So I have another essay deadline looming. Which means that baking has become a regular method of procrastination once again and my essay is still yet to be finished… But never mind, essays can wait, for this tart is heaven in a bite. And its mostly a lighter version of the real thing, bar the chocolate ganache topping (I’m sorry but it needed a little bit of naughtiness) But feel free to leave out the chocolate ganache topping if it’s too much for you!My boyfriend had a big bag of dates lying around in his cupboard and no use for them, so I kinda borrowed his dates to experiment with them for a bit. I often see no bake truffle recipes on the internet which almost always involve dates or coconut oil. Now coconut oil I cannot afford with my student budget, but dates? I’ve got plenty of those. And why does a tart seem like a perfect idea? Definitely not because of my brand new tart tin that arrived yesterday…
I started off with a truffle recipe, but it was so delicious and creamy, I thought I could use it instead of normal chocolate in a tart. I loosened up the batter with a little maple syrup and water and it was the perfect spreading consistency for my tart base.
Now the pastry is based on a recipe from Lorraine Pascale’s ‘A Lighter way to bake’. Her recipes are generally good, but her level of sweetness does not satisfy mine at all, so I often use her recipes and add a little more sugar or natural sweetener in there too.
For those of you that don’t want to make the tart and are interested in the Sheknows.com truffle recipe alone, here is my adaptation:
10 soaked dates, pitted
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons water, if needed
1 tablespoon caster sugar (if it is not sweet enough for you)
(Try to not use a liquid natural sweetener as it makes the dough too wet for truffles)
Before using the dates, soak them for at least half an hour in boiling water. I used my loose leaf dark chocolate flavour tea from Whittards to soak mine in for extra flavour, and soaked them overnight but this is optional)
Drain your dates and add them to your food processor with the coconut, cocoa and salt. Blitz for 2 minutes or until it comes together and is just sticky enough to form balls. Using a small ice cream scoop or a teaspoon, portion them and roll them into balls before storing in the fridge for up to 2 days. Feel free to roll them in chopped nuts or cocoa if you like.
Now, the tart is a little more complicated.
There’s 2/3 components, the third being optional of course, but highly recommended!
The first step is a wholemeal, chocolate, shortcrust pastry:
205g Wholemeal Flour
20g Cocoa Powder
100g Low fat Olive oil spread
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1-3 tbsp water (until dough comes together)
Blitz together the spread, flour and cocoa until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar, maple syrup and blitz again. If the dough is still too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time, blitzing in between.
Scrape out of the bowl onto a piece of cling film. Knead the dough a little bit til it comes together into a ball, then flatten, wrap and place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
Once cooled, place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to the size of your tin, making sure that the dough is not too thick as it will make the tart very heavy. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll the pastry around it to transfer to your tin. OR If your tin has a removable bottom, place it under the dough and fold the excess for the sides of the tin into the middle. Then carefully lift the base into the tin and fold the pastry out over the sides, pressing into the sides carefully.
Roll your rolling pin over the edges of the tin to cut off the excess pastry, then with a fork, prick the base all over and place some cling film and rice/baking beans into the tart tin. Blind bake for 10 minutes at 170 degrees C, then remove the rice/baking beans and bake for another 10 minutes or until it is completely baked.
Let the tart completely cool, before sealing with a thin coat of melted chocolate (100g bar) to stop the moisture of the truffle base seeping into the pastry. Place into the fridge and allow to set completely.
The second step is to make the truffle filling, (the same as the recipe above but doubled) and loosen the mixture with 4/5 tbsp of maple syrup. Then, using an offset spatula, spread the truffle mixture evenly across the tart base.
Finally, cover the filling with chocolate ganache (either 150g chocolate to 150ml of double cream or a vegan alternative) and swirl in 20g melted white chocolate for a gorgeous marbled effect.
And voila! You have a showstopper of a tart.
With Christmas coming up, this is a great showstopper to finish off your meal, or just a good way to show off and share with friends at a dinner party or get together. This is a simple recipe that looks like you’ve spent the best part of your day making, and it involves no tricky fillings that need to set either. I really hope you give this a try.
Love Sian xxx