This tart is basically a rich, creamy, and flavorful chili chocolate mousse in a nut shell (literally!). I was being asked about the tart version of this lush and super easy dessert since I shared that mousse recipe a few weeks ago, so here goes :)
Well, actually first things first, I've been meaning to share this tart recipe for a few weeks... I had it in the back of my mind to fix a few things first though that I thought would improve this recipe a little. But then I thought it's so good in its current form, that it's worth sharing as it is with some working notes instead ;)
Don't get me wrong -- it's absolutely delicious as it is now and I wouldn't hesitate to serve this one to the pickiest of my guests. It's rich, creamy, smooth, and with a really deep flavor. But I recommend checking out some of the recommendations below for minor improvement ideas:
Number one: while making this pie, I was being shadowed by a certain curious 8-year-old mini "MasterChef" in the making :) . She was particularly interested in the sprinkling of cocoa powder on the pie, and I got a little over-zealous demonstrating. As a result the top layer of cacao powder, meant to be just a sprinkle, ended up a rather hefty layer of chocolate dust -- whoops!
I definitely recommend only doing a very light dusting, or feel free to even skip. The tart is great with or without it. But with too much, it adds a dry powdery bitter element to the tart that's not the greatest.
Number two: If not baking for an oil-free crowd, I think the crust would work a tad better with the addition of 1 tablespoon melted cacao butter or coconut oil to add a touch more firmness.
Number three: I was thinking that the crust here might be more fun if it was also chocolatey. So next time I get to make this tart, I'll try adding 2 tablespoon cocoa powder plus 1-2 more tablespoon water. I was also thinking of tossing in about ½ tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses into the filling for a twist on the original mousse.
I have lots of other ideas for spins and twists on this one, and if you're adventurous there's tons of room to play around with the flavors here, but really the original is already so delish it probably doesn't need much at all. Just a bit less cacao dusting and you're good to go ;)
Chili Chocolate Mousse Tart
A rich and creamy vegan chocolate mousse tart with a slight chili and cinnamon kick. This recipe is dairy-free, gluten & grain-free (naturally), refined sugar-free, and uses no added oils. Can easily be made raw by using a raw liquid sweetener of your choice and cacao powder.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 7" tart
- Category: Tarts
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1 ¾ cups sliced almonds
- ½ cup soft pitted dates
- 1-2 tablespoon water
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained*
- 1 cup coconut cream**
- 6 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp chili powder (or more to taste)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ⅜ tsp salt
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor to combine into a fine sticky crumble. Transfer to a 7" tart pan with a removable bottom (or a parchment-lined dish of a similar size) and shape into a thin crust along the base and edges. Freeze while working on next step.
- Blend all mousse ingredients in a high power blender until completely smooth. Transfer the mousse filling into the prepared crust and smooth out the top. Tap the pan on the counter lightly to release some air bubbles and flatten the mixture.
- Sprinkle with desired toppings (if using).
- Refrigerate the pie overnight or freeze for a few hours to set. Enjoy! Keep the pie chilled until serving time.***
*To pre-soak cashews: place in a glass bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then strain and discard the water. For a quick pre-soak, cover with boiled water and soak for 15 mins, then strain and discard water. (Note: this technique doesn’t preserve the nutrition of the recipe as well as the traditional soaking technique above). Note: the purpose of soaking the nuts is to re-hydrate them and plump them up for blending into a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. Proper soaking techniques also maximize nutrition and digestibility. If you’re interested in learning more about nut soaking and other dessert prep tips and tricks, I delve into these subjects in detail in my book Unconventional Treats.
**The coconut cream used in this recipe is the firm white stuff gathered at the top of chilled cans of full-fat coconut milk. You’ll need to chill the cans in an upright position overnight for the cream to separate from the water and surface up to the top. For this recipe I used cream from just under 2 cans of of Thai Kitchen’s 400 ml cans. Reserve the remaining water for other uses, only use the firm white cream for the mousse.
***This tart can be kept refrigerated or frozen. Note that as this recipe uses no additional oils it’s of a slightly softer consistency, so keep refrigerated just until serving (to avoid having it melt too fast) for the best texture. Or alternatively keep it frozen and thaw out lightly (10-15 mins) and enjoy.