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Vegan Dark Chocolate Almond Tart with a Pastry Crust!

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:03pm

Welcome to day 5 of our Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Progressive Dinner Party! It's time for dessert! Today I am going to share a favorite recipe for the holidays. It is a rich chocolaty tart meant to be shared among many.

It was one of those recipes that came to me in a flash of inspiration around midnight the night before Thanksgiving last year. I was up late baking yummy vegan, gluten-free pumpkin and apple pies, soft molasses cookies, and pumpkin cake to bring to our large Gluten-Free Thanksgiving gathering of friends. I began tossing ingredients for a tart crust together, measuring as I was going, and then whipped up a filling to go with it. It ended up being every one's favorite dessert and I hope you'll like it too!

FYI: This isn’t really a kid-friendly dessert, unless that is, you have an almost 2-year old (or in my case two of them) – who happens to stumble upon chocolate (i.e. crack for children) and grabs the whole slice off the counter (the one on the plate that you are about to take a photo of) and stuffs the whole thing in his mouth as fast as he can before anyone sees him. Not that this happened to me. So who knows you might have a child that likes this rich chocolate tart. My girls won’t touch it. The crust however, they pick off and eat like candy!

The first time I made this crust I did not use any xanthan gum, and it worked. But since then I have made it several times and found that adding 1/2 teaspoon does help with the overall integrity of the crust.

Since I use cashews in the filling I decided to also share one of my vegan pastry creams to use with the crust instead of the chocolate tart filling. I know there are many people reading this blog allergic to cashews and I want to make sure everyone can enjoy this awesome tart crust. After the crust has been baked and cooled, use the pastry cream to fill the crust then top with sliced pears and pomegranate arils and a dusting of cinnamon! Enjoy!

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free Tart Crust

This recipe works for an 11-inch tart pan. It can be frozen before it has been baked in a sealed container. Then just thaw and roll when you are ready to use it.

½ cup superfine brown rice flour
½ cup superfine sweet rice flour
½ cup millet flour
½ cup potato starch
¼ cup organic cane sugar or maple sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
¾ cup organic palm shortening
½ cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened hemp milk)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Place the flours, potato starch, sugar, salt, baking soda, and xanthan gum into a bowl and whisk together well. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter until some fine, and some pea-sized crumbs are formed.

Mix together the milk and vinegar and then add them to the flour mixture. Quickly mix in using a fork or spoon. If needed, add more hemp milk, a teaspoon at a time, just until the dough holds together. Form dough into a ball and chill for about 20 minutes. Do NOT overwork the dough.

Roll the dough in between two pieces of waxed paper into about a 12 to 13-inch circle. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper and gently lift up the dough and flip onto the tart pan. Peel off the second layer of waxed paper and gently ease the dough into the pan, pressing it into the edges.

Trim off any remaining dough around the top edges. Prick a few times with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes on a baking sheet. Cool completely before adding your filling. Roll out extra dough and sprinkle with cinnamon, bake until slightly crisp around the edges for a treat!

Dark Chocolate Almond Cranberry Tart

I created this recipe very late the night before one Thanksgiving. It was perfect for our large gathering of 20 plus gluten-free friends. They all enjoyed it and I am sure you will too. You can vary the ingredients in the filling. Try replacing the cranberries with dried cherries and the almonds with hazelnuts or cashews. The filling is dark and rich and not very sweet. If you would like a sweeter filling, then I think adding up to 1/4 cup more sweetener would work.

1 cup raw almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped (see note)
1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
¼ cup agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
10 ounces dark chocolate (Dagoba Choco Drops)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Roast (see note below) and cool the almonds. then chop. Place the chopped almonds and dried cranberries in a bowl and set aside.

Place the cashews, water, and sweetener into a blender or Vita-Mix and blend until very smooth and creamy. Pour into a small pot and place over low heat. Add the chocolate. Stir over low heat until the chocolate is completely melted. Turn off heat and stir in the vanilla.

Sprinkle the almond-cranberry mixture over the bottom of the baked tart shell. Then pour in the chocolate mixture.

Chill for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Before serving, pop tart out of the pan and place onto a serving platter. Slice into thin wedges and enjoy!

Note: To roast the almonds, place them in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Cool on a plate, and then chop.

An alternative to the chocolate filling.....
Nut-Free, Vegan Vanilla Pastry Cream

This luscious yet simple vegan pastry cream works well in my tart crust. Simply fill the crust with this cream and top with your favorite summer fruits!

one 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
¼ cup agave nectar or honey
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Place all of the ingredients into medium-sized saucepan. Whisk together well. Turn heat to medium-high and whisk. Lower the heat after mixture is bubbling, then continue to whisk and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes total.

Remove from heat and let cool before pouring into the crust. After you place the pastry cream into the cooled crust, top with your favorite summer fruits. Sprinkle with shredded coconut if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Variation: Add ¼ teaspoon lemon flavoring or ¼ teaspoon orange flavoring for a rich citrus-flavored cream.

More delicious gluten-free, vegan holiday dessert recipes:

Where to Stop Next:

Next stop ~ Karen and Jean will also be serving DESSERT today, Friday, Nov. 20 at Cook4Seasons and Gluten Free Organics.

Don't forget to stop by the rest of our blogs this week for more of our Gluten Free Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner Party. Here's the schedule:

Jean and I served DRINKS on Monday, Nov. 16 at Gluten Free Organics and The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

Karen, Jean, and Seamaiden served APPETIZERS on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Cook4Seasons, Gluten Free Organics and Book of Yum.

Shirley and I served the MAIN COURSE on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at gfe-gluten free easily and The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

Diane, Stephanie, Shauna, and I served the SIDE DISH/SALAD on Nov. 19 at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, A Year of Slow Cooking, Gluten Free Girl, and The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

Karen, Jean, and I are serving DESSERT today, Nov. 20 at Cook4Seasons, Gluten Free Organics, and The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

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