I’m not one for candy and chocolate bars usually, but I will admit that the mood strikes here and there. We just had Hallowe’en so I was feeling a bit nostalgic and remembering the pillow cases of treats from my youth. After sorting the bars, bags and packages out the next morning, I would start laying into my preferred varieties. Mum would tuck a couple of items into my lunch bag and it was great. Happy days to be sure. I was always way more excited about the saltier snack options though. Huge smiles when a wonderful, saint of a human being dropped a tiny bag of savory potato, pretzel or cheesy snacks into the trick or treat bag. Take 5 candy bars came into my 8-year-old world and everything changed. Chocolate and salt collided and I fell in love.
To elaborate: pretzels, peanuts, chocolate and caramel. Together. Whoa. So! To rekindle that most sincere of loves, I made a slightly more sophisticated and admittedly fussy version in a tart pan. I wouldn’t say it’s a totally guiltless and healthy version of my cherished bar, but it’s fairly wholesome by comparison. It has a lovely crust of graham crumbs and crushed up pretzels, date and peanut butter-based caramel and an incredibly luscious avocado chocolate mousse. We used to make these avocado chocolate terrines at a restaurant I worked at. It was so elegant looking and loaded with Jack Daniels. So delicious. So I took that basic idea, loosened it up to a mousse-y/pudding consistency and it worked out perfectly.
I know I just posted a dessert recipe a little while ago and maybe you overdid it on Hallowe’en night already, but it had been quite a while to be frank. So I thought something totally over the top would make up for everything. That’s just my style sometimes. But mostly I just wanted a chocolate salty thing to eat up without making the trek to the USA for a Take 5. Just sayin’.
chocolate salty tart with peanut butter caramel & pretzel crust
mousse adapted from here
serves: makes one 10 inch tart
special equipment: a food processor
notes: Be ginger when you’re spreading the caramel on the crust. It picks up the crumbs so easily. A palette knife is incredibly helpful.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup pretzel crumbs (a heaped handful blitzed in the food processor until fine)
3 tbsp natural sugar
2 tbsp spelt flour
1/4 cup + 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup pitted dates (as soft as you can get)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
pinch of salt
2 medium, ripe avocadoes, pitted and peeled
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used raw cacao for the deep, almost bitter chocolate taste)
1 tsp arrowroot
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 heaped cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir all of the ingredients together except the coconut oil to combine. Add the oil and mix until clumps begin to form. Press firmly into a 10 inch tart pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is firm. Set aside.
For the caramel: Place dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until dates are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain dates, saving the cooking water.
Place dates and remaining ingredients into food processor and pulse until a puree forms. Add date cooking water if necessary. Scrape caramel into baked and cooled tart shell and spread evenly.
For the mousse: Place everything except the melted chocolate into the food processor. Now’s the time to add some booze if you’re feeling up to it. Turn the processor onto high and puree until mixture is very smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and add melted chocolate. Turn to high again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Scrape mousse into tart shell on top of the caramel. Chill the tart for at least 1/2 an hour before serving. Garnish with chopped pretzels or a sprinkle of salt if you like.
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