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Raw mocha-chocolate mousse tart

August 18, 2010

Let me tell you a little about my average day. I’m up at 6:00am to exercise, and then I have an 8-hour workday ahead of me. By the time I get home around 5:30pm, I have precious few hours before I have to head to bed shortly after 9:00pm. (Unfortunately I’m someone who not only takes 1-2 hours to fall asleep, every single night, but I also have a body that has always required over 8 hours of sleep to feel rested. You can imagine how seldom that actually happens!) Between blogging and all it entails, keeping up with others’ blogs, spending time with my boyfriend, dinners/wine nights/workout dates with friends, grocery shopping and errand-running, keeping my house marginally clean, and more, sometimes I think it’s a wonder that I have any time to cook and bake at all! As such, time-saving, quick-to-make, and low-maintenance recipes are invaluable to me.

BUT…that’s not to say that I don’t love undertaking a good project every now and then. One thing I love about raw food is that it runs the gamut from “fast and simple” (à la raw pecan pie cookies) to “laborious yet rewarding” (c.f. loaded raw chilly chili). Today’s recipe definitely fits into the latter category. It requires multiple utensils, appliances, specialty ingredients, and a good bit of time, but a) you can (and should) substitute to your heart’s content, and b) the result is truly worth it. I made this for Matt (a mocha maniac) when he came back from a lengthy business trip to London in July, and it was a hit.

Ok, substitutions: there are plenty of possibilities. I myself substituted the hell out of the original recipe to get this version. There are so many options, in fact, that to list them in the ingredients below would make a mess of the recipe! Instead, I’ll mention them in the preparation instructions as I go along. Don’t ever feel bad for substituting—just because a particular ingredient is not in your budget, or you don’t have access to it, or you simply don’t like it, shouldn’t mean that you can’t make a delicious and impressive treat like this one!

For the crust:
1 cup raw walnuts, dry
¼ cup raw macadamia nuts, dry
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup pitted dates

For the mousse:
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
¼ cup almond milk
¼ cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp yacon syrup
2 Tbsp raw honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 cup raw cashews, soaked
¼ cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked
3 Tbsp raw cacao butter, melted
1 tsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp raw cacao beans
1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 tsp liquid lecithin
Pinch of sea salt

For the glaze:
3 Tbsp raw cacao butter, melted
3 Tbsp yacon syrup
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp instant coffee granules
½ tsp vanilla extract

To make the crust, combine all crust ingredients except dates in a food processor. (Substitutions: feel free to use your favorite kind of nut[s] in place of the walnuts and macadamias, and you can use regular cocoa powder instead of raw cacao powder.)

Pulse until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the dates. (Substitutions: you could probably try using raisins instead, as long as they’re fresh and soft.)

Pulse until the mixture comes together. Lightly dust the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with cacao (or cocoa) powder, press the crust mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan, and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the mousse filling.

To make the mousse, combine the avocado, almond milk, cacao powder, agave, yacon syrup, honey, vanilla, and coffee granules in a blender or food processor. (Substitutions: use any nondairy milk in place of the almond milk, and you can again replace the raw cacao powder with cocoa powder. The sweeteners are totally interchangeable and up to you—just use a total of 6 tablespoons of liquid sweetener, whether that’s agave nectar, yacon syrup, honey, or even maple syrup. If you want a plain chocolate [rather than mocha] mousse, just leave out the coffee.)

Process until creamy, then add the cashews and macadamia nuts. (Substitutions: the cashews are pretty vital, but you could probably sub in another type of nut [or just more cashews] for the macadamias.)

Blend until smooth. (My food processor wasn’t doing the job here, so I transferred the mixture to my Vitababy.) Add the cacao butter and coconut oil. (Substitutions: you can replace the cacao butter with an equal amount of coconut oil, just know that the filling won’t firm up as much in the end.)

