Over the past few months, I’ve been looking for the perfect dairy-free treat that won’t be a substitute for ‘what-everyone-else-gets-to-eat’ and can entice everyone round the table. Dairy-free Chocolate Cardamom definitely fits the bill.
I initially tried the recipe with no adjustments, and it was tasty, but lacked a certain something. The full flavours of the chocolate didn’t really come out, and the texture lacked that definitive smoothness, that luxurious quality that forces people to use the word ‘silky’ as the only adequate description. All in all, it was good, but largely unforgettable. Yet there was something pestering me about the possibilities of a dairy-free chocolate tart – if only to produce something suitable for a lactose-intolerant diet that is just a bit special and showy. So, I made some alterations to the recipe.
Primarily I added cardamom, which brings a warm, clean spice which really brings out the depth of the dark chocolate. The cardamom also compliments the almond really well, neither flavour is over-powering, as I often find that too much of a flavour of almond can be too reminiscent of marzipan. The best thing about using the cardamom is that the chocolate is intensified without being palate-cloying, rather, it adds to the lightness and smoothness of the whole tart. I also added a tiny bit of ginger, but this was to add to the cardamom flavour rather than to bring out another flavour. If you don’t like cardamom, or if you really like ginger, then I think it would be worth experimenting with a ginger flavour with this tart – probably some dried ginger and a little bit of crystalised ginger?
The other change I made was to the process of making the filling. The original recipe melted chocolate soya milk with dairy-free chocolate in the microwave, and called for stirring in the ingredients. I went for heating in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water, and then whisking together, as I felt this would give me a bit more control over the whole process. I also ended up using a blender to make the ground almonds finer, which may seem a little bit obsessive, but I think it really helped with the texture of the tart.
Process-wise, it does require time to follow the various steps, especially as it requires making the pastry. I would normally suggest that you can buy pastry if you would prefer, but this stuff really does have to be made to suit the dairy-free requirement.
The changes were definitely worth it. The texture is light and gorgeously smooth, with the crisp pastry bringing the whole thing together. The cardamom-almond flavour is delicate enough not to overwhelm, but brings a sophisticated, interesting taste, making this an above average richly chocolate treat. Not only did S. enjoy the fact that he now had a pudding he could tuck into no problem, but lactose-tolerant friends also really enjoyed the treat – infact B. just sat there humming in delight and grinning madly over his slice. I’d say that’s a good sign that this might just become a regular make at the Apocalypse Bakery.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cardamom Tart
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
150g plain flour
50g olive oil spread – cold, straight from the fridge
1 tablespoon icing sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornflour
75g golden caster sugar
400ml alpro soya dairy-free alternative to milk, chocolate flavour
100g dairy-free dark chocolate, separated into 70g for the filling, 30g for crumbling on top. (larger supermarkets and health food shops sell it)
4 large eggs
75g ground almonds
3 cardamom pods (green)
¼ teaspoon ginger
1) For the pastry, sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl, adding small cubes of the cold olive oil spread. Then, either using a food processor or by hand, process/rub the mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. The method I prefer is to take a cold knife in each hand and cut through the mix in a scissor action.
2) Once the mix looks like small crumbs, add 3 tablespoons of cold water and process or bring together with a knife until it becomes a dough. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface, shape into a ball, and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3) Preheat the oven to 200C/ fan 180C/ gas 6.
4) Once the dough has chilled, unwrap onto floured surface and roll the pastry out thinly. Line a 23 cm deep, loose-bottomed fluted tart tin with the pastry, working it right up to the top of the tin. Either trim at the top, or work over the edge to form a slight lip.
5) Cover in baking paper and fill with baking beans. If you don’t have baking beans, rice does the trick well, as does a few spare coins – just something to prevent the pastry from rising too much in the oven.
6) Bake for 15 minutes, then take out, remove the baking paper and beans/rice/coins and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
7) Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4.
8) Put the cocoa, cornflour and sugar into a glass bowl. Gradually whisk in 200ml of the chocolate soya milk. Place bowl over pan of simmering water on a low heat for 3 minutes, and then add 70g of dark chocolate, stirring occasionally as it melts. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from heat.
9) This step is optional – grind the ground almonds so they are very fine – either in a coffee grinder (yes, clean out the coffee first!) or with some kind of mini-blender.
10) Take the three cardamom pods, remove the shell, and then grind – either with a pestle and mortar, or with the back of a spoon in a cup.
11) In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, the superfinely ground almonds, the cardamom and the ginger. Gradually pour in the remaining 200ml of chocolate soya milk and whisk well.
12) Pour the egg-almond-spices mix into the chocolate-sugar mix, and whisk well. Pour the whole mix into the pastry case.
13) Bake for 30 minutes. The whole thing should have just set, but should have a slight wobble in the centre. Allow to cool completely before serving.
14) Crumble the remaining chocolate on top, or use a potato peeler to make curls.