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little chocolate tarts + the simplest olive oil pastry

Any expanded thoughts or musings on my week that I could offer you today would just be a heap of slashed clippings, loose (+ heavily frayed) threads, scratches on paper napkins, and trailed-off sentences with space-y eyes. Notes from the heap: how is it possible that #humblebrags continue to rise out of the lower regions of the online/spilling-into-real-life world? Cut that out, internet. An introduction to Let Me Google That For You a couple weeks ago has led to much temptation in the contact form submission/questions area of managing this site (side note: if you email me a question, I promise I won’t be a demonstrative POS). My dependence on a computer for a majority of my work/communication is kind of weighing on me lately. It’s a machine that executes repetitive sequences of all types with zero variation. When I think of the greatness of life, I see waves of moments that surely intersect (sometimes serendipitously), but never fully repeat with exactitude. Technological devices have been temporarily sucking the existential magic out of things for me I guess (fully realize that I’ll change my mind on this in like, 2 minutes). Anything described as “charming” is just a write off in general. Oh and! I’m still reeling from the amount of money I spent on some mediocre sandwiches over the weekend.

It’s not all bad though. The blood orange soda I got with my crummy sandwich was lovely, this site/movement of no-fucks-given is just the thing for me in this particular spot in time, I got my hair whipped around by some wild lake breezes the other day and dang if Leo isn’t still the dreamiest ever in Gatsby, AMIRIGHT?! (I’m right) Oh yeah, and this little thing that’s happening.

ANYWAY. In the interest of getting out of my own mind a bit, I made you some tarts with chocolate ganache-y good stuff. I had a college externship at a place that made these too-cool chocolate terrines with a nut and date core all running through them. Slices of it would get plated up with some cashew-based chocolate + orange ice cream and beautiful slices and spirals of fresh fruit. This mousse/ganache-ish filling is a riff on that terrine base. There’s plenty of avocado chocolate mousse recipes out there, but I love this one for the sheer amount of melted chocolate. Versions of it with cocoa powder are great, but this one rules. Trust. The first time I was tasked with making it at the restaurant, I had blitzed up the ripe avocado with vanilla and whiskey into a smooth paste. Then came the point in the prep where I would just drizzle the melted chocolate into the feed tube of a food processor while the motor ran. As I was doing this, the chef/owner kept telling me over my shoulder “More chocolate, more chocolate, more, more. You want it so thick with chocolate that the thing can’t even move.” Obviously this stuff is rich, delicious, deep, dark and perfect.

And this pastry is officially my go-to for sweet + savouries right now. Wrestling with cold coconut oil is kind of frustrating sometimes and I’m not terribly into the flavour of most non-dairy butter substitutes. This olive oil-focused tactic from The New York Times just needs some stirring (ie no cutting in of cold fat), a small pulling together with the hands and it’s good to go after a little rest. It’s highly forgiving, non-fussy, a breeze to roll out and delightfully crisp. It’s my fave and I want it to be yours too. I’ve tried it with a bunch of different whole grain flours (rye, spelt, wholewheat,  buckwheat, millet), in sweet and savoury versions and it’s perfect every time. Bake up the tarts, slap the ganache in and oh yeah, there’s coconut whip on top. Everything is kind of looking up I think :)

PS! I have a guest post at the wonderful A Couple Cooks blog this week as well. Sonja and Alex have started an excellent series called Healthy + Whole that focuses on accessible and wholesome recipes with real ingredients, overcoming fear/intimidation in the kitchen, and reconnecting with the earth that provides for us. Plus they are really lovely people to boot. You can see the post here.

little chocolate tarts w/ simple olive oil pastry + coconut cream
pastry lightly adapted from The New York Times/Martha Rose Shulman (PS: there’s some gluten free instruction there too)
serves: makes 8 if you re-roll the pastry scraps (or 6 with leftover chocolate ganache)
notes: I stayed simple with mine, but orange zest, various types of booze, almond extract, orange blossom water or ginger would all make nice additions to the filling.

pastry ingredients:
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp/100g whole spelt flour
1/2 cup/55g light spelt flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp granulated sweetener (coconut/maple sugar, evaporated cane)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice (or white wine/white balsamic vinegar in a pinch)

chocolate ganache ingredients:
1 medium-large sized ripe avocado, peeled + pitted
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want this)
2 tsp vanilla extract
faintest pinch of ground cinnamon (mostly to boost the flavour of the chocolate)
tiny pinch of sea salt

coconut whip ingredients:
1 can of full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen’s Organic + Whole Foods 365 brand are my faves), refrigerated for 24+ hours
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 6-8 muffin cups with olive oil, spray oil etc and set aside.

