I had big plans for my Valentines Day recipe. I was going to make something rich, indulgent and totally unique. Then life came along and I found myself in the suburbs yesterday helping my grandparents grocery shop…only to return home to my own empty cupboards. And so went my best laid plans….
Still, I was committed to making something delicious for myself and the special people in my life to wake up to tomorrow. So I improvised. I used what I had on hand, in the quantities I had on hand. A few squares of dark chocolate, a bit of flour, a little coconut oil and some of this sweet, decadant hazelnut butter made locally on Manitoulin Island. And low and behold, I ended up creating something that was a little bit…great.
The crust in this recipe is quite basic. But it’s dairy free, simple & has the taste and flaky texture of toasty pie crust edges if that makes sense to you. The hazelnut & chocolate layers are smooth and satisfying and taste like the love child of a ferrero rocher and a boston cream doughnut.
So even though the result wasn’t anything like I’d expected or planned, I made it work and happened upon something quite lovely and special. And since we’re on the sappy Valentine’s theme, wouldn’t you say this same principle applies to your very best relationships? I’ve loved some truly lovely, truly special people in my life and none of them were anything like I could have predicted but I’m all the better for knowing them.
Rustic Chocolate Hazelnut Tartelettes
For the crust
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 3/4 cup spelt flour (or white flour)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp ice cold water
- 1.5 tbsp sucanat
- pinch of salt
- Mix flour with COLD coconut oil, using your fingers or a fork to mash until crumbly.
- Add in sugar, salt and ice water 1 tbsp at a time. Adjust water/flour combination if necessary until dough is dense but rolls easily.
- Separate dough into 4 parts. Use your hands to roll each section into a ball then use a rolling pin or saran wrap covered wine bottle to flatten out dough. I did this on a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Transfer rolled out dough into well greased muffin cups, removing excess dough around the edges. If you want, go around the edges of each pastry cup with a fork to give the edges that “ribbed” look. Repeat with the other 3 tart shells.
For the filling
- 1.5 tbsp hazelnut butter (peanut butter would be delicious substitution, I’m sure)
- 1 tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2.5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 squares dark chocolate (1/4 dark chocolate bar)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp sucanat
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2tbsp water
- In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of almond milk to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Stir in nut butter and honey and stir until melted.
- Combine cornstarch and water and add to milk mixture, stirring vigorously for about a minute until thick. Taste and adjust sweetener to taste (I used a sweetened nut butter so you may require a bit more).
- Pour into pastry cups, filling about 2/3 of the way.
- Back in the sauce pan, add another 1/2 cup almond milk and melt in dark chocolate and sucanat. Mix cornstarch and water then add to pot, stirring vigorously for about a minute or until thick.
- Top hazelnut filling with chocolate sauce, leaving at least 1 inch of room at the top of each pastry cup.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until pastry has browned and filling is set.
Yields 4 large tarts or 8 mini tarts.
I’d love to hear some of your favourite unexpected success stories in love, life or baking!