Chocolate Helps

February 19, 2013



I like to end a very long and hard day, which is every day these days, with some really dark chocolate. I’d love to go into what a long hard day involves but my brain is tired and I’ll probably start crying. Nothing is bad but even the good stuff can feel overwhelming at times. Really dark chocolate helps with that too.

But yesterday wasn’t any ordinary long, hard day. It was also Jeremy’s 35th birthday. So I wanted to do something a little extra special with our daily chocolate indulgence. While Jeremy finished up his long and hard day at school I chopped, blended, melted, toasted, stirred and assembled these tarts while listening to some jazz on Spotify. It was just me and the ingredients and Donald Byrd’s Cristo Redentor getting it on. I was hoping to have everything done by the time Jeremy came home (with a bottle of red in tow) but I had already used up my super hero power to stretch time, meeting a deadline, earlier in the day. So I finished up the tarts while Jeremy worked on his broken computer. We enjoyed the tarts with some Shiraz and Game of Thrones.

When it was all said and done it wasn’t a perfect day and it most certainly wasn’t a perfect birthday. But the chocolate helped.

Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Ginger Tarts
These tarts are vegan (depending on the chocolate you us) and gluten free
Makes three little 4″ tarts or probably one large 9″ tart

For the Crust 
1 1/2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 soaked and pitted dates

For the Ganache Tart Filling 
1/4 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 bar of really dark chocolate (we use 85 – 88% and make sure it’s vegan if that’s important to you)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Topping 
A few finely chopped walnuts
A small handful of coconut flakes
A pinch of salt

Make the crust first by heating your oven to 350F. Combine the almond flour, shredded coconut, salt, melted coconut oil and the soaked dates in a food processor using the S blade. The dough will look crumbly but should stick together if you pinch it with your fingers. Spread it in the bottom of your tart pans using your hands to pack it into the bottom and along the sides of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes – just until the edges of the crust are beginning to brown. Let cool for an hour (I stuck mine in the fridge to cool when I became impatient). 

In the meantime toast your walnuts and coconut flakes for the toppings. I do this in a cast iron pan on medium heat for a few minutes – you can also do it in the oven. Just keep an eye on them! They burn fast. Once toasted sprinkle a pinch of salt (and cinnamon if you like) on top. Remove from the pan onto a plate to cool. 

For the filling chop up your chocolate bar and put in a small bowl – add the cinnamon. Heat the coconut milk over the stove in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour the heated coconut milk on top of the chocolate in the bowl. Let sit for a minute. Then whisk to incorporate the chocolate and coconut milk. 

Make a layer of the finely chopped crystallized ginger on the tart crust. Then pour the chocolate ganache on top until you fill the crust completely. Top with the toasted walnut and coconut flakes. Let the tart set in the fridge for at least an hour before eating. 

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