Although we don’t have a television, which possibly makes us a slightly unusual family, we do watch a variety of TV programmes via BBC iPlayer and 4OD. Recently, we enjoyed Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s latest River Cottage series in which he gave up eating meat for four months over the summer. The programmes in this series charted his discovery of new vegetarian combinations and dishes, ranging from simple soups and salads to lavish banquets and wedding feasts.
Perhaps the most intriguing creation from the entire series however was Laura Coxeter’s raw chocolate ganache tart. Prepared with a heady mix of pecans, medjool dates, avocados and cacao powder, it really is a work of pure genius.
The idea behind the tart is that it can be served to raw food eaters, vegans and anyone wishing to avoid dairy, gluten and soya in their diet. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t normally associate such a recipe with something that turns out to be richly chocolately and sinfully sumptuous. But Laura really did appear to have pulled it off, judging by the velvet gooiness of the ganache and the fervent lip-smacking of its tasters. I was inspired to give it a go.
Now, I have to confess that I’m not a raw food eater. Okay, it’s probably not such a huge confession – Laura’s the first raw food eater that I’ve ever come across. I did therefore make a few changes to the tart, which will no doubt have raw foodies shuddering in their graves. In essence, my recipe is more or less true to the original although not an exact replication.
The secret behind the ganache is avocado. Whizzed up in a food processor with cocoa powder and sugar, avocados form the basis of a smooth, luxurious texture that is normally achieved by mixing chocolate and cream. The whole tart is ridiculously easy to make – you just need to make sure that you’ve allowed plenty of time for it to chill and set before serving.
The finished tart got a thumbs-up from my children, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to present it as the pièce de résistance at the end of a more grown-up dinner party. All in all, this recipe is just in time for the festive season. Happy Holidays :-)
No-Bake Chocolate Ganache Tart (adapted from a recipe by Laura Coxeter)
For the base
300g/10 1/2 oz pecans
1 tsp salt
200g/7 oz medjool dates
For the filling
4 medium, ripe avocados
150g/5 1/2 oz rice bran oil
Seeds of 2 whole vanilla pods
200g/7 oz cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
300g/10 1/2 oz castor sugar
Blend the pecans in a food processor, then add the salt and dates. Whizz them all together until the mixture balls into a dough.
Press the dough into the base of a 9″ springform pan. Chill in the freezer to harden.
Peel and de-stone the avocados, then blend the pulp in the food processor. Add the oil, vanilla seeds, cocoa, salt and sugar and process until smooth.
Scrape the filling onto the base and spread evenly with a spatula or palette knife.
Set the tart in the freezer for an hour before serving.