I’m usually not one to try out vegan recipes. The main reasons why are because vegan recipes often involve ingredients that seem a little out there for me or are just way too hard to find. A lot of vegan staples like dates, cashews, nutritional yeast and flax are either really expensive or just not easily found at grocery stores. That being said, I wanted to push myself to try more vegan desserts in hopes I could make something that was delicious in spite of its ingredients. Additionally, I wanted to make a dessert with a better moral conscious in mind due to the lack of animal products. The recipe that really stood out to me was this Vegan Chocolate Tart with Salted Oat Crust by Claire Saffitz of Bon Appetit. If you’ve been following my lock down project, you’ll know she’s made many appearances by now, and for good reason. I’m being completely honest when I say that literally every recipe I’ve tried by Claire has been amazing. So I gathered all my ingredients and got to work.
What’s great about this recipe- other than the fact that it’s vegan- is that it comes together in the food processor. It starts off with some oats and flour being added to the bowl of your processor. Oats really take a starring role here along with the chocolate to provide some great texture and a nice nuttiness. Our vegan swaps come in the form of agave, the main sweetener here, while coconut oil does the heavy lifting as the dish’s fat. The rest of the crust ingredients: cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon are added before it’s pulsed together and pressed into a tart pan. The crust is then baked and allowed to cool before we move in. Really, this couldn’t be any easier– given that most other tarts call for making your own pastry which is far more intimidating than this. The filling comes together just as easily as well, starting off by letting the espresso powder steep with some hot water in the bowl of your food processor- yes you have to wash it in between. Cocoa powder is added which sort of “blooms” it as a way to get most of the flavor out. We then add the melted chocolate, agave syrup, vanilla, coconut oil and salt before pulsing that until smooth. If you’re a strict vegan, then you’ll want to ensure that your chocolate is indeed dairy-free. The brand I used noted that it may contain milk, which was good enough for me- but hey, I’m just trying out a recipe. It’s also worth noting that you’ll likely use up most, if not all, of a bottle of agave. The filling is poured into the cooled tart and then allowed to set in the fridge for at least an hour. Claire’s last component is a toasted oat topping which couldn’t be easier to put together on the stove and adds some great crunchiness and texture. All in all, this tart was a lot easier than some other non-vegan chocolate tarts I’ve made.
I want to stress that this isn’t a “good vegan chocolate tart”, it’s a great chocolate tart, that just happens to be vegan. With a lot of these alternative recipes, we ask ourselves “is it good because it’s vegan, or is it just good?” Here, you don’t miss any of the dairy in this like you do in some other vegan desserts, in fact, it’s the swaps that really make it shine. The coconut oil really makes for a filling that’s well set, almost like biting into chocolate truffles. And while the chocolate is the main star, it’s getting lots of help from the toasted oats and sweetness of the agave. The cinnamon too, adds a nice warmth and complexity that I thought would overpower the flavors, but it doesn’t. That crunchy oat topping should really be packaged and sold to the masses as it was incredibly delicious, and definitely something I’d make even on it’s own. Even after a couple days in the fridge, the tart was just as excellent as that first day- not even the least bit soggy. This definitely made a space for itself in my recipe repertoire.
Full Recipe | Method by: Claire Saffitz of Bon Appetit