Spicy Mexican Chocolate Tartlets w/ Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Posted by Noelle on May 6th, 2012
Categories: Desserts
Tags: ,,,,

I wanted to make something muy especial for Cinco De Mayo this year and mexican chocolate came to mind. To be fair though, I think that it's almost always on my mind, chocolate that is. Mmmmm...chocolate. Ok I must focus! Cinnamon and chocolate are so very naughty good together, and I love a little heat and spice with my chocolate. Not overpowering, but something that surprises you. This dessert is velvety chocolate lusciousness served up in a mini tart form topped with a dollop of vegan whipped cream that just happens to be flecked with vanilla bean. Yeah, I know. I love to mix raw and cooked food, call me daring, stupid, whatever you want, but it works for me. You could easily keep this raw by either freezing the crust instead of cooking or dehydrating it for a few days. Seriously, a few days. But this is the shortcut...a less than 10 minute bake in the oven gets the crust perfectly crisp and ready to be filled. The filling is mostly composed of raw cashews and cocoa powder. If you're a purist use cacao powder, but it's way more expensive and not as readily available. Cashews are amazing. It's like tofu minus the processing really. They can turn into creamy cheesecakes, thick sauces and spreads, and just about anything else you can dream up... I must warn you though, they are filling. So let's recap. This is a fairly healthy dessert, starring chocolate, that's also refined sugar and gluten-free and will actually fill you up quickly! I hear angels singing too. Deseándoles la paz (wishing you peace)!

Ingredients:

Tart Crusts:

Chocolate Filling:

Whipped Cream:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 4 tartlet pans that have removable bottoms with cooking spray, my pans were just over 4" in diameter. Combine all crust ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until well combined and everything comes together in a sticky dough. Using your hands, press dough mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of each tartlet shell. The ideal thickness would be 1/8", you want a thin crust, but not so thin you see the bottom of the pan. I find it easiest to start in the middle of each tart and work my way to the edges and up the sides, adding little pieces to fill in the sides as needed. Place all 4 tartlets on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until just starting to crisp. Cool to room temperature leaving them on the same cookie sheet, but placing it on a wire rack.

When the crusts have cooled, put all of the ingredients for the filling into a high-powered blender (withholding some or all of the cayenne if you don't want much heat), I used my vitamix. Blend, stopping to scrape sides occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes until it's smooth and creamy and has no graininess left from the nuts. Blend longer if needed, the goal is to make sure it's smooth. Adjust seasonings, add more cayenne if you really want to spice it up. Using the aid of a spatula, pour the filling into the tart shells, smooth the tops, and place them back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight. This chilling allows the filling to set up and get thicker like a cheesecake. Don't cover them with plastic wrap until they have chilled long enough to set or the chocolate will stick to the wrap.

The whipped cream should be made at least a few hours before you're planning to serve the tartlets. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop out only the thick cream that is at the top. Try to get as little of the coconut water at the bottom as possible while still getting as much of the thick cream as you can. Put into a small metal bowl. Next, halve the section of vanilla bean lengthwise and place it, cut side up, on a work surface. Hold a knife perpendicular to the bean, then run the blade over each cut side, bearing down to scrape out the seeds. Scrape the vanilla seeds off of the knife and into the bowl of coconut cream. Add the agave syrup and whisk briskly until everything is combined and there are no lumps, usually a couple of minutes. You could also use a hand mixer, but I find that since this is so small an amount doing it by hand works out best. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours or even overnight. When ready to serve, gently whisk again just a few times to lighten it up like whipped cream, be cautious as over whisking will cause it to soften.

To serve, remove tartlet from it's pan and place onto a plate, top with a good dollop of the whipped cream and garnish with a mint sprig, cinnamon stick, dust with cocoa or cinnamon, or even just top with a raspberry. Whatever you have on hand will work, get creative. You could even put a thin slice of jalapeno on top to let your guests know there is some heat in this tart. Serve while still cold.