An almond shortbread crust and soft date caramel filling is topped with a rich chocolate ganache and finished with walnuts in this chocolate tart.
It’s not even the end of November yet but the sweet smells of the holidays are in the air already. We’re slowly tiptoeing into the upcoming holiday meal preparations, planning menus and considering dishes and decorations. The thought of coming in from the crisp air outside to a warm house filled with the scents of the season makes my heart happy. But apart from big celebratory dinners, this time of year is tailor made for spending chilly afternoons snuggled up with a nice cup of tea and a slice of something sweet. I suggest a chocolate covered date caramel and walnut tart and a cup of Chai tea; they keep good company. Rest assured however that it’s just as home on any holiday spread if you’re looking for a holiday dessert that breaks from the pumpkin or pecan variety. A classic combination of tender shortbread crust and a soft caramel-like filling is topped with a rich chocolate ganache and finished with a scattering of walnuts. The sturdy cookie-like crust made from almond flour and coconut oil is filled with a walnut studded date paste and a hint of salt with flavors reminiscent of caramel and brown sugar. It’s a combination sure to delight any chocolate and caramel lover. Large tender Medjool dates provide the sweetness in the filling and offer a luxurious toffee-like complexity to the base of this tart when paired with a hint of sea salt and fresh vanilla bean. The dark chocolate ganache that blankets the cookie crust and caramel base is made with anti-oxidant rich raw cacao powder and maple syrup and is a silky and intense counterpoint to the sweetness of the date caramel. Here’s to the start of the holidays! What are you making this year?
Yields Serves 8
A sturdy cookie-like crust made from almond flour and coconut oil is filled with a walnut studded caramel date paste and topped with a silky raw cacao ganache.
30 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
- 250g /2 cups almond flour
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup/60ml maple syrup
- ¼ cup/60ml extra virgin unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 160g (about 10) Medjool dates soaked in ½ cup/120ml of warm water
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml of extra virgin unrefined coconut oil, melted
- ½ vanilla bean pod seeds scraped
- 1/8 teaspoon of fine sea salt (like fleur de sel)
- 1 cup/112g toasted, chopped toasted walnuts (divided use)
- 1/2 cup/120ml maple syrup
- 1/4 cup/60g extra virgin unrefined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup/50g raw organic cacao powder
- Grease a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Place almond flour and salt into a large bowl. Add maple syrup and melted coconut oil and blend together with a fork until it resembles coarse meal, about two minutes.
- Press firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of tart pan with your fingers. Prick with the tines of a fork.
- Let the dough firm and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before baking.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden but not dark. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making filling.
- In a food processor puree the soaked, pitted dates along with the soaking liquid, melted coconut oil, salt and scraped vanilla bean seeds until thick with a whipped, creamy texture is achieved. Stir in ¾ cup of the chopped toasted walnuts and spread mixture into the cooled tart shell in an even layer.
- Set in the fridge while making the cacao ganache.
- In the food processor, blend together maple syrup and melted coconut oil until well combined.
- Add in cacao powder and process until smooth scraping down the sides as needed.
- Pour over date walnut base and spread out evenly over the top. Sprinkle with extra seal salt and the remaining chopped toasted walnuts.
- Return pan to fridge to set and firm for at least one hour before serving.
Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Paleo
NOTE: You can use a 9-inch pie plate if you don't have a tart pan with a removable bottom.