Want to Spice Up Your Holiday Baking? Try These Vegan Reindeer Tarts

These reindeer tarts from Kim-Joy's new cookbook are the perfect way to get out of your baking slump.

These are the real deerl! Buttery and crisp pastry, fruity jam, moist almond frangipane and sweet icing topped with an even sweeter reindeer design. The trick with these is to make sure your pastry is elegantly thin, and blind baking is a must. Be careful not to overwork the pastry, and take this recipe one step at a time, as all will be right as rein.

(Related: Learn How to Make The Cutest. Holiday. Cookies. Ever)

Reindeer Bakewell Tarts

Makes about 12



  • 150g [²∕³ cup] salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g [1¾ cups] plain [all-purpose] flour (to make gluten free, use gluten-free flour plus ½ tsp xanthan gum), plus extra for dusting
  • 40g [3¼ Tbsp] caster or granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg


  • 100g [½ cup] caster or granulated sugar
  • 100g [7 Tbsp] unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 medium egg
  • ¾ tsp almond extract
  • 100g [1 cup] ground almonds


  • 200g [1½ cups] icing [confectioners’] sugar, plus extra to thicken 2 Tbsp water


  • 4 Tbsp jam of your choice black food dye
  • 12 glacé [candied] cherries
  • 24 hard pretzels


  1. First, make the pastry. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray with butter. Add the flour (or gluten-free flour plus xanthan gum) to a large bowl. Chop the butter and add it to the bowl, then rub it into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Don’t overwork. Stir in the caster sugar. Beat the egg in a separate small bowl, then add 2 Tbsp to the main mixing bowl and stir, gradually combining it with the rest of the mixture. When the egg is stirred through, use your hands to form the pastry into a ball.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a generously floured work surface as thinly as you can and use round cutters to stamp out 12 circles of pastry. Use your fingers to gently guide each circle of pastry into each muffin hole. Prick the bases with a fork 2–3 times, then place in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. At this point, preheat the oven to 180°C [350°F].
  3. Line the chilled pastry shells with muffin or cupcake paper cases, then fill with baking beads (or you can use lentils or rice) and blind bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the baking beads and paper, then bake for a further 5–7 minutes until golden and crisp.
  4. Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Cream the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract and mix until just combined. Fold in the ground almonds. Set aside.
  5. When the pastry has finished blind baking, remove the pastry cases from the muffin tray and place on a baking sheet; they should stand up on their own.
  6. Spoon 1 tsp of jam into each of the bases, then fill with frangipane, about three-quarters of the way up, as it will rise slightly. Return to the oven to bake for a further 15–20 minutes until the frangipane is set.
  7. When baked, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  8. Meanwhile, make the icing [frosting]. Just whisk the icing sugar and water together in a bowl until smooth. Spoon about 1 Tbsp into a separate bowl and add black food dye to colour, plus extra icing sugar to thicken to a pipeable consistency. Transfer to a piping [pastry] bag, ready for later. Cover the bowl of white icing with plastic wrap.
  9. When the tarts are cool, spoon the white icing over the top and carefully spread to the edges. Place a glacé cherry in the centre, then add the pretzel antlers. Cut a small tip off the black icing piping bag, then use to add eyes and a mouth. Use the back of a spoon to add a dot of white icing to the cherry nose to give it depth.

(Related: These Adorable Hedgehog Cookies Make a Fun (and Delicious) Holiday Treat)

Photo by: Ellis Parrinder

Vegan Alternative



  • 360g [2¾ cups] plain [all-purpose] flour (or substitute with gluten-free flour plus ¾ tsp xanthan gum)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 20g [1½ Tbsp] caster or granulated sugar
  • 215g [1 cup minus 1 tsp] organic extra virgin coconut oil (not liquid, it should be at room temperature and scoopable)
  • 65–80ml [4 1/3 –5 Tbsp] cold water


  • 50ml [3½ Tbsp] vegetable oil
  • 75g [6 Tbsp] caster or granulated sugar
  • 75g [¾ cup] ground almonds
  • 50g [6 Tbsp] plain [all-purpose] flour pinch of baking powder
  • 50ml [3½ Tbsp] plant-based milk
  • ¾ tsp almond extract


  1. To make the pastry, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and use your fingers to rub it in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to combine and form into a ball. Use in the same way as the non-vegan pastry in the original recipe.
  2. For the frangipane, whisk the oil and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the ground almonds, flour and baking powder and whisk again until combined. Add the plant milk and almond extract and whisk. Use in the same way as the non-vegan frangipane in the original recipe.

Tip: I used a cupcake tray in which each hole is 7.5cm [3in] across, so I used a 10-cm [4-in] cutter for the bases and a 7.5-cm [3-in] one for the lids, but if you have a larger tray, then use larger cutters.

Excerpted from: Christmas with Kim-Joy: A Festive Collection of Edible Cuteness by Kim-Joy, (Quadrille, $32.99), Photography: © Ellis Parrinder.

Next: Your Game Plan for Small-Scale, Stress-Free Holiday Meals

Originally Published in Best Health Canada