Monday, 11 April 2011

Raw chocolate, orange & cinnamon mousse tart

This has got to be one of my all-time favourite desserts! It is based on a delicious mixture of fruits and nuts.It is sugar free (only naturally occurring sugars from the fruit), wheat / gluten free and dairy free so suitable for a wide range of diets. Even if you ate this for breakfast it would be 100 times healthier than the ‘standard’ cereal and toast breakfast! With Easter just around the corner you can enjoy this beautiful indulgence – completely guilt free!

I recently had the great pleasure of cooking a meal for ‘The international Celtic Women’s Ass’ while they were touring around Ireland. I made this tart and it was well received. This one’s for you Mary – enjoy!

1 large orange, zest and juice
1 cup pitted dried dates
1 cup cashew nuts (raw – not roasted, unsalted)
1 tsp. cinnamon

*Soak the dates in orange juice for ½ - 1 hour (this softens them and infuses them with a lovely orange flavour)
Strain the dates, keeping the juice.
Place the dates in a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped.
Add the nuts, cinnamon and ¾ of the zest. Blitz again until combined but still a little course, you want something similar to a cheesecake base rather than a puree. Add a few drops of the orange juice, but only just enough to bind the mixture.
Spread this mix in a sandwich tin or similar (I use silicon one as it comes out really easily when cut). Press down with back of a fork to make an even base. Put in the fridge until needed.

Mousse topping:
1 cup dates, soaked in very hot water ½ - 1 hour (*you can soak the 2 lots of dates, separately i.e. 1 lot in juice and 1 lot in water, at the same time to cut down on waiting)
1 large or 2 small avocados, (must be fully ripe)
1 banana
2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (if you don’t have this you can use unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Orange juice saved from soaking 1st lot of dates
Left over orange zest to garnish

Strain dates, discard soak water. Place in a food processer and blitz until as smooth as possible. You may have to stop and scrap down the bowl once or twice. (You can add a drop or 2 of juice to loosen mixture.)
Peel and dice avocado and banana and add to the processor with the cacao / cocoa and vanilla extract.
Add a little reserved orange juice. Blend well until you have a nice smooth puree. Add a little more juice if the mixture seems too thick but be careful not to make it too thin. You want a mousse like consistency.
Spread this mixture evenly over the base and refrigerate until needed.

Note: I find if you pop the tart in the freezer for an hour or so to firm up it is easier to cut into portions.
This amount makes 8 small portions but it is very rich so you only need a little!
Garnish with the reserved orange zest. I love to serve this with fresh raspberries when in season, or mixed frozen berries (thawed) or for real decadence with homemade coconut, mint & choc chip (and spinach!) ice cream – see my smoothie recipe for details.

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