17 May 2013

Our Favorite Dessert

Every once in awhile Danny and I will make dessert for special occasions.  Ever since our friends made us this chocolate tart, this has been one of our favorite desserts ever.  And I'm telling you, it's one of the easiest things you could make.  I don't really cook that much these days so I get rusty with that stuff - but this recipe just turns out perfectly every time and just WOWS everybody.  (Our friends who introduced us to this even won a very competitive pie cook-off with it in Brooklyn one year.)

The original recipe actually comes from the amazing Smitten Kitchen.  But I adapted it to be GLUTEN FREE & DAIRY FREE.  Yes!  That is one huge feat, actually.  But I'm telling you, this recipe still turns out brilliantly even without the gluten and dairy.  You truly would never believe the recipe has been adjusted.  For starters, I use gluten free ginger snaps for the crust (I love these from Trader Joe's).
Have you heard of ghee (it's popular in India)?  The original recipe calls for a small amount of butter in the ginger snap crust, but I use ghee instead.  It's a clarified butter which means the milk solids are removed.  My doctor said that it was OK for me to eat it on my dairy free diet (though check with your doctor if you have allergies, just to be sure!)  For me, I don't have any reactions to ghee like I do to dairy.  (FYI, you can buy ghee from Amazon or most health food stores.)
I try to stay away from sugar on most days.  And that even includes dark chocolate.  But if I am going to have a treat, I'm always happy when dark chocolate is involved.  I love to get the darkest chocolate bars from Trader Joe's - the dairy free kind.  But um...on this day I used Ikea bars.  Maybe I'm crazy but they're actually quite good and they're just 99 cents a bar.  That helps keep the cost of this tart down as you'll need to buy about 4 bars for the recipe.

Instead of dairy cream, I use coconut cream for this recipe.   It's really the BEST.  I'm telling you - it could even be creamier than real cream.

OK,  here's how to prepare the Coconut Cream before you begin cooking...

1.  Put the can of coconut cream in the refrigerator over night or for several hours.  (I just keep a few in my refrigerator all the time in case I need some in a pinch.)

2.  When chilling, the coconut cream solids will rise to the top and separate from the coconut water.

3.  When opening the chilled can, turn it upside down as the water will be at the bottom.  You can save the coconut water for another recipe or discard.

4.  What you're left with is solid coconut cream.

The cream can then be warmed up to room temperature and the solids will turn to liquid again.  You can use this cream as a substitute anytime a recipe calls for dairy cream.
And here's where I pretend to be a food blogger with that shot that makes you want to stick your finger in the chocolate.  :)

See here for the recipe...


Makes 10 servings  


8 ounces of Gluten-free gingersnap cookies from Trader Joe's (1 bag will do it).
1/4 cup Ghee, melted


12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped - I use dairy free chocolate
1 cup coconut cream (chill a can of coconut cream in advance overnight.  See instructions above.)
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Whipped Coconut Cream - for garnish:

2 cans coconut milk, chilled overnight (Warning: Trader Joe's brand does not work for the whipped cream for some reason.  Every other brand I've tried works fine.)
sugar to taste
1 tsp vanilla

For crust:

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grind gingersnap cookies to a fine consistency in food processor (yielding 1 1/2 to 1 2/3 cups). Add melted ghee and continue to mix until moistened.  Use a measuring cup to press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan or cake pan.  I use a cake pan.  As you can see, in a cake pan the crust gets pressed up about half way on the sides.

For filling:

Combine coconut cream and finely chopped bittersweet chocolate in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over LOW heat until chocolate and coconut cream solids are melted and smooth (beware of overheating!)  Remove saucepan from heat. (If your mixture so far looks grainy, don't worry. That always happens to me and I think I've ruined it.) Whisk egg yolks, egg, sugar, ground black pepper, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Very gradually whisk chocolate/coconut cream mixture into egg mixture and blend until smooth.  Magically, it will get really, really smooth.  Pour chocolate filling into crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling puffs slightly at the edges and the center is softly set. Transfer to a cooling rack, if you're fancy. Cool tart in pan 20 minutes. 

For Whipped Coconut Cream: follow these instructions.  It's ridiculously fluffy and delicious.

Cut tart into thin wedges.  I've made the mistake of cutting pieces too large.  It's so rich that thin is best.  Serve with whipped coconut cream.  

FYI:  The Chocolate Tart can be made 1 day ahead. Cover tart and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.  Or, just keep slivering the heck out if it straight from the fridge throughout the day.  :)

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  1. This looks delicious! I've recently gone off sugar, dairy, and gluten (and feel great!!!) so I love getting recipes like this. Have you tried subbing the sugar with honey or coconut palm sugar?!? I'll have to give it a shot when I have people around to share it with, or not.

    Also, awhile back you mentioned (either in a post or a comment) that your changes first began when you made changes in your diet. As I changed these aspects of my lifestyle (sugar, dairy, gluten) I've been so surprised at how much more open to "spiritual" things I've been. Not only do I feel physically better, I feel better mentally and spiritually too. I'd love to hear more about that part of your journey! I know it's tricky because everyone has different dietary needs (I didn't cut those things out because I HAD to due to an allergy or sensitivity, it was a choice I made after becoming more educated on how they effect my body). Anyway, I just wanted to say that I get it!

    1. Hi Jenny, I haven't tried it with coconut sugar or honey, but I've wanted to try. If you do, I'd LOVE to hear how it turns out!! I, too, try to stay away from sugar as much as I can.

      And thanks for the request to write more about the physical changes...they really were life changing and gave me the strength and power to do the emotional / spiritual work. I actually think when the physical and spiritual are in sync, miracles can happen. Otherwise, the physical body can actually hold back our mental/spiritual/emotional capacities for change, healing, etc. Anyway, sounds like you already know all this... I'm so glad that you have experienced the same. I've actually wanted to do a whole series on this, but haven't pulled it off yet. But you gave me some extra motivation! :) Thank you so much.

  2. This tart looks like it is to die for. Thanks for sharing.
    I am an avid follower and just love your blog. I feel like you and Danny
    are my friends, and we've never even met. I love that!
    I met your two sisters in law yesterday at a PTA convention they had a booth
    for The Great Artist Program. I recognized it from your previous post. It looks like a great program and I am going to try to get it into my kids elementary school. It was fun to meet them, and they were SO nice.
    Thanks for being willing to genuinely share from your soul. It truly resonates with mine.

    1. I can't believe you met Laurie and Kelly!!! That is AWESOME!!! Aren't they just wonderful? Some of my favorite women ever. Thank you so much for your sweet note...it always means so much to us to hear from people.

  3. I wanted to mention that when you are Kosher, you can't eat meat and diary together and once you have eaten meat, you have to wait 6 HOURS before you can eat anything diary. Therefore there are foods called Parve, which basically means, not meat or diary. There are some amazing alternatives to sour cream, Ranch Dressing, etc. You might want to try the nearest Kosher Market near you. Their bread options are parve as well...Hallah (or challah) is parve :). Anyway, hope this helps with some of your limitations in finding good alternatives for some diary items.

    I am in California, or I would recommend a few places.

    1. Aubrey - you are so sweet to write in. THANK YOU for this amazing suggestion. There is Kosher stuff everywhere here but I never thought to check for Parve foods. I'm so excited!! Thank you, thank you!

  4. I made this on Friday for a friend's birthday, and it was delicious. I think I used some dark chocolate that was a little too dark- 85% from Trader Joe's. I thought it was great, but I probably could have added a bit more sugar from my friends that don't normally eat dark chocolate...

    Thank you so much for this recipe; I have a feeling I will be making it again in the near future :)


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