Well, Easter is only a week or so away and nothing says Easter like chocolate. And it’s a good thing that in the dessert world, lavish is no longer synonymous with complicated! Just to prove the point, this streamlined, clean-eating raspberry tart is loaded with chocolate flavour, and is a fitting end to any spring or summer meal. In fact, since raspberries are available year-round, albeit at a price, you can enjoy this treat any time of year.
The filling in these tartlets calls for raw cocoa powder instead of chocolate which results in a deep, rich chocolate flavour. Cocoa powder generally contains about 5 times less cocoa butter than pure unsweetened chocolate, which means that cocoa powder packs a bigger punch of chocolatey flavor because you’re getting more cocoa solids and less cocoa butter.
This recipe makes enough to fill 4, 4 1/2-inch individual tartlet pans, or one 8-inch tart pan but the quantity of ingredients for both the crust and filling can easily be doubled to fill more tart pans and feed a larger crowd. Both the tart shells and the filling can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or they can be separately frozen. (If you do decide to freeze the crusts or store them for a day or so in the refrigerator, keep them in their pans to maintain the shape and protect them from breakage. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before continuing with the recipe).
For the Crust
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup dried coconut, shredded, raw and unsweetened
- 4 Medjhool dates, seeded, chopped
- 1 tbsp. date syrup (homemade)
- 1 tbsp. water
- Seeds from a 2-inch piece of vanilla bean, scraped
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Place nuts, coconut, salt, dates, water and date syrup and vanilla bean seeds in a food processor and process until quite fine and mixture is sticky.
I used non-stick 4 1/2-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms in this recipe and had no trouble removing the crusts from the pans. Any type of tartlet pan should work but I would suggest that the crusts are well chilled before trying. If you are worried about the crusts sticking, line the bases of your tart pans with a piece of parchment sized to fit.
Remove crust mixture from processor and divide into 4 4-inch tartlet pans or one 8-inch tart pan. Using wet hands, press the mixture into pans as evenly as possible. At this point the tartlets can be refrigerated overnight but refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking, regardless.
Remove tart pans from refrigerator and poke a couple holes in the base with the tines of a fork to prevent the crusts form rising during baking. Bake the tartlets at 350°F for about 14-16 minutes, or until crusts begin to darken around the edges and the base seems done. (In my oven, this is exactly 14 minutes). If your oven bakes a little unevenly or has hot spots, spin the baking sheet around halfway through total baking time. When done, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature on the baking sheet.
For the Filling
Pre-soaked dates are considerably softer than fresh and help to achieve a really smooth consistency in the filling. If you are short on time, place the dates in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them while you assemble the rest of the ingredients to give them time to soften. If you are not pressed for time, soak the dates at at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- 12 dates, pre-soaked
- 1 ½ tbsp. cocoa powder, raw
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut milk, canned, shaken and well blended
Place the dates, cocoa powder and vanilla in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Add coconut cream and bend on high speed until thickened well blended. The consistency will be similar to a dense and rich dark chocolate mousse. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Alternatively, freeze the filling – place it in a container with a tight fitting lid. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
Carefully remove the crusts from the tart pans. Place one crust on each plate and divide the filling evenly between all 4 tartlets. The chocolate base should fill the crusts to about ½ full. if you have extra filling, save it for another use.
Arrange raspberries side by side in a circular pattern on top of filling.
Garnish with mint, toasted coconut and a dash of cocoa powder.
Alas the moment has come! Bon Appetite!