Don’t you just love chocolate? There is always a soft spot in my heart room in my tummy for a slab of the good stuff. Yes, a slab – I believe the phrase ‘go big or go home’ applies here. These vegan chocolate tarts most definitely satisfy my chocolatey cravings. And before you health-conscious folks shimmy on out of here (hopefully along with that shameful country dialect) I’ll have you know that these here tarts are vegan, gluten-free, and ain’t made with nothin’ but 5 healthy ingredients. (Oh dear – I can’t seem to stop)
Let us breakdown what’s in these tarts – a tart dissection, if you please:
A sweet and nutty raw base made with dates, hazelnuts, and cacao? yes.
A creamy and luxurious tart filling made with just two ingredients? YES.
Tart raspberries and crunchy cacao nibs on top? Okay, that last one’s optional, but if you listen quietly, you can hear me whispering double YES through your screen.
5 simple ingredients.
Let’s talk a little more about what’s in these tarts, aside from the obvious chocolate!
Dates – You are most likely no stranger to the use of dates in recipes to add natural sweetness. I have used them before in these coconut slices and cacao energy balls, which are both also vegan + gluten-free – woo! In this recipe, the dates are used to bind the mixture for the tart shell, as well as adding sweet caramel tones. Swoon.
Hazelnuts – I originally considered using good-old oats as a binder for the tart shell dough, but hazelnuts and chocolate go together like avocado and toast, i.e. this combo is just too damn tasty to miss out on. Grinding up the hazelnuts into a fine powder first ensures the end product is even and smooth.
Cacao Powder – It wouldn’t be a chocolate recipe without a little cacao powder, would it? Aside from adding to vegan chocolate cupcakes and sprinkling on stove-top granola (you MUST try this. You must.), cacao powder makes an unsurprisingly great addition to these vegan chocolate tarts. Blitzing just a tablespoon of cacao into the tart shell dough will transform this dessert into an outstandingly beautiful double chocolate delight.
Coconut Cream – A warm welcome to a new friend joining the list of healthy ingredients that no-one but Shivani knows exist: Coconut Cream. Just kidding, friends, coconut cream is actually very accessible and very much a necessity for a silky, creamy chocolate tart filling. Coconut cream is essentially coconut milk’s cooler, less watery cousin, and this lack of water allows for a luxuriously thick tart filling.
Dark Chocolate – Okay, everything was healthy up until here. But 4 out of 5 ingredients ain’t isn’t so bad, right? Adding some melted dark chocolate to the tart filling ensures it is delightfully creamy, rich, and not too sweet. Also dark chocolate united with hazelnuts gives me major Nutella vibes.
Tips and tricks for the perfect chocolate tarts:
Please, do not be alarmed by the long method, as the process of making these vegan chocolate tarts is actually very simple. So simple in fact, that when I say ‘chill time’ is involved, I’m not just referring to the tarts! I’ve compiled a short list of tips and tricks to make this recipe foolproof:
Use a high-speed blender – I like to use my Vitamix for the job. If your blender is a little less…energetic, you may need to get your hands involved when mashing down the dates. Which brings me onto my next tip:
Use the softest dates you can find – As we are using dates as a binding agent in this recipe, we want them to be delightfully soft and sticky.
Use a wet finger to help press down the dough – I did not have any tart cases, so I used some 8cm circular containers lined with grease-proof paper, a technique which worked extremely well. Pressing the dough into the tart cases can be tricky as the dough is pretty sticky (try saying that 5 times fast), but using a wet finger helps to manoeuvre the dough.
Use good quality ingredients – Not so much of a tip as a suggestion, but I find that when recipes have so few ingredients, use of the best quality ingredients results in a tastier outcome. Exhibit A: this gorgeously simple Spaghetti al Pomodoro.
Wouldn’t these just be the cutest desserts for this year’s Christmas dinner? If you are catering for gluten-free and/or vegan guests this year, this dessert would go down tremendously. Be prepared to make extras for other guests as well – we wouldn’t want them to miss out!
Check out my other recipes which would look perfect on your Christmas dinner table this year:
Quinoa salad with sweet potato, spinach and brussels sprouts, which doesn’t taste as healthy as it sounds, I promise!
Cauliflower alfredo pasta, containing a cheesy pasta sauce made with a sneaky hidden vegetable!
Ginger oatmeal cookies make a great after dinner treat, and a tasty treat for Santa!
Lot’s of love and chocolate,
Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Tarts
- 80 grams Hazelnuts
- 125 grams Pitted Medjool Dates
- 2 tablespoons Cacao Powder
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 45 grams Dark Chocolate
- 125 grams Coconut Cream
- 12 Raspberries optional, to serve
- Line four 8cm tart cases with grease-proof paper.
- Add the hazelnuts to a blender and blitz to a powder. Add the dates, cacao powder, and water, and blend until a dough forms. You may need to tip the mixture into a bowl and use your hands to mash the dates if your blender is not co-operating!
- Divide the mixture into 4 balls and press each ball into the tart cases. Tip: use a wet finger to help manoeuvre the dough.
- Place the tart shells in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill whilst you prepare the filling.
- Break the chocolate into bite-sized pieces and add to a medium-sized microwaveable bowl. Microwave on the medium setting in 30-second bursts until melted.
- Gradually add in the creamed coconut, stirring after each addition. The result should be creamy and smooth.
- Remove the tart cases from the freezer, and divide the filling between them. Return to the freezer for a further 10 minutes to set.
- Optional: serve topped with raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar.
- You can purchase coconut cream here. If you have any coconut cream leftover, you could freeze it in ice cube trays to add to smoothies, or stir a little into some oatmeal to make it extra creamy.
- I like to store these tarts in the freezer so they last longer and are available on demand. Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving to allow them to defrost.
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