Desserts are not something I naturally gravitate towards; skill-wise, it’s definitely my weakest course. But my mother-in-law, on the other hand, is quite experienced when it comes to sweets. This recipe is from her. I took some liberties with it, of course, but she taught me the basics of this tart. 

What makes or breaks a tart, for me, is the crust. You want it to be crunchy but not too crunchy and have a nice crumble all while holding itself and the filling together and tasting good. It’s easy enough to make a great chocolate or fruit based filling, but the crust can be tricky, especially when attempting a gluten free crust like this one. Here, I used almond flour as the base. It’s held together with flax meal, commonly referred to as a flax egg—flax meal and water. I find this works really well to add strength to the crust while not adversely affecting the flavor. The almond butter is also a nice addition that hammers home the almond flavor and gives the crust a slightly chewy quality that reminds me of a peanut butter cookie.

The filling is all dark chocolate, mellowed a bit with almond milk, but mostly it’s just rich dark chocolate goodness. I like to use a chocolate in the ballpark of 60-70 percent cacao. But you can use whatever chocolate you prefer. And as far as toppings go, I added some salted almond butter because I love anything sweet and salty, but fruit works great as well. 



Makes 1 9-inch round tart

-2 cups super-fine almond flour
-2 tbsp powdered sugar
-½ tsp salt
-3 tbsp filtered water
-1 tbsp flax meal
-2 tbsp coconut oil
-2 tbsp almond butter

-10 oz. dark chocolate
-1 cup + 2 tbsp unflavored almond milk
-¼ cup coconut oil
-2 tbsp cornstarch

-2 tbsp almond butter
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-1 tsp powdered sugar
-½ tsp flaky sea salt such as Maldon

Whipped Coconut Cream
-1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled in the fridge overnight
-2 tbsp powdered sugar

1.    Preheat oven to 350.

2.    Starting with the crust, combine the flax meal and 3 tbsp filtered water in a bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, to a food processor or large bowl, if mixing by hand, add the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt. Mix briefly to combine. Then add the flax and water mixture, coconut oil and almond flour. Pulse maybe a dozen times or until the mixture clumps up into a ball of dough. Place dough in a lightly-greased or non-stick 9-inch tart pan. Press and shape dough to the pan, aiming for about ¼-inch in thickness throughout. There maybe be some excess dough. 

3.    When crust is shaped, add a piece of parchment paper to the middle and fill with pie weights or dried beans, otherwise the crust might float away on you. Place it in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. When the edges feel somewhat hardened but not yet browned, remove the pie weights or beans along with the parchment and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the edges start to look golden. Set aside to cool.

4.    While the crust cools, make the filling. In a small saucepan, add the 2 cups almond milk, chocolate and coconut oil and put on low heat, stirring often. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together the additional 2 tbsp almond milk and the cornstarch. When the chocolate mixture is melted and just starting to bubble, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and immediately remove from heat. Quickly pour the mixture into your cooled crust. Pick it up an inch or two off the counter and drop it down a couple times to release any air bubbles. Set aside to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, place it in the refrigerator and allow it to set for about an hour. Give it a gentle shake to make sure the filling doesn’t wiggle. If it seems set, cover and return to the fridge, otherwise give it a bit longer in the fridge uncovered.

5.    To make the almond topping, warm the coconut oil briefly in the microwave or on the stove, just until it’s in liquid form. In a mixing bowl, combine warm coconut oil, almond butter, powdered sugar and flaky sea salt. Keep in mind the salt won’t dissolve easily into the fat, and it’s not supposed to. You want to see flakes of salt in the mixture. Add to a piping bag or squeeze bottle and apply to the chilled and set tart. You can even just a spoon this over the top if you’d like. Cover it back up and return the tart to the fridge. It’ll only take 15-20 minutes before the almond topping has set.

6.    Finally, to make the whipped coconut cream. Scoop out the fatty coconut cream that has separated to the top of your chilled can, leaving the coconut water behind. Add the cream to a mixing bowl along with the powdered sugar and whisk quickly while the cream is still cold. It should only take a minute or so. Serve immediately atop a slice of tart or place in the refrigerator for later. It usually holds its form for an hour or two.