Blend until smooth. Add the cacao beans, psyllium, lecithin, and sea salt, and blend again until creamy. (Substitutions: in place of the cacao beans, you can use the more-readily-available cacao nibs, or just an equal amount of melted unsweetened chocolate. The psyllium is a thickener, so if you don’t mind the filling being on the softer side, you can just leave it out entirely. The lecithin is an emulsifier, and makes the mousse nice and fluffy, but it can also be left out if you don’t have it.)

Taste the mixture for sweetness, adjusting as needed (you might want another tablespoon or two of agave, or a few drops of stevia, if you like things sweet). Pour the mousse onto the prepared crust, spread it evenly, and put the tart back in the fridge.

To make the glaze, combine all glaze ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, adding a splash of water if necessary. (Substitutions: use additional coconut oil instead of cacao butter, regular cocoa powder in place of cacao, and agave, honey, or maple syrup instead of yacon syrup. Also, again, leave the coffee out if you want a plain chocolate glaze. Lastly, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare a double batch of glaze, as I found it to be pretty thin on my tart!)

Pour the glaze over the mousse…

…and carefully spread in an even layer. Refrigerate the finished tart for several hours, until chilled and firm.

WHEW! At this point, you deserve a pat on the back, and a big slice of…well, this very tart! You can garnish the plate with additional mocha glaze, or perhaps some chocolate pudding, or just leave it unadorned; it’s fabulous as-is.

My favorite part of this masterpiece is actually probably the crust! It stayed moist despite being dense enough to hold its shape when cut.

The chocolate mousse filling firms up nicely in the fridge, but melts in your mouth when you take a bite. It’s just sweet enough, with a complementarily bitter edge from the raw chocolate components and the coffee. The glaze firms up also, causing a beautiful little snap when your fork severs it. All in all, this is one decadent, gratifying, worth-the-work dessert!

Yield: 12 servings.
Per serving: 347 calories, 27.2g fat (9g sat), 26.5g carbs, 4g fiber, 5.6g protein.

How do you guys feel about “project” recipes? Do you ever make them? Do you enjoy reading them for reading’s sake, but feel they’re not worth your time in the kitchen? Do you find them impractical and therefore not fun to read? Or do you just love food porn in any form?!

If you like this, you might also like…
Homemade raw chocolate bar
Best-ever chocolate cake
Hazelnut cupcakes w/chocolate mousse filling

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 2:55 pm

    I love your project recipes!!! Thanks for taking time out of your busy busy day to share this. I really enjoy following step-by-step instructions, especially those accompanied by visual aids. You KNOW I love me some good food porn, especially when it comes to desserts. 😀
    Luurrrve how pretty your tart came out! I’m def. making this… well, someday. This dessert is going onto my to-make list once I get my hands on a food processor!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:09 am

      You are quite welcome, miss! It’s comments from people like you that help make it so worthwhile 😀 I’m so glad you love the “project” posts, and the step-by-step photos, and of course the food porn!

      Oh man, when you get a food processor you will not know what to do with yourself. You’ll have a zillion new options of things you can make!

  2. August 18, 2010 8:50 pm

    Wow…that’s a massive ingredients list! Love the dates, though. One of my favorite things ever!

    I feel you on the sleep thing. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in 10 months. And I want another baby! I must be losing my mind (sleep deprivation will do that….maybe some of your tart will bring me back to my senses…:)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:13 am

      I’m not a snack-on-dates person, but I absolutely LOVE what they do for raw crusts and crumbles. Hmm, maybe I should post my recipe soon for breakfast parfaits with date-nut crumble topping…

      Aw, you poor thing. As much as I hate not getting enough sleep now, I remain aware that someday when I have kids, my sleep-hours-per-night will plummet even further! So, much respect to you for that :]
      Hehe! ::hovers a slice of chocolate tart under your nose to wake you up::

