Welcome to my first blog post!
I have been failing to actually create and start writing a food blog for some time now so I am really excited to finally share some of my recipes and culinary experiments.
I spent some time considering what my first recipe should be, what statement it would make about my blog and what might entice people to subscribe. I’ve long thought that healthy nourishing food does not have to be bland or puritan and can be as exciting and flavoursome as anything else, so maybe something packed with vegetables, crunchy and vibrant, a celebration of seasonal produce. And then I thought sod it, I’m going for the chocolate tart.
I have lost count of how many times I have made this recipe and it has not failed me yet. It’s made from almost entirely store cupboard ingredients which I nearly always have on hand in case I find myself in an emergency situation which can only be solved by chocolate tart. This happens surprisingly often in my house.
I actually started experimenting with this recipe before I turned vegan and it was one of the first things I ate that really open my eyes to how incredibly delicious and indulgent vegan baking could be. My (definitely non-vegan) housemates were similarly impressed, and I have since made numerous variations and gluten-free versions which I’m sure will work their way into future posts. The version below is the classic, adorned with nothing more than a few chocolate shavings but it’s also delicious topped with fresh fruit or a punchy fruit coulis, or with a few crumbled oreos, artfully arranged. Or plonked on. It’ll taste just as good.
What ingredients will I need?
The key ingredient here is silken tofu, which you can now find in most UK supermarkets. This is a strange and wondrous substance that plops out of it’s carton like an anaemic blancmange, but once drained and whizzed in a food processor it becomes thick, creamy and silky smooth. Mixed with velvety dark chocolate the result is a heavenly, rich filling, sweetened with agave syrup and lifted with a little orange zest. All this sits on a dark and crumbly oreo biscuit base, because I believe that if you can make something double chocolate then you probably should.
If you don’t have a food processor then it’s not a problem, it’ll just require a bit more elbow grease. The oreos can be crushed in a bag with a rolling pin and the fat melted to mix in for the base. The silken tofu can be blended with an electric whisk or a balloon whisk and everything just needs to be mixed until it’s smooth and combined.
Another thing to mention is that this tart is INCREDIBLY EASY to make. I’ve made it before with my 9 year old cousin (who to be fair is a bit of a baking whizz) and apart from trying to eat all the ingredients before the thing was ready she had no problem whipping it up. If you are looking for an incredibly complex and technical recipe that will take hours to make and might very easily go wrong, please do not attempt this tart. You will only be disappointed.
How do I make a vegan chocolate tart?
To begin you’ll need a couple of packs of chocolate sandwich biscuits. I use oreos but you could easily use bourbons or a gluten-free alternative. Simply whizz them up in a food processor, add some vegan marge and and a pinch of salt and whizz again until the mixture starts to clump together. If you can squish it together in your hand and it doesn’t crumble very much then it’s probably about right.
You’ll need a loose-bottomed tin of some sort – mine is 20cm but anything around that would be fine. Grease the tin with vegan margarine and line the bottom with baking paper, then simply tip the chocolate biscuit mixture into the tin and press it firmly into the base. Make sure you press it right into the edges and try to get it reasonably level, then pop it in the fridge while you make the filling.
To start with, break up the chocolate into a heat proof bowl, trying not to eat too much of it. Set the bowl over a pan of water on a low simmer and leave it to gently melt – it’s important that the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. You can melt the chocolate in a microwave if you prefer, but I like this method as you can get on with other things without needing to check it constantly and there’s no risk of burning the chocolate (which would be awful).
Next you’ll need to drain and squeeze the tofu – a strange and satisfying task. The idea is to remove most of the moisture so that when you blitz it in a food processor the resulting gloop is very thick and creamy. You’ll add a bit of moisture back in with the milk and syrup, but this way you can better control the consistency of the filling. You can use a j-cloth, a muslin or a clean tea towel. Place the silken tofu in the middle, gather the edges of the cloth and twist and squeeze the bundle over the sink until very little liquid comes through the cloth – it’ll take a minute or two of squeezing.
Once unwrapped, it’ll look rough and lumpy like ricotta, but blitz for for a minute or so in a food processor and a smooth and velvety substance will emerge. All that remains is to add the milk, syrup and zest, and then leaving the motor running, stream in the slightly cooled melted chocolate through the funnel in your processor. If you’re using a hand whisk, pour the chocolate in slowly as you whisk constantly. Add a big pinch of flaky sea salt (or a smaller pinch of fine salt), and scoop the heavenly mixture onto the biscuit base you prepared earlier.
I’d recommend refrigerating for at least 2 hours before attempting to loosen the tart from it’s tin. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to wrap the tin in a hot cloth (I usually just run a tea towel under the hot tap) which loosens the edges of the tart, then placing the tin on a steady jar or pot and slowly encouraging the tin to slide down, revealing a mouth-wateringly beautiful chocolate tart. What could be better?
Vegan No-Bake Double Chocolate Tart
A rich, indulgent and incredibly easy vegan chocolate tart
- 300g chocolate sandwich biscuits (e.g 2 packs of oreos or gluten free alternative)
- 50g (¼ cup) dairy free spread
- pinch of salt
- 600g/2 packs (2½ cups) silken tofu
- 200g (7 oz) dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
- 6 tbsp agave syrup
- ½tsp orange zest (optional)
- large pinch salt
- 100ml (scant ½ cup) non-dairy milk
- Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed tin and line the base with baking paper.
- Put 300g of chocolate sandwich biscuits in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Add 50g dairy free spread and a pinch of salt to the crumbs and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together. Tip into the greased tin and press down firmly to create the base of the tart. Pop in the fridge.
- Break up the 200g of dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set of a pan of gently simmering or just-boiled water to melt, then set aside to cool.
- Drain the 600g of silken tofu and place in a clean tea-towel, muslin or cloth. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can then put the tofu in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the agave syrup, orange zest, salt and milk then whizz again until combined.
- With the motor of the food processor running, slowly stream the slightly cooled chocolate into the tofu mixture. Scrape down the sides and pulse until completely incorporated. Check the balance of flavours – you might want to add a little more syrup, salt or orange zest to taste.
- Spread the filling on the chocolate biscuit base and refrigerate for at least two hours – you might like to decorate the tart with chocolate shavings or crumbled oreos before serving.