So, this is one of the cookbooks where I love the back story behind it as much as I do the cookbook. Private Chef, Alan Roettinger had done a previous book for Book Publishing Company. At the time, he wasn’t vegan, or even a vegetarian for that matter. But he wrote this vegetarian cookbook called “Omega 3 Cuisine.” It had good success, so Book Publishing Company asked him to write a second book, a vegan one this time. “Speed Vegan”
Somewhere along the line Alan mentioned in his writing of this book that the recipes were kind of “accidentally vegan” but were still good. [I’m paraphrasing here]. Book Publishing Company, a company that only publishes vegan and vegetarian cookbooks took issue with this and explained to Mr. Roettinger that their readers would too. They wanted him to understand that vegans and vegetarians think food without cruelty is delicious in its own right, and not that it’s some sort of mediocre substitute for an animal product based meal.
Around that period in time Alan went to the Dr. for his yearly physical. He had high blood pressure. His cholesterol was through the roof and he was tired all the time and overweight. His Dr. suggested that Alan should go on statin medications. Alan replied with something to this effect [paraphrasing again] “Naw, I’m going to go vegan.” I’ll check back with you in a few months and we can look at my results.”
As you can probably guess, Alan never did need those statin medications. He dropped his extra weight, as well as his cholesterol and the blood pressure. He’s 100% vegan now and he’s never looked back. Today he’s creating Extraordinary Vegan meals where plants are the star of the show and loving it.
He served this beautiful tart at his birthday dinner the first year he was vegan. His guests were wondering how he could make a delicious birthday cake without eggs, cream or butter. I’m pretty sure this showed them that those things are completely unneccessary.
Chocolate Raspberry Tart
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground or chopped raw almonds
- 1/2 cup palm sugar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
- 4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons framboise eau de vie or raspberry liqueur
Topping and Glaze:
- 2 pints fresh raspberries (I used cherries)
- 3/4 cup fruit-juice-sweetened raspberry jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, combine the almonds, sugar and oil in a medium bowl and work with your fingers to form a thick, crumbly paste. Press into and 8-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use a one-cup measuring cup or similar small container to press and form an even inside edge. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. The crust will be puffy and slightly misshapen. Press the crust gently back into shape with the measuring cup. Return to the oven and bake for 7 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely before proceeding.
To make the chocolate filling, put the chocolate into a blender. Put the coconut milk into a small sauce pan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to bubble around the edge, remove from the heat. Count 10 seconds and then pour over the chocolate in the blender. Add the liqueur and process until very smooth.
Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the cooled crust. It should come about halfway up the inner side of the shell. Spread it out evenly, taking care not to get any on the rim.
Starting from the rim of the tart, arrange half of the raspberries in tight concentric circles over the filling. pushing the berries down slightly so they touch the bottom. End with one raspberry in the center. Pour the remaining chocolate mixture over them, filling in spaces between the raspberry tops and covering them completely. Take car not to drip any filling on the rim. Layer the remaining raspberries on top of the chocolate. again in concentric circles, but don’t press them down. Refrigerate the tart until the filling is firm, 2-4 hours.
To make the glaze, put the jam in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it melts. It should be fairly thick, but runny enough to apply with a pastry brush. Pour through a strainer to remove any raspberry seeds, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. Using a pastry brush, very gently brush the melted jam over the raspberries, allowing a little of the excess to drip down between them and cover the filling underneath. When the entire surface of the raspberries is coated, set the tart aside for at least 10 minutes to let the glaze congeal.
To serve, hold the tart pan rim with one hand and push up gently on the bottom with the other hand to release the tart. Set the rim portion aside. Slip a knife very carefully between the tart shell and the bottom of the mold. work the knife gently around until the tart comes away from the mold. Set the tart down on a cutting board and cut it with a hot, dry knife. bracing the rim with one finger on either side of the knife to keep the tart shell intact. Slide the knife under the cut portion and gently lift it out. Put the slice on a dessert plate. Repeat as needed. Serve at once.
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