02 / 11 / 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Tartes

by Rhona Kamar

chocolate tartes10Tartes are sexy. Imagine a restaurant named Tarte where every dish was presented as a precious little round pie with beautiful garnishes on top. The décor would be moody; the food sensual, but cute.

These chocolate raspberry tartes are exceptionally sexy, full of ingredients with potentially arousing properties. Raw cacao is the purest form of chocolate, the food of the Gods and can be found on every list of Aphrodisiacs in the world. It has compounds that dramatically affect the pleasure centers in the brain. It makes us feel good. Really good. Maca is another ingredient here with super food status, and is also thought to increase the libido in both men and women.

Coconuts are known for boosting the metabolism and increasing energy. And raw, extra virgin coconut oil is as delicious on the skin as in cooking. The almonds have Vitamin E, another libido booster.Honey is the nectar of the Gods, with boron, a testosterone enhancer. Strict vegans can substitute raw agave or even maple syrup.

The pairing of chocolate and raspberry is old school romantic. A classic partnership. A bit of rosewater added to the raspberry coulis intentionally amps up the romance, and the bouquet.

With mostly raw ingredients, these Tartes are quick to assemble. The base can be used in countless ways. Roll the dough into truffles and coat with raw coconut or crushed cacao nibs or nuts or sifted cacao powder mixed with fragrant spices. And so on. The dough can also be pressed into a baking dish and presented in little squares, like dense brownies or fudge.

Or use a large spring-form pan and make one big Tarte, to share with a group of really good friends.

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Note on Almond Flour
Thanks to a law passed in 2007, it’s not always easy to find raw almonds in the United States these days. Most of what you will find are imported. Read labels carefully. Almonds may still be labeled raw, but have been pasteurized by various methods, including chemically. Finding raw almond flour is almost impossible. Look for raw and organic if you are determined to make your own flour. We will explore that technique in the future.

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Note on Agave
There is currently a lot of controversy around agave, which is the sap of the same plant from which we get the lovely spirit, tequila. Agave allies like its supposed low glycemic levels. Opponents say it’s no better than high fructose corn syrup. Always use it in moderation (here it’s less than a tablespoon per tarte) and always choose raw and organic; that means minimal and chemical free processing.

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Note on Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees so it’s typically solid at room temperature. For this purpose, you want it to be solid – a stark, creamy white. If your kitchen is hot and the oil is loose, stick in the refrigerator for about ten minutes or so to firm up.

 

TECHNIQUE

Chocolate Raspberry Tartes
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla seeds or extract
2/3 cup raw shredded coconut (macaroon cut)
1 and 1/3 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon maca, optional
1/4 cup raw organic agave
1/4 cup raw organic coconut oil

6 four inch quiche pans with removable bottoms
You can find these at amazon.com, Williams and Sonoma and several other on-line sources.

1 As always, it’s wise to mix the dry ingredients well before adding the wet. So start with the first five. Use a whisk to bring everything together and break up clumps. Note that the Maca is optional. If you leave it out, no need to add more of another ingredient. If you use vanilla extract instead of seeds, put it in with the wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix the agave and coconut oil together. And vanilla extract if you are using it.

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2 Now, introduce the wet and dry ingredients to each other and start working them together, ideally, with your hands. You can use good manners and plastic gloves for this part, if you want. Knead the mixture until the dough feels malleable and is coming together into a shiny, dark ball.

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Divide the mixture into six golf-ball sized portions. That is if you are using the six, 4 inch Quiche pans per this recipe. Otherwise, adjust accordingly.

3 Into each little pan, begin pressing one of the balls down until the dough is an even level, about one quarter of an inch all over. Then begin making a small well in the center to accommodate the raspberry coulis. Press from the center outwards and create about an eighth of an inch border all around. When that looks good, gently tap on each flute of the pan to even out all of the edges.

Finish all of them and into the refrigerator they go to solidify for flawless removal from the little molds. They should be good within 15 minutes or so.

In the meantime….

Raspberry Coulis
One Half cup of fresh raspberries
One quarter cup of raw honey, or raw agave or maple syrup
One teaspoon of Rosewater, optional but amazing

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4 Using a small food processor or hand processor, puree the three ingredients together until they become liquid. Taste the coulis and decide if you want more sweetener. If the raspberries are too tart, add a little more sweetener. Or add some more rosewater if it thrills you.

Press the raspberry through a fine mesh strainer for a smooth puree.

5 Strain the coulis through a fine strainer to remove the seeds. If you love raspberry seeds, you can skip this step.

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6 By the time the coulis is finished, the Tartes should be ready to take out of the refrigerator. Using a small paring knife or a small flat skewer, gently press down into each flute of the tarte pan or run the knife around the edge of a smooth rimmed pan, if that’s what you are using. Gently push the pie from the bottom out and set the frame aside.

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7 Carefully turn the tarte over and with a thin sharp knife, begin loosening the metal bottom away. Slide the knife under it and turn the tarte as you feel the two separate from each other.

Line the tartes onto a serving platter or individual plates. It’s important to handle them with care from this point until service. The coconut oil will start to loosen and they can fall apart. Once they are placed on a serving plate and garnished with the sauce and raspberries, leave them in the refrigerator until about ten minutes before you serve them.

8 Slowly pour the raspberry coulis into each Tarte. Take care not to overfill them. The fresh raspberry garnish will push the coulis over the sides if they are too full.

9 As for the fresh raspberries on top, be creative. You can put a few in the center, leaving a circle of the beautiful dark pink sauce exposed, or you can cover the whole Tarte with the raspberries. It’s your show!

 

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