pistachio + chocolate + pudding, everything encased in a glutenfree cocoa crust. and the whole thing is vegan and refined sugar free. and has a secret ingredient, but shh!
first thing first, i’ve attempted to bake something without gluten just once, freaking out to the thought of having no protein to build up the right structure. i had the pitiful idea to bring cake to a classmates potluck kind of thing, and i wanted everyone to be able to enjoy a piece – so since there were a coeliac guy and another who was lactose intolerant i decided to bake a glutenfree and lactose free crostata.
of course i spent the whole prep and baking time whining with my flatmates about my stupid decision and thinking about all the possible gluten contamination caused by the twice washed tools I was using – or should I say, boiled tools. yes i used the hottest water my poor hands could stand in attempt to get rid of any single bit of stuff glued on everything that was about to touch my glutenfree dough.
that first attempt was one thing. this one is another.
it is vegan, so no eggs allowed. no gluten and no egg, how the heck will this poor thing hold together i thought. it’s gonna crumble under my fingers. and if it does sticks together for some reason, it’s gonna taste bland or cardboard-like. i’m not for glutenfree baking.
these were my thought as i proceeded to weigh out brown rice flour, almond flour and cocoa powder, rubbing the two together with coconut oil and maple syrup using a fork. i added a few spoonfuls of cold soy milk (hey lecithin!) and with little to no hope i pinched a bit of sand-like dough between my fingers. it actually held together!
rubbing or cutting the fat into the flour is a technique that’s especially useful in regular baking, as the fat coats the powders and prevents gluten to form a tough chain, that would yield a denser and tougher crust. this way you should achieve a crumblier texture. using a fork is less messy than rubbing stuff with your hands, and also prevents the dough to overheat as you work it. remember – shortcrust pastry doesn’t like heat!
keeping in mind the disastrous result that an extra splash of liquid did to one of my tart dough attempts, i added one more spoonful of milk and started kneading the mix by hand until a ball formed under my skeptical eyes. I wrapped it in cling film and left it to rest in the fridge while i cleaned up the counter.
to be on the safe side i decided not to roll the dough out as i would’ve done if it had been a regular tart dough. it just gets pressed down into the tart tin or, if you have a fancy ring like this one, you can roll out a portion for the bottom to ensure an even eight, cut it using the ring itself and build the sides using the pressing technique.
if you’re wondering what that fancy perforated piece of equipment does, it basically allows air to circulate better and thus ensures a more even cooking for your baked goods. did you ever notice the little dots on the outside of a patisserie tart? they’re the stamp that fancy gadget produces on the dough. of course using a perforated tart ring isn’t crucial for this recipe. you can use a 20cm springform pan and bake up a perfect tart shell nonetheless!
my shell cracked a bit as you can see, but nothing irreparable. the luscious pudding poured on top fixed everything up to perfection 😉 and still a better result than i expected.
you could blind-bake it properly, or pierce the surface with a fork and call it a day. i went for the latter as i had no baking beans, and because i wanted to make sure that my crust was fully exposed to heat to ensure that all the ammonia smell was gone by the end of cooking time.
to fill the baked shell i went for a custard-like chocolate pudding (here’s where the secret ingredient comes into play!), enriched by a few spoonfuls of some luscious roasted pistachio butter my boyfriend gifted me around christmas time; the cake gets finished off with a sprinkle of quick caramelised pistachio bits and is ready to be enjoyed after a good rest in the fridge.
all in all, my favorite part of this whole dessert happens to be the crust and the caramelised pistachios/brittle: crunchy, a little sweet and a little bitter, they tick all the boxes for me!
the custard/pudding filling magically turns into an airy mousse after a good day’s rest, especially if you blend it on high for quite a bit. see all the pretty bubbles?
the prolonged rest also ensures that all the flavors melt into each others and helps the crust to soften up a bit, giving you a silky and luscious dessert that’s very hard to resist!
please note that even though the tart is vegan and refined sugar free, thus being healthier than a regular butter and white sugar based tart, it is made with calorie-dense and high fat ingredients such as almond flour, coconut oil and pistachio butter, so it’s meant to be enjoyed in moderation. it’s perfect a special occasion, for instance – wouldn’t you serve this on your easter potluck table? 😉
hope you’ll enjoy this recipe, and if you bake your own version please share it with me, so I can see how beautiful it is!
tag me on insta @_chiarabones_ and #mynakedeats, or follow me on bloglovin’ 🙂
lots of love,
a vegan, glutenfree and refined sugar free dessert that layers a crumbly cocoa crust, silky and indulgent custard where pistachio and cocoa complement each other and a quick pistachio brittle that acts as a garnish.
