Thursday, 24 May 2012

A not even vegetarian vegan tart.

I am a staunch meat eater through and through. And, probably partly due to my job, i'm highly suspicious of new age faddy diet sort of stuff, like raw food diets.

So imagine my surprise when i found myself making a raw, vegan chocolate tart one evening.

What on earth happened there?! Well, I happened to have the TV on while i was doing an online food shop the other week, and it was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's vegetable programme that happened to be on at the time. In this episode, he went to visit a raw vegan food place, where a raw chocolate ganache tart was made. It actually seemed quite intriguing, and i was interested in how it would all work, and taste. Apparently, as no baking is going on, you don't have to be as exact about quantities, and a lot of the process involves senses rather than times etc. So, before I knew it, I had looked up the recipe and was buying all the ingredients I needed. I am a sucker for trying new types of foods and playing about with ingredients i've never heard of before. I mean, what on earth is agave nectar?

Well, I say all the ingredients. It turns out that Asda don't do coconut oil. Undeterred, I did a quick google scan to see what i could use as an equivalent. One website recommended a mixture of butter and lard, and in a few clicks it was ordered. I know I can hear you all screaming at me about using lard. I am a total ignorant philistine, and to be honest, it totally never even occurred to me that not only is it not vegan, IT'S NOT EVEN VEGETARIAN. What can I say, except for that I am a total and utter retard at times.

Making the tart was pretty easy. The base is a mixture of pecans and dates, whizzed together in a food processor until they turn into a nice pastry sort of texture. I think i may have whizzed them for a bit longer than i should have, as the pecans started to release oil. However, the "pastry" texture was still good, so i went ahead and pressed it into the tin. "What's this?" I thought, staring at my hands, which were covered in a delicious smelling sheen. "Why i appear to have made a lovely hand and nail oil as a side effect". The pecan oil was really moisturizing, and smelt lovely.

The hardest part of making the filling was that the only night i could make the tart was before the avocadoes had had a chance to ripen properly, so it was a bit of a struggle to prepare them. I was a bit worried that the texture of the filling was a bit too lumpy because of the unripe avocadoes, but it turned out that this didn't make a difference in the finished product.

Licking the spoon after putting the filling totally blew me away. I was expecting a bland, blah sort of a taste, but it was rich, creamy and very delicious- a total show stopper. Into the fridge it went, where it sat there overnight awaiting its fate at my workplace the next day.

After I unwrapped it, and undid the springform tin, my cynical head said that the whole thing would fall apart into a raw, anemic mush. However, it held it's own and stood proudly and chocolatey. It sliced beautifully.

Everyone at work was eager to have a try, and the feedback was really positive. We decided that the base was rather too salty, so i would reduce the amounts in the recipe (I didn't used pink himalayan salt either). Everyone loved it except for the poor vegetarians, who i emailled in a flurry of excitement, before they calmky enquired about whether the lard included was vegetarian lard. I felt absolutely terrible- after all i had metaphoically just dangled a (very tasty, very chocolatey tart shaped) carrot in their faces and then snatched it away from them at the last minute.

Will definitely be trying this again. you can find the recipe here.

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