Make the pastry: Combine the flours, salt and sweetener in a large bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and stir into the dry ingredients until uniform little clumps appear throughout the mix. Add the water and lemon juice. Stir until the pastry starts to come together. Dump it out onto a floured surface and bring the pastry together with your hands. It should feel lightly moist (not not tacky), elastic and giving. Shape it into a disc, wrap with saran and store in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.

After it’s rested, remove the dough from the fridge and flour a working surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to 1/4-1/3 inch-ish thickness. Using a 3 1/2 – 4 inch circular cutter, punch out circles of dough. I punched out 4 on the first go, pieces together the remaining pieces jigsaw puzzle-style and re-punched more circles and it all worked out. Gently fit them into the greased muffin cups, crimping/creasing them if you need to. Prick the bottoms of the crusts with a fork. Place some little squares of parchment on top and weigh them down with dry beans/pie weights. Bake the crusts like this for about 10 minutes or until you notice little brown edges on the tops. Remove the papers/dry beans and bake for another 5 minutes, or until crusts are fully golden brown. Allow crusts to cool before filling.

Make the ganache: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, melted chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Pulse the mix a few times to get it going. Then flip it to high until the mix is completely incorporated, thick and creamy. Set aside until ready to use. It will harden considerably if you store it in the fridge, so keeping it covered on the countertop is fine.

Make the coconut whip: Open the can of coconut milk and extract the solid mass of coconut cream from the top of the can (and only the solid mass). The leftover milky water is a nice addition to a smoothie. Put the solid coconut cream into a medium bowl. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat everything together with a hand mixer on high for a minute or so, or until you’ve achieved an airy whipped-cream-ish result. Store this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Assemble the tarts: Fill the shells with chocolate ganache, top with dollops of coconut whip and garnish with chopped almonds, cocoa powder dustings etc.

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Kathryn15/05/2013 - 5:45 am

I’m a little obsessed with olive oil pastry at the moment; I love how versatile and how tasty it is and it’s such a great combo with that rich chocolate filling. Love these.

hungryandfrozen15/05/2013 - 5:49 am

Oh, I love the sound of this pastry. I know what you mean about non-dairy butter substitutes. Meh. I always have olive oil handy, so I like knowing I could just make this any old time. Totally feeling you with the pile of trailing-off sentences and fragments and so on, but I think you pulled together something pretty beautiful here. (Also: boooourns about overpriced disappointing sandwiches) (Also, also: coveting that white plate!)

I love the pictures. It was hard to stop looking and start reading :) I like that it’s vegan and that it’s so pretty.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar15/05/2013 - 7:29 am

That pastry looks soooo fabulous!! Love!

Winnie15/05/2013 - 8:26 am

You crack me up and I LOVE these tarts. LOVE!!!

sarah15/05/2013 - 8:33 am

Ooh, lovely. I make a very buttery-spelty-heavy-creamy version of these, but I’m going to have to try yours out, as we are slowly working on eating better (again. it’s a work in progress). And, I’ve never made an avocado-chocolate concoction that tasted well, so I’m excited to try yours! I trust you. :)

Natasha15/05/2013 - 8:58 am

This is perfect! I have actually been looking for an olive oil tart crust. I saw that one in the NY Times but hadn’t given it a shot yet. Happy to hear it works out well! These look absolutely wonderful.

Julia15/05/2013 - 9:52 am

ok, i totally feel your pain.. and then you come out of the darkness + back into the light with this dessert!!?? smashingly brilliant. can’t wait to try it. also can’t wait to see gatsby. just saying.

Claire15/05/2013 - 10:51 am

Daft Punk really is making everything better. Power through, you can do it!
<3

Elizabeth15/05/2013 - 11:04 am

I have some strawberries languishing on the counter and was dreaming of some kind of olive oil crust to make for them, and then today – this beautiful post is just what I was looking for, except I didn’t even have to look. I’m also pretty tempted by this chocolate situation happening. And yeah, these internets are so full of highs and lows, I too feel the magic being sucked away.

Fresh and Foodie15/05/2013 - 11:48 am

I’m in love with these! And the thought of using avocado in a chocolate ganache is blowing my mind — but in a good way.