- 130 g brown rice flour
- 20 g cornstarch
- 50 g almond flour
- 10 g dutch processed cocoa powder
- 40 g maple syrup
- 3 to 4 spoonfuls soy milk, cold as needed
- 40 g coconut oil, solid
- 2 g baker's ammonia
- 1 package silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
- 50 g pistachio butter
- 20 g dutch processed cocoa powder
- 50 g maple syrup
- 3 g agar-agar powder
- 30 g pistachios, shelled
- 1 spoonful maple syrup
start by making the crust. weigh out and sift brown rice flour, cornstarch, almond flour, dutch processed cocoa powder and bakers ammonia in a mixing bowl.
add coconut oil and cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand. you can use a fork for this. ideally coconut oil should have a thick but not hard consistency, almost like a paste. don't use liquid coconut oil.
add maple syrup and cut that into the mixture as well until combined; the mixture will form larger clumps but won't hold together just yet.
add cold soy milk little by little and gather the dough together using your hands. you want to be extra careful for this step, because an extra drop of liquid will ruin the texture of the tart shell. I ended up using about four spoonfuls of cold milk.
shape the dough into a ball, cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for one hour minimum. you want the dough ball to be pliable but not sticky. it is totally okay if it crumbles - just press it together again.
preheat your oven to 180 C and split the dough in two: 1/3 for the sides and 2/3 for the bottom.
place a piece of baking paper on a baking sheet and roll out the bottom part about 5mm thick onto that. you want it to be slightly bigger than the tart ring, so you'll cut the dough using the ring itself. then build up the sides pressing bits of the remaining dough onto the ring sides, making sure they stick to the bottom sheet of dough.
pierce the tart shell all around with a fork and blind bake for 30 minutes. if you used baker's ammonia you want to make sure that the smell fully dissolves, baking the crust 5 to 10 more minutes if needed. remove from the oven and let cool fully. the baked crust will feel tough.
roughly chop the pistachios.
heat up a non-stick skillet and toast the nuts for 2 to 3 minutes. add a touch of maple syrup and stir to coat the nuts evenly. cook until the syrup dissolves. remove from the heat and let cool on a piece of parchment paper.
in a blender add the whole package of silken tofu, pistachio butter, dutch processed cocoa powder, maple syrup and agar-agar powder. blitz on high to combine. if you're after a mousse-like consistency, process the filling for a few more seconds (about 30 to 60).
pour the mixture in a pot and bring to a steady simmer, stirring constantly with a whisk. cook for 5 minutes. this will activate the agar-agar.
pour the filling into the tart shell, smooth out the top and place in the fridge to cool. when the top is just set sprinkle over the pistachio brittle and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
this cake is best consumed the next day. store any leftover in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to three days.
i usually store coconut oil in my pantry during winter months, because i live in an area where winter is pretty cold so it keeps well without turning as hard as it would in the fridge. if your kitchen is particularly warm tho, you may want to stick the jar in the fridge for a bit so it has the consistency of a very thick and solid paste - without being rock solid.
to baker's ammonia is typically used in store-bought baked goods, as it gives a better structure and helps to keep them fresher ad crumblier for longer. although it has a strong ammonia smell it's safe to be eaten. the smell will eventually bake off with longer baking time. if you don't bake it long enough or use it for a denser good the finished product will have a bitter aftertaste - that's why you shouldn't use it for cakes.
you can substitute baker's ammonia with a pinch of baking powder.
if you can't find pistachio butter you can easily make your own: roast 200gr shelled pistachios for 5-10 minutes in a 180 C preheated oven, let them cool a bit. blend roasted pistachios in a food processor/high-speed blender until fully pureed, depending on your food processor's strength it can take up to 20 minutes. scrape down the sides and pause every now and then to prevent the machine from overheating.
the cake gets better on its second day, as all the flavors melt into each other and the crust softens to perfection.