The idea for this recipe came from my desire to make something decadent and chocolatey whilst trying to maintain some form of healthy boundaries. I use coconut milk quite a lot when cooking savoury recipes, but decided coconut cream looked a little too delicious to not mix with something sweet instead. And naturally, what better to pair coconut cream and dark chocolate with than a chewy coconut almond crust.
I first came up with this recipe when I was still living with my parents and one of my sisters. My dad and sister are both coeliac sufferers so nearly of all the baking I did there was gluten-free. Now I have moved out I still tend to bake gluten-free treats out of habit and preference, and I like to make sure I can adapt recipes for a range of dietary needs and preferences.
This recipe can be made:
As usual for those with no allergies or dietary requirements
Gluten-free and wheat-free by using gluten-free flour
Dairy-free by using dairy-free dark chocolate
Vegan by using a vegan egg substitute and vegan dark chocolate
Top Tip: The coconut almond crust recipe produces a thicker, chewier flapjack-like crust rather than a more traditional pastry crust. Want your tart base to come out thinner and lighter? Reduce the quantities of desiccated coconut and almond and replace with more plain flour instead.
Specialist Utensils: Loose based non-stick 10in/26cm tart tin (you could use a larger tin and spread the crust out thinner, or use tartlet tins for individual tarts); Food processor/blender (only needed if using blanched/flaked almonds); Ceramic baking beans or dried pulses.
Coconut Almond Crust
100g unsweetened desiccated coconut
150g ground almonds, blanched or flaked almonds
60ml melted coconut oil or olive oil (plus a little extra for greasing)
2 medium or large eggs (or vegan substitute)
2 tablespoons plain flour (or gluten-free flour)
4 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Coconut Dark Chocolate Filling
200g dark chocolate (or dairy-free/vegan dark chocolate)
1 heaped teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sieved
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
250ml coconut cream
You can use whatever you like! I used a handful of fresh strawberries and pomegranate seeds on this occasion. Fresh raspberries and cherries also work really well with this coconut dark chocolate filling.
1. Turn the oven on at 170°C and grease your tart tin with a little olive oil. If you’re using blanched or flaked almonds, put these in a food processor/blender and whizz them for a minute or so until they form ground almonds.
2. Put the ground almonds, coconut, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger into the bowl of your food processor or a large mixing bowl and mix until combined.
3. In another bowl whisk the eggs together, add the melted coconut or olive oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix.
4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, pulsing the food processor or mixing the bowl as you go. You’ll end up with a pretty sticky dough.
5. Tip your sticky dough into your greased tart tin and use the back of a spoon or the heel of your hand to push the dough into the base and up the sides of the tin.
6. Line the tart tin with baking paper and fill with ceramic baking beans or dried pulses. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sides of the tart are golden brown, then remove the baking beans and baking paper and bake for a further 5 minutes.
7. Remove the tart tin from the oven and leave the crust to cool in the tin on a cooling rack. Place the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir while the chocolate is melting to prevent it from burning. Once melted, add the sieved cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
8. Transfer the chocolate into a cold bowl so that you can handle it easily. Add a third of the coconut cream to the chocolate and beat well with a whisk, spatula or wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Repeat until you have used all of the coconut cream.
9. Once completely cooled, turn the crust out of the tart tin onto a plate and pour the chocolate coconut mixture into the crust. Place the tart in the fridge and leave to set for at least 3 hours before serving.
10. When ready to serve, decorate with whatever you like! I used a handful fresh strawberries and pomegranate seeds on this occasion. Fresh raspberries and cherries also work really well with this dark chocolate filling. Serve on its own or with fresh fruits, Greek yoghurt, cream, or ice cream/dairy-free or vegan ice cream, whatever takes your fancy!