Spicy Kuri pumpkin tarts

Plant-based and made with raw ingredients and no refined sugar, these no-bake Kuri pumpkin tarts burst with fall flavours. This recipe calls for pumpkin purée, however, I recommend making your own, starting with a fresh pumpkin and roasting it. The flavour is superior to canned.

Over the years, I got into the habit of making my own purée, not only because it is fresher, but also because the canned version is difficult to find where I live. Also, I am not a fan of aluminium canned foods and I try to avoid buying them, whenever I can. Making pumpkin purée is simple; the oven does most of the work. And, extra purée can be refrigerated or frozen for future use.

For this dessert, I recommend the Japanese Kuri pumpkin for its mild sweetness and nutty taste. If you can’t find it, butternut squash is a good substitute. With Kuri pumpkins, it is better to buy smaller ones because they are easier to slice. When I can only get a big one, I ask the butcher or my husband to slice it for me! 🙂

Kuri Pumpkin

With a silky-creamy pumpkin filling, warm spices and a pecan almond base, this chilled vegan dessert is a tasty and healthy alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. For a more flavourful crust, I recommend toasting the almonds and pecans in the oven, for 6-7 minutes, prior to making the base. The recipe is below. Enjoy!

Spicy Kuri pumpkin tarts

10-12 tarts



  • 1 cup pecans, toasted in oven
  • 1 cup almonds with skins, toasted in oven
  • 3 fresh medjool dates, pitted and softened in hot water
  • 3 tbsps of date water (in which the dates soaked)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pumpkin filling

  • 1 full cup (170 g.) raw cashews, soaked & softened * (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup (240 g.) roasted Kuri pumpkin flesh (purée), from 1 big or 2 small Kuris * (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla
  • 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) finely grated ginger root


  • Whipped cream of choice (coconut or dairy)

* Notes: For the cashews: If you haven’t soaked the cashews overnight, put them in a small bowl and fill with water. Cover the bowl with a plate, place it in the microwave and heat up on high for three minutes. When done, drain the water with a sieve and rinse out the cashews under cold running tap water to cool them. Transfer the soft cashews into your blender bowl and continue with recipe. For roasting Kuri pumpkin(s): Set oven at 220°C/ 425°F (conventional oven). Slice the pumpkin(s) in two parts with a butcher’s knife and scoop out the seeds. Place the slices cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Position on middle rack in pre-heated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or more until the skin is fork tender. When done, remove and allow to cool before handling. Scoop out the flesh and/or peel off the outer skin and measure 1 full cup of roasted flesh. Freeze leftover flesh in a sealed container. 


Preheat oven at 180°C / 350°F.

For the crust, spread the pecans and almonds on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Place on middle rack in heated oven and roast for 6-7 minutes. Take out and let them cool at room temperature on countertop. The base has to be cool.

Put the pitted dates into a small bowl and cover them with hot tap water. Allow dates to soften for a few minutes. Remove the dates and preserve 3 tbsps of the hot water in which the dates soaked. Discard the rest of the water.

Put the nuts, dates, water and salt in a food processor bowl and pulse/process, scraping sides as needed, until a fine meal has formed. Divide the nut dough into 10-12 muffin tins lined with paper or silicone muffin cups. Add 2 tablespoons of nut dough per muffin cup and press down to form a base. Set aside.

For the filling, use a high speed blender. Add the cashews, lemon juice and water to the blender bowl and blend on low speed increasing gradually to high. Blend the cashew mixture for several minutes, using your blender plunger to accelerate the blending and ease off the pressure on the motor. Add the remaining filling ingredients and keep blending using your plunger. Blend until silky creamy. 

Divide equally the pumpkin cream into the muffin paper or silicone cups, adding it with a spoon on top of the nut base. Spread with the back of a small spoon to even out the filling. 

Place the muffin tin in the freezer and freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. Take as many tarts as you need out of the freezer and let stand at room temp.for 20-30 minutes before eating them. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream of choice. Store remaining tarts in freezer.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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