Karen15/05/2013 - 12:14 pm

You and this blog are magical. Thoughtful, smart and on point, you are raising this medium to a higher plane. Thank you for what is clearly a work directly from your heart. And ps: these tarts are insane. Yum.

Izy15/05/2013 - 12:52 pm

WOAH olive oil pastry! That sounds incredible!!! mmm, with that super mega chocolatey avocado ganache too; heavennnnn and so gorgeous! I’m always frustrated when people ask me questions where all they have to do is TYPE IT INTO GOOGLE to get an answer; so thank you for showing me LMGTFY, it appeals to the passive aggressive side of me hahaha

Eileen15/05/2013 - 2:32 pm

Such pretty tiny tarts! I’ve never made a pastry with olive oil–super interesting.

Kathryne15/05/2013 - 5:25 pm

Oh man, I love your ramblings. Glad I’m not the only one whose mind has been all over the place lately. This recipe sounds fantastic and I am eager to try out this olive oil pastry dough. I hate cutting butter into flour (lazy!) but I’m already imagining the uses for your way. Last, your photos! Amazing!

Jeanine15/05/2013 - 5:53 pm

These look amazing! So so gorgeous.

ha – “Let me google that for you” – I hadn’t seen that, too funny.

Jacqui15/05/2013 - 8:56 pm

Oh dang! I just want to gobble these up! I love a good oil pastry too, so much less of a pain to work with.

Sara16/05/2013 - 12:19 am

HellO Laura!

I adore your wonderful, beautiful food as well as your ever-entertaining banter. I’ve been making a version of your asparagus and ramp soup (with leeks instead of ramps and cauliflower instead of potato, with the added step of roasting all the veg first…) and it is to die for. Thank you for the inspiration!

This recipe looks fantastic–my only concern is the whole avocado business. I’ve attempted several raw desserts/smoothies using avocado and chocolate, and I always find that the avocado flavor overpowers all other flavors, even bittersweet cacao powder! Perhaps this recipe is different because it uses a large amount of real chocolate–but could you perhaps vouch for the non-avocado-y-ness of these tarts? Because I would really love to love them!

Thank you ever so much!
Sara

Laura Wright17/05/2013 - 8:10 am

Hey Sara! Thanks for your lovely note. Glad you’re enjoying the asparagus soup too :)

As for the avocado-y-ness of this recipe. I have to say that the large amount of melted chocolate helps quite a bit. I know what you mean though. Sometimes it can taste pretty vegetable-ish. I use quite a bit of vanilla here to cover that up and if you decide to add a shot of whiskey or Grand Marnier or something, that only serves it further. I think the key is using a chocolate that you really, really love here. I used the vegan chocolate chunks from whole foods because the taste is pretty stellar, but I’ve also made it with dark chocolate caletts from Callebaut and it was unreal. Anyway, just my two cents there. I think it’s worth a try because well, anything with chocolate is worth a try in a general sense :)

Best,
Laura

Shira17/05/2013 - 9:00 pm

Gorgeous little tarts to start the long weekend right! That pastry looks too yummy. Lovely, lovely way to end the week. Thanks Laura!xo

[...] thanks, Angharad, for pointing out Farmhouse Table.  The original hipsters. I love Laura’s little chocolate tarts. I also love John Krasinski. I hope to be this awesome.  Interviews with Kyle? I can’t stop [...]

Foods4Health19/05/2013 - 5:43 pm

Great, never heard of an olive oil pastry but after checking out this recipe and looking at the pictures, I will certainly be giving this a try :). Thanks for posting this recipe in an easy to follow way and such a great write up.

What camera are you using for these pictures. The quality is astounding and you certainly have a knack for finding the right lighting and angle. Thanks for all that you do and all of your work :). Glad to have found your site and look forward to learning more!

Laura Wright20/05/2013 - 8:33 am

Hello!
I am using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II for the body and for these shots I used a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L Lens. I mostly shoot outside and process the photos in Lightroom + Photoshop.
-L

Lindsey20/05/2013 - 3:15 pm

i’ve been meaning to try chocolate avocado mousse. awesome idea to put it into a little tart, thanks for the great idea!

I just love little desserts! Yours are so pretty. I made some spelt shortbread crusts recently, looking forward to trying your spelt crust next.

Happy Memorial Day!24/05/2013 - 7:04 am

[...] Individual Chocolate Tarts in an Olive Oil Pastry Crust [...]

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