Rachel Snow is a Massachusetts native newly residing in New York City. She’s an avid cook and active volunteer for hunger, health and social justice related causes.
Her blog, foodrefuge.blogspot.com, is her hommage to cooking, eating and helping others to do the same. She teaches cooking classes in the manhattan area and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smokey Mocha Tarts with Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
(Vegan and Gluten Free)
It may not be obvious from my blog foodrefuge, but I generally gravitate more toward the savory than the sweet. Lately, however, I just can’t get the thought of fluffy cakes and decadent tarts off my mind. Perhaps it’s because my birthday is next week and I’ve got a serious case of cake on the brain (I’m pretty sure that’s an actual medical term). Or, perhaps it’s because I haven’t baked anything sweet in ages. Either way, I pulled out all the stops with these bad boys!
The inspiration for this recipe came to me last fall when I visited the amazing city of Portland, Oregon. While I was there, I bought a selection of specialty salts at The Spice & Tea Exchange. In addition to Ghost Pepper Sea Salt (super hot!) and Cyprus Black Lava Sea Salt (totally elegant!), I bought a delicious blend called Applewood Smoked Sea Salt that I thought would taste wonderful with some dark chocolate. I was right!
So, with no further ado, here are the recipes that compose this rich and decadent, sweet and salty tart. There are several components but everything is straightforward and more than worth the effort.
Fill the cooled tart shells with the room temperature, slightly firmed ganache and top with whipped cream and a pinch of ground Applewood Smoked Sea Salt. It’s delicious eaten right away but I liked it even better after it had chilled for a few hours!
Gluten Free Flour Blend
Recipe from the blog, Oh Ladycakes
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
2 1/2 cups white rice flour
2 cups sweet rice flour
2 cups arrowroot starch
Combine well with a whisk and store in a cool, dry place.
Note: When using this gluten free flour blend for recipes, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per every cup. Don’t add the xanthan gum to the main batch of flour blend itself but rather to the recipe directly.
Smokey Sweet Tart Crust
1 heaping cup gluten free flour blend (or regular all purpose flour if you aren’t gluten intolerant)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using all purpose flour)
3 ounces of cold vegan butter
1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil
3 Tablespoons cold water
1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
Add everything to a food processor except for the water, pulsing until you get a crumbly mixture. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing to combine. Turn the dough out, pat it together and wrap so it’s airtight. Chill for at least 20 minutes or overnight for even flakier results.
Preheat your oven to 410 F. Grease and flour (with vegan butter and the gluten free flour blend) the tart pans. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator.
If you are using small 4″ tart pans like I did. Roll up a piece of dough about the size of a gold ball and flatten with your palm to about 1/8 inch thickness onto a piece of wax paper or whatever your wrapped the dough in to chill it. Tip the wax paper up and transfer the flattened dough to the tart pan, pressing it in evenly. Repeat until all your tarts pans are filled. This recipe makes enough for one 9″ tart or about eight to ten 4″ tartlets.
Dock the dough with a fork and place the tartlets on a sheet pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Wait for them to cool before adding the ganache.
Applewood Smoked Bittersweet Ganache
7 oz. dark bittersweet chocolate, roughly
1 Tablespoon vegan butter (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
1 cup strong hot coffee
Roughly chop the chocolate and toss it with the cornstarch, vanilla, vegan butter and Applewood Smoked Sea Salt. Add one cup of the very hot, strong, freshly brewed coffee and stir until everything is melted and combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature and firm up a bit before adding to the cooled tart shells. Top with whipped cream and an additional sprinkle of Applewood Smoked Sea Salt. Enjoy and if you like this recipe, and want to see more like it, please subscribe to my blog foodrefuge !