Here we are at another weekend, and I must say that the week that this one proceeds has been a really good one! The weather has been magnificent surrounding us with the undeniable signs of spring, we’ve been busy, productive and have spent time with family and friends, have made jam and bread, and even passed the theory portion of the driving test (…at the tender age of 37…)! And now it’s Saturday! Time to celebrate! I don’t really think any celebration would be properly celebratory without chocolate, so today’s recipe is for vegan chocolate tart!
I remember having friends over for dinner in my pre-cooking days. For me this event of actually cooking dinner for guests was a big deal, and a bit of a stress. I’m not sure what I ended up making for the actual meal, but I do remember that for dessert I found a recipe for chocolate tart for dessert. The tart was shockingly easy to make, just ganache poured into a pastry case. I served it with raspberry sorbet -also exceedingly simple- and from the first bite I was in love.
Chocolate ganache is just chocolate melted into cream in whatever proportion will give you the right consistency for your desired result. It is delicious, simple, and really impressive, and until the other day I believed that it was pure, decadent sin. But when I started to consider it I wondered if it really had to be so sinful.
As I discovered while making a healthy version of apricot frangipane tart, pastry is easy to replace with a nourishing crust made from ground oats and sweetened with dates. Dark chocolate is (to my endless delight) very healthy being loaded with minerals and antioxidants. It was the cream that was the questionable element here. But what if you replace the cream with heart healthy, anti-inflammatory coconut milk?
I must admit, I was sceptical, but figured I’d try making the ganache filling exactly as I would with cream, but with the coconut milk instead. The results were to die for creamy, smooth, and decadently chocolaty ganache in a cruchy crust. If I hadn’t known it was healthy coconut milk replacing the heavy cream I would have never in a million years noticed.
As before I served my tart with raspberry sorbet as this combination is absolute heaven. To make the sorbet simply blitz frozen raspberries with a splash of orange juice and a drop of honey or maple syrup if you’d like, until it’s a smooth, scoopable consistency.
This vegan chocolate tart is the simplest thing in the world to make, and yet super impressive. It is beyond delicious and filled with nutrition. A cause for celebration in its self!
So here’s to celebrating spring time, a good week, a relaxing weekend, and chocolate!
- 100g gluten free oats, ground into flour
- 100g brown rice flour
- 3 large dates, medjool if possible
- 80mL hot water
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted, or oil of your choice
- 455g, about 2 2/3 cups coarsely chopped dark chocolate
- 425 ml or 1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and lightly grease a 23cm tart tin or a loose bottomed 22cm, straight sided cake tin. (Using a deeper, straight sided tin gives you a lovely rustic looking tart, but use a tart tin or pie plate if you prefer a more classic shape.).
- Put the dates into a small jug, and cover with the hot water. Set aside to soak for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the oat and rice flours together until well combined.
- Once the dates have soaked for about 5 minutes, blitz them until there are only small flecks of the date left. Pour the date liquid and the oil over the flour and mix it around with your fingers, squashing it together to bring it into a dough. Tip it out onto a counter and knead it for a few minutes. The dough will be quite firm, but will not be elastic enough to roll out.
- Crumble the dough into the tart tin and use your fingers to press it into the bottom and up the sides to create an even pie crust. Pay particular attention to the corners, try and avoid having a thick ridge there. Trim off any excess dough evenly at the top of the tin to create a neat edge.
- Place the pastry case into the preheated oven and leave it to bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. If the case has cracked (which it may have done) and you think that the filling might leak out you can carefully melt a bit of extra chocolate, brush it over the inside of the pastry, being sure to fill any cracks well, and put it somewhere cool to set while you prepare the ganache.
- Meanwhile place the chopped chocolate into a large heat proof bowl. In a small pot heat the coconut milk until nearly simmering. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and leave it alone for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes gently stir the coconut milk and chocolate, which should now all be melted, until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir well.
- Allow the ganache to cool for a few minutes, especially if you’ve brushed the inside of the case with melted chocolate, and then pour it into the case. Tap the tart on the counter a couple of times to get rid of any bubbles and then set the tart on a flat surface in the fridge. Leave it to set for about two hours. Serve with fresh fruit, berry sorbet, or berry coulis.
- To make berry sorbet to go along with your tart blitz some frozen berries with a splash of orange juice, and, if you prefer it a bit sweeter, with a bit of maple syrup, until it's a smooth, scoopable consistency.