have been good slathered on toast, like pumpkin or apple butter, with black coffee. 

Another time, I attempted to make it savory. I added tamari, ginger, coriander, cilantro, and reduced the amount of apricots. It tasted pretty good, but all I could think about was how nice it would be as a tart filling. 
The texture and color of this spread is consistent with pumpkin and since fall is almost here (as is the pumpkin craze), I added in cinnamon and nutmeg. Dried apricots sweeten the filling and dates are used in the crust. These bite-size squares are a healthy treat rather than an indulgence. They'd be perfect for girls' night or as a gift to your yoga teacher (or massage therapist!). These babies are gluten and dairy free. Enjoy the last days of summer with this almost-raw treat.

Carrot apricot filling
3/4 c raw cashews
2 large carrots, sliced into coins
12 dried apricots
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

Soak the cashews for at least four hours.

Add carrots to a small sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apricots and cook until the carrots are soft when pierced with a knife. Reserve half a cup of the cooking liquid. Add cashews, carrots, apricots, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a food processor. Add half of the cooking liquid (1/4 c) and process until smooth. Add the remaining water, little-by-little, until you reach a smooth consistency.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made the day before. 
*To make completely raw, grate the carrots instead. I thought the texture of cooked carrots would work better here. Let me know if you try it.

Almond date crust
3/4 c raw almonds
1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
10 dates, diced
6 dried apricots, diced

Add the almonds to the food processor. Pulse until chunky. Now add the coconut, dates, and apricots. Pulse until the mixture starts to stick together. Remove and put mixture into a bowl. Use your hands to help bring the mixture together into a ball. 

Wrap a loaf pan or small dish with saran wrap (this will make it easy to remove the tart later). Put the mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan and press down to form a nice base. Now add the filling on top, spreading with the back of a spoon until it's even. Repeat until you're out of filling.

Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove and allow to chill for 20-30 minutes before eating. Enjoy!