Saturday, September 02, 2006


One of my favorite food blogs is the Urban Vegan. Recently, she created a tART contest, in which she called for artistic, vegan tarts of all sorts. Being a vegan who teaches art history, how could I resist?

Many people have already entered the contest with gorgeous seasonal fruits and vegetables, and their tarts are truly beautiful and yummy-looking. I decided to be a bit more literal with the art. In all the art history classes I teach, I notice the students love to see tactile examples of the art they are studying. In teaching a course on modern art this summer, one of the favorites to emerge was Piet Mondrian. So I decided to re-create a Mondrian painting in tart form...

For the base tart, I used a French vegan recipe for
tarte au sucre, a sugar tart made with soymilk, sugar, and Earth Balance margarine. Here is how it came out:

Bijou the cat was definitely interested!

After letting it cool, I made a white layer for my "canvas" using a basic vegan icing recipe of 2 parts Tofutti cream cheese and 2 parts vegan powdered sugar to 1 part Earth Balance margarine. (This makes a great topping on cinammon buns and other types of baked goods, too).

Here is what the tart/canvas looked like after this layer had been added:

Now, I had to pick a Mondrian painting that was beautiful and tart-translatable. I chose
"Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray," which he painted in 1921.

Now, how to transfer the image onto the tART? At this point I tried channeling my friend Natalie, who in addition to being a Ph.D. candidate, is also a supreme cake decorating master. I decided to go with vegan food coloring and vegan black cake decorating gel.

First, I traced the image onto paper to try to get the proportions straight.

Next, it was time to work on getting the outlines on the tart. I am not one with much of a steady hand, so this was nerve-racking for me. I could actually feel my heart thumping in my chest!

I had the same white icing recipe from above ready and divided into three portions colored red, yellow, and blue with the food coloring. Next was the hardest part, "painting" the squares in, trying not to muddle the colors or mess up the outlines.

I used a rubber spatula, and for the detail work, I used a chopstick and a knife to get the edges as close to done as possible.

After checking to make sure it passed inspection with our other cat, Marble,

we were done!

Thanks, Mondrian!

A yummy rustic French tart, tART-ed up!



Theresa said...

Hindsight is 20/20, but... you could have traced the lines onto the icing with a toothpick or chopstick before taking the risk with the black gel. Then, fill in the colors, and add the lines last. That way, it looks nice and neat.

Not that you needed the suggestion... it turned out great anyways!

Anonymous said...

What a creative idea! I just found your blog from Urban Vegan's and I will definitely be back.


eLLe said...

hi! i got here through urbanvegan's blog. your tart looks amazing!:) i loved that you were inspired by mondrian

Vicki said...

Truly a work of tART! Even Marble votes for you. :o)

Chris said...

that looks awesome bazu!

If you're interested in another fun one I just tagged you ;-)

bazu said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! This was such a fun project.
Theresa, you are right, I should have done the colors first. I did trace the lines with a knife before filling them in, but the colors going in first would have made my life easier.
Chris, I will get on that 5 things meme!

Village Mama said...

hope you win!

bazu said...

Thanks, Village Mama! Win or no win, I just can't wait to see the tART gallery! Oh and I read your comments about yoga and I really appreciate them, the more I do it the more I realize how the things you mention: the space, the voice, the flexibility, all those are so important.

wheresmymind said...

That is some fancay tartin'!