Nut-Free Salted Caramel and Chocolate Mousse Tarts
Sticky, sweet, and salty is a combination that rarely fails, and these lovely little tarts are no exception. Inside a raw chocolate casing, and beneath a layer of crackling chocolate, hides a nest of oozing salted caramel and rich chocolate mousse; my single-serve whole foods variation of a classic chocolate caramel tart. I conjured these up with those who cannot tolerate nuts in mind - instead, you will find an assortment of coconut, alongside a mixture of dates and copious amounts of cacao. These are also much more wholesome than a lot of raw desserts, opting for whole fruits as opposed to syrups for sweetness.
As with any of my recipes, this one is totally open to interpretation. Feel free to switch the coconut for hazelnuts if you crave a nutella-esque twist, or perhaps fill with banana cream for a banoffee variation - the choice is yours! You can also make your own chocolate topping with a combination of cacao butter, cacao powder, and maple syrup if you prefer to start from scratch. These are best served as fresh as possible, although they can be frozen if you don't mind running the risk of a slightly crystallised filling come defrost.
This recipe is rather expensive if you don't have medjool dates that need to be used, so feel free to substitute them for the cheaper (but just as delicious) dried deglet noor variation. Simply soak in cool water for a few hours, squeeze the excess water out, and you're good to go! I also recommend omitting the chocolate mousse layer and doubling the date caramel if you want them to last longer than a day or two.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT CRUST
90g of shredded or desiccated coconut
30g of raw cacao powder
180g of medjool dates, pitted
1-2 teaspoons of water
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt
SALTED DATE CARAMEL
110g of medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup of plant milk
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of salt, to taste
DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe banana
15g of raw cacao powder
2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup (optional)
Pinch of salt
DARK CHOCOLATE SHELL
125g of 70% dark chocolate
Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
- Take a regular muffin tray and line six holes with cupcake cases.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the coconut and cacao powder for the chocolate crust. Pulse for a few seconds, then add the pitted dates and run for approximately 1 minute, or until almost combined.
- While the food processor is still running, add in the water and vanilla bean paste, along with a little salt. Stop when you notice it rolling into a big, soft ball.
- Divide this crust dough into six even portions, then take one and flatten it out into a disc in your palm. Press evenly into one of the cupcake cases, pinching the sides if so desired, and repeat until all six are done. Place in the freezer to set briefly.
- To make the salted date caramel, pop your pitted dates into your food processor (no need to rinse the bowl) and pulse a few times until softened. Add in the plant milk, then run continuously for a few minutes, scraping the sides down occasionally, until a smooth consistency is reached.
- Scoop your caramel into a bowl and add your salt in a little at a time, stirring well between additions and tasting regularly until the perfect 'salted caramel' flavour is achieved.
- Take your six tart cases and divide the caramel between them evenly, before smoothing them out and returning them to the freezer to chill.
- Make the mousse layer by blending the avocado, banana, cacao powder, maple syrup, and salt together until smooth and creamy. Smooth over the caramel layer and return to the freezer.
- In a small bowl perched over a small, simmering pot of water, break up your dark chocolate and melt gently. Spoon over your mousse layer and gently smooth out with the back of a teaspoon. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes, return to the freezer for at least ten minutes to set, and serve!