If you need an elegant but easy holiday dessert to impress, look no further than Caroline’s chocolate tart! It comes together quickly, is appropriate for vegans and gluten-free diets, and is absolutely scrumptious. The crust takes about 25 minutes to make and bake, and the filling, also easy to assemble, hardens in just about an hour. If you don’t have espresso powder, instant coffee will also work. You can also leave the hazelnuts unblanched as they are, with skins on, as this step can be tedious. It just won’t look quite as elegant but the difference is minor. You can make this tart 2 days ahead of time. Enjoy!
(Vegan & Gluten Free) – Adapted from Bon Appetit
4 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter or refined coconut oil, melted
2 ½ cups hazelnuts, blanched* or a mixture of nuts such as walnuts, pecans, etc.
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 oz vegan dark chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
2/3 cup light agave syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted, cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9” round tart pan or springform pan with removable bottom.
- Pulse nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add sugar and salt and pulse again to combine. Drizzle in melted butter or coconut oil and pulse until mixture begins to clump together and looks sandy. Using your hands, firmly and evenly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake crust until golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Let cool.
- Dissolve espresso powder in 3/4 cup very hot water in a food processor. Add cocoa powder and let sit for 5 minutes. Add melted chocolate, agave, vanilla, coconut oil, and kosher salt and process until mixture is very smooth and thick, about 30 seconds.
- Scrape filling into cooled tart shell and smooth top (if making tart in a rectangular shell, you may have a little filling left over; save for another use, like truffles). Tap tart lightly against the counter to pop any air bubbles in filling. Sprinkle tart with flaky sea salt and place in refrigerator to set, at least 1 hour.
*To blanche hazelnuts:
3 tablespoons baking soda
3 cups water
2 cups cold water
1 cup ice
In a deep pan boil the water and slowly add the bicarbonate of soda. Add the hazelnuts and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove the hazelnuts using a slotted spoon and immediately put in a bowl of ice cold water. Using your fingers remove the skins. If the skins are still tough boil for an extra 2 minutes, or let the hazelnuts soak for a few minutes. You can also place the hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and rub together to easily remove the skins.