Restricted Diets: Cranberry-Orange Spice Mini Tarts

This post is part of our restricted diet series from Beth of Tasty Yummies.

I am so inspired to create seasonal recipes this time of year, mostly because of the holidays. 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.

cranberry orange spice tarts

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 tarts

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.

If you are looking for more gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes, please check out my HUGE recipe round-up post on Tasty Yummies.

More healthy recipes from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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9 years ago

Almond flour? I have never heard of this. I must look into this!

9 years ago

Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes, it’s really helpful around the holidays <3
xoxo Annejelina

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9 years ago

Meg, I believe almond flour is the same as almond meal :)

9 years ago

Hey! This looks awesome! But I am a Celiac vegan who also can’t eat nuts, cashews or coconut. So what could I use as a substitute for those? Thanks!

9 years ago

Looks delicious! Perfect for a holiday party.

9 years ago

Yum! These looks delicious!

9 years ago

@meg yeh OMG it’s amazing stuff!!
@Penny it actually isn’t necessarily the same. Almond meal usually has the skins left on so it is a bit more mealy and course, the flour is most times blanched so it’s lighter and fluffier. In some recipes when people specify blanched almond flour, it is usually quite important to the recipe you don’t swap it for almond meal. In a recipe like this, it isn’t as important. Either almond flour or meal would work just great.

9 years ago

@lindsay unfortunately I have to say that with those restrictions, this recipe is just not for you. I am sorry. There aren’t easy swaps for them in a recipe such as this, with them being the base ingredients! Many times you can swap seed flours for nut flours and maybe you could select another oil, but it just won’t be the same. I don’t have a simple suggestion for the cashew cream layer. Sorry again.

Can’t wait to make these as soon as I’m off my candida cleanse! These look like a little slice of Christmas :D

9 years ago

ok so i have issues with cashews but not almonds can i try making this with almonds or is there just better properties to the cashews?

9 years ago

Carrie – cashews make a creamier purée than almonds. Can you have Macadamias? They’re a good sub for cashews.

9 years ago

These look amazing! I have limited kitchen access tomorrow with family coming over… What part of the recipe can be made in advance and be stored overnight?