  3. August 18, 2010 10:09 pm

    You’re amazing, lady. Seriously. I now feel utterly embarrassed about how much time I spend fluffing around… though I’ve been trying to make the most of my bludge-time because tomorrow I get 45 essays to mark in a week, then the day they’re due I get another 55 to mark, then I have to write a guest lecture, and at the same time my PhD starts for real, so my life is about to get crazy busy. Translation: There is now way I’ll be making this in the future, but that doesn’t mean I can’t drool 😉

    P.S. Another for our synchronicity bank- I, too, take at least an hour to get to sleep every night. It is Le Suck.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:16 am

      Yikes, that does sound daunting for you! So don’t feel bad; it appears that plenty to-do’s are about to land on your plate (if only a chocolate tart would do so instead!). But, perhaps now you’ll forgive me for still having not written you back yet :[ I promise I will when I can. I want to give it the time and thought it deserves!

  4. Katie permalink
    August 18, 2010 11:27 pm

    love the food porn! haha

    I do enjoy making ‘project recipes’ though I don’t make them as frenquently as I add them to my list. 🙂

    Your tart looks amazing, btw. It’s definitely going on ‘the list’ 😉

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:17 am

      Oh, I can relate on “the list”! Mine is miles long. I’m honored my tart has landed on yours! 😛 And I’m glad you like the food porn and project posts.

  5. August 19, 2010 1:16 am

    I have to say this is a masterpiece..just a “couple” ingredients in it though, huh 🙂 Wow girl, job well done!

    Your comment to me about explaining, justifying, and just going with the flow, vegan or not, enjoying life, chilling out…all that jazz, yep, totally agree. I have to partially couch myself on my blog otherwise the vegan police do come out and literally threaten me and stalk me and send me hate mail so that’s why I am careful about what/how I say things but yeah girl, buttery nipple shots do rock 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:19 am

      Haha, yeah, juuust a couple ingredients. But hey, I gave fair warning! I wasn’t kidding when I called it a project :]

      People are so lame…they need to get a life rather than waste their time trying to invade yours. In the meantime, let’s raise a couple buttery nipple shots and dedicate a toast to the fun/cool/laid-back vegans. Cheers!

  6. John B permalink
    August 19, 2010 2:58 am

    Amber, your blogs are a fun read. I am also very impressed by your daily routine. The tart looks delicious. I may have to undertake this, though to be honest, I’m a disaster in the kitchen.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:24 am

      John B as in Toad’s-Morgan-GlobalDance John B? YAY! Thanks for commenting! I’m so happy you read and enjoy my posts. If either of us had time, I’d totally guide you through making this, though I’m sure you’re not “disastrous.” You know, if someone would let me use their [large] kitchen, and several people would each throw down for ingredient costs, I would love to hold a cooking/baking day with some friends. Not like a “class” per se, but I think it would be so fun to show some peeps how to make a few tasty treats. Then we could all eat the fruits of our labor together!

  7. August 19, 2010 7:38 am

    That crust! I really just want to eat all of that crust!

    Ugh and I feel yah on being busy. I’m up at 5 to work out. Leave for work at 6:45, home at 6:30 and in bed by 9. It takes a toll day after day!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2010 10:26 am

      The crust probably should have been a tad thicker, but a several bites’ worth might have found their way to my tummy straight from the food processor 😛

      Damn, I used to get up at 5-5:15 and I just could not maintain that. Kudos to you for persisting! Your schedule does sound über-packed. I feel your pain =/

  8. Matt permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:45 pm

    This was superb. I’m certainly getting into this raw dessert thing. Please make more sweet stuff, sweet stuff!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 20, 2010 8:22 am

      Thanks, muffin! I’m loving that you’re loving the raw desserts. I will make you another one soon!

  9. February 20, 2012 4:50 pm

    So glad you were inspired by my original recipe. I love the fact that raw is so forgiving and flexible……..you can absolutely replace so many ingredients, and while the results may vary…they almost always taste yummy!!! I LOVE MOUSSE cake!!!! Great job!

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