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.
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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