No Bake Chocolate Tart

It’s not often that I will try making a recipe that’s specifically labeled “healthy”. Let alone one that is vegan, gluten free, and paleo! All of those, at least in my mind, make the dish sound tasteless. But I do try to keep an open mind and get over myself. So when I came across this recipe I almost went next but the picture that accompanied the recipe made me stop. It looked absolutely delicious. So I looked it over and all of the ingredients seemed good and figured I’d give it a try. I was really looking for something that was dairy free at the time and can always use a gluten free dessert as well. I will say that I did modify the original recipe slightly. Who ever wrote it was either using commercial equipment or lied. It looks really dense, like a flourless chocolate cake but it actually is pretty light. Enjoy!

No Bake Chocolate Tart

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 oz dark chocolate, melted (use good quality)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup lot water
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate liqueur (I used chocolate whiskey)
  • pinch of fine sea salt

Filling:

  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut cream (make sure you get cream, not milk)
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate liqueur (I used chocolate whiskey)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract

Topping:

  • Fresh berries
  • whipped cream (I used coconut whipped cream)

Directions:

Put the dates in a bowl with the hot water and liqueur and allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes. In your food processor, pulse the almonds until fine. Add in the dates and pulse again until well combined. Add in the melted chocolate, coconut oil, and salt. Pulse until well combined. Press into a 9″ round tart pan, I greased mine with a little coconut oil so it would come out easier. Allow to chill for 30 minutes.

Clean your food processor. In a microwave proof bowl, heat the coconut cream, chocolate and coconut oil until completely melted and smooth. About 30 seconds at a time, stir, repeat. Add the dates to your food processor and pulse until smooth. Add in the chocolate/coconut mixture and pulse again until completely smooth. Fill the chilled tart shell and chill again until set, about 2 hours.

Before serving top with berries and whipped cream. I also dusted a little powdered sugar and some additional grated chocolate. Enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies

As my blog tag line states, these are my experiments in the kitchen. This recipe definitely falls into that category! It is still very much a work in progress. Most recipes I post I’m in the process of making them as I’m writing up the blog post. This one is not one of those. In fact, I made it twice before I posted this recipe. And it’s still not perfect. I’m not completely satisfied, even though it turned out tasty.

OK, so I do like a challenge. One of the bartenders at one of my favorite waterholes is vegan. She was commenting on the fact that so few people make desserts that are vegan; even though there are a lot of alternatives for butter, eggs, and other dairy products. I gave it some thought, looked in my favorite cookbook, and found a pie crust that used vegetable shortening instead of butter or lard. Growing up in Spokane, WA. there was a bakery close to where we lived and made hand pies. You know, sort of like what Hostess makes. You could buy, and I’m seriously dating myself here, 6 for $1.00 (or that’s what I remember anyway). I thought this would be perfect, I’d make apple hand pies!

One thing I did learn from this is that unlike traditional pie crusts, where keeping it cold is ideal for a perfect crust, this one does not work that way. The first time I made it I tried keeping it cold, it cracked at every opportunity. The second time I started out with it cold but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. So I warmed it up and the dough stopped cracking. Unfortunately, it also didn’t come out flakey either, it was somewhat dry. Hence it is a work in progress, I’ll keep working at it. But it is nice to have a vegan dessert in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling:

  • 3 apples, I used granny smith
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 1 and 2
  • 4 tbsp Calvados*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Glaze:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Calvados*

Directions:

To make the pie crust I use my Cuisinart food processor. Add in the flour and salt, pulse a couple of times to combines. Add in the vegetable shortening in little chunks. Pulse until it starts to look like coarse cornmeal or peas. Add in the water one tbsp at a time, pulsing to combine; until the dough holds together without cracking but isn’t moist. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.

For the filling; peel, core and dice the apples into small cubes. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil and add in the apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and Calvados. Saute until the apples just start to soften. Add in the corn starch and cook for another minute or so, until it thickens. Cool.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″. I used a 6″ biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Scoop 1 tbsp of the apple filling onto the dough, wet the edges, and fold it over. Crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.  Bake in a 375° oven for 25 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and Calvados, beat until smooth. Drizzle over the hand pies once they’ve cooled.

*You can substitute apple juice for the Calvados (which is apple brandy) if you like.

Quick Chipotle Chili

My future sister-in-law brought this healthy recipe to my attention. I really like it because it’s vegan/vegetarian friendly, all you have to do it leave out the chicken, add an additional can of beans, and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

As usual, I did make some modifications. When I first made it with the recipe it came out way to watery for my tastes. I like my chili a little on the thick side.

It’s pretty quick too. Pre-cook the chicken and it’ll take about 30 minutes. I like to make this in my Instant Pot. You can sauté the veggies in it and them program it to slow cook for however long you need. I can start this first thing in the morning and have it ready for dinner by the time I get home.

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Chipotle Chile

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 or so minced cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, chopped*
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 chicken breast, shredded (leave out to make vegetarian)
  • 2 (15-ounce) can beans, rinsed and drained (your choice of type, I like black and pinto)
  • 1 (15-once) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, poblano and bell pepper and sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. Add in the garlic and chipotles in adobo and sauté for another minute, stirring occasionally.

Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir it together, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

*Why the asterisk? Chipotles are a tricky thing, you never know how hot they’ll be. So if you’re heat sensitive then you might want to start out with just one. If it’s not enough then you can add another. Or add additional Ancho chili powder.