28 Aug Coconut Pudding Tarts with Raw Chocolate Macaroon Crust [vegan, gf]
This may seem like a bit of a departure from my typical recipes, and that’s because it most definitely is. Vegan and raw are two words that rarely grace the pages of this blog. The name of this space itself indicates that we’re less than vegan-friendly around here.
Now, I feel that should take this moment to say I have absolutely zero aversion to vegan recipes nor those who choose to abide by a vegan lifestyle. More power to ya! I, however, am a person of little self-restraint — my weakness for sugar is intervention-level — and cannot possibly envision myself ever completely abandoning the joy of a fresh pat of butter atop a toasty slice of bread, or a scoop of rich, cream cow’s milk ice cream. These two things (among countless others starting or ending with the words cream and cheese) are at the top of my list of creature comforts, or things I’ll never give up, right next to my favorite childhood stuffed dog (creatively named, Doggy) and my shameless love for both Matchbox Twenty and Nashville country music. Some things, no matter how unreasonable, are so essential to one’s happiness that life would feel less full in their absence. Yes, we’re still talking about butter.
Anyhoo, this recipe came about from a batch of leftover haupia (recipe coming soon) and the whole “vegan” thing was a happy accident. An afterthought, really. Only realized long after these tarts had been long consumed and had found their rightful home in my happy belly.
Haupia is a new-to-me recipe, stumbled upon a few weeks back on an evening when I found myself down a particularly intense Google-hole while searching for no-bake dessert inspiration. It’s a coconut milk-based Hawaiian dessert, traditionally thickened with pia, a polynesian arrowroot, though due to pia’s limited availability cornstarch is used in most modern (non-Hawaiian) kitchens, as I did for this recipe. While it’s technically considered a pudding, the texture leans towards gelatinous and is easily sliceable. I found it to be comparable to the that of a light panna cotta, though my research tells me haupia is never made with gelatin.
The flavor is mildly coconutty, and lends itself nicely to additional flavoring from extracts or even liquors. I used just a couple drops of rum extract in this version to add a punch of flavor (I was out of the real deal) and enhance the already tropical vibe from both the coconut-based pudding and the macaroon crust.
The raw chocolate macaroon crust, adapted from this recipe, is not your typical cookie-like, tart crust. Instead, it’s sweet and complex with a chewy texture much like that of a granola bar but without the hearty bite from oats. Cocoa powder, almonds and medjool dates create a slightly bitter, mildly fruity base that is made macaroon cookie-like by the addition of shredded coconut. When eaten directly out of the refrigerator (or freezer) it’s almost fudge-like, but softens as it comes to room temperature, eventually becoming a little too pliable to compliment the custard so I recommend serving these cold.
Since both components are softer in texture it is of the utmost importance that you top these tarts off with a dollop of whipped cream and a healthy sprinkle of whatever toasty, crunchy things you have on hand. Nuts, toasted coconut, even graham cracker crumbs or crushed cookies would all add a perfect contrast of texture, resulting in a chewy-creamy-crunchy-nutty explosion of no-bake, vegan, raw, gluten-free deliciousness. (How’s that for dessert buzzwords?) I added cherries to the top of mine for a little bit of tartness and color, but how pretty would these be sliced figs? DO IT!
A Few Notes About This Recipe:
There are all kind of opinions and complicated rules surrounding raw chocolate, and what classifies a chocolate as truly raw. The general rule is that if the chocolate is melted slowly, and never reaches a temperature above 118F (48C), it can pass as raw. Technically though, if the raw cocoa beans are processed at high temperatures before becoming the chocolate bar that you have in your kitchen, by strict raw foodie definition, it’s not actually raw. (See? Complicated.) For the purpose of this recipe, I turned a blind eye to the processing of my chocolate. I used a big-brand bittersweet chocolate bar but heated it slowly over a double boiler and monitored the temperature with my candy thermometer to make sure it did not exceed 118F. If you’re not concerned with keeping your chocolate raw, melt it in the microwave. If you want chocolate in it’s rawest form, most recipes I found use a combination of cocoa butter and cocoa powder instead of chocolate already in bar form. Do what’s right for you!
When I made these tarts, I greased my mini-tart pans with coconut oil instead of lining them with parchment because I wanted a very defined shape. As a result, it was a challenge to get them out of the molds, and I spent a good 30+ minutes coaxing them from their frozen homes. I recommend using parchment — they may not look quite as pretty but it will save you time/frustration.
P.S. The is the last recipe of this year’s Eff The Oven August. Though it was cut a little short this year, thanks for following along! Onward to fall baking…eeeEEeeEe!
- 1 cup pitted, chopped medjool dates
- 3/4 cup almonds, ground
- 1 1/4 cups shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract or spiced rum (optional)
- whipped cream (coconut if keeping vegan)
- toasted coconut
- fresh fruit
- chopped dark chocolate
- Line 4 mini tart pans with parchment paper and lightly grease. Set aside.
- Add the dates to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and a ball has formed.
- Add the ground almonds, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, coconut oil and salt. Pulse until very well combined and a dough has formed.
- Divide the dough into four balls and and then firmly press each into the prepared tart pans. I find that using a dry measuring cup to press the dough into the pans helps form a compact, even crust.
- Place crusts into the freezer for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- In a small bowl. combine the corn starch and water. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over low heat, add the coconut milk, sugar, and salt, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- When the sugar is dissolved, add the cornstarch/water mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Important: you must stir constantly as the mixture burns very easily.
- Let boil for approximately1-3 minutes or until the haupia becomes thick.
- Remove from the stove, and stir every few minutes as it begins to cool. Once slightly cool, stir in the extract(s). Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- To assemble:
- Carefully remove the frozen crusts from the tart pans, removing the parchment paper and placing them onto their serving dish. Note: The crusts will become sticky as they warm up, so wait to remove the parchment until just before serving.
- Spoon the coconut custard into the crusts, filling them almost to the edge.
- Serve chilled, garnished with the topping(s) of your choice.