I spent several months my final year of college doing the morning baking at a friend’s little French cafe in Savannah. It was the perfect job for me. I love being up in the early morning, I love being by myself in the kitchen with just a hot oven and not-too-loud music, and I LOVE to bake. After that little job in Savannah, I spent about 6 months baking for a coffee shop in Colorado, and the owner DID NOT EVEN PAY ME. And I baked anyway. That’s how much I love baking. I do it for free.
Diet restrictions put a serious damper on what I’m able to bake these days. Allergen-free baking is a bit bleak. This recipe, though, has thrilled me time and again. And it gets bonus points for not even tasting allergen free, which means that everyone will enjoy it.
I call it mostly allergen-free because it does have almonds in it, which would be problematic for anyone with a tree nut allergy. But, if you’re only avoiding peanuts (or not avoiding nuts at all) you’re good to go.
It also falls short of allergen-free because I recommend making it with the eggs. You can certainly use egg replacer instead of the eggs, and I make it that way when it’s just for me, but what you end up with is a dessert that will only taste good to someone who has been avoiding eggs and gluten and dairy and soy and peanuts for the past two years. Unfortunately, that is not the majority of people in my house or in this country. So, I’m leaving the eggs in the recipe. If anyone finds a suitable replacement that doesn’t compromise the texture, please share.
I substitute almond flour in this recipe for the all purpose flour. I’m crazy about almond flour as a gluten-free baking alternative. It doesn’t just replace the wheat with some refined and nutritionally void gluten free flour. Junk food is junk food, even if it’s gluten free. What you use instead is a very finely ground almond meal, rich in protein and low in sugar. Elena Amsterdam has the best almond flour recipes. If you’re interested in cooking with almond flour, visit her here (and buy her fabulous cookbooks!). You can read more about almond flour and find sources for purchasing here.
Oh, and don’t let the double boiler in the recipe intimidate you. Seriously, this requires no special skills or equipment. I insert a metal bowl into a small-ish saucepan with some boiling water in it. It works great. (See photo below, showing exactly how easy this is.)
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Source: adapted from Cooking Light magazine
- 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 6 tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free shortening or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup almond meal flour
- 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set oven rack to lowest third of oven.
- Grease a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with a little coconut oil or shortening. Sprinkle almonds in the pan.
- Combine chocolate and shortening/coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.
- Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine almond flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Place eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes, or until thick and pale. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at medium speed 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add agave and vanilla; beat on low speed 1 minute or until blended. Add chocolate mixture; beat 1 minute or until blended. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until combined.
- Pour batter over nuts into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake in the lower third of oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool tart in pan 20 minutes on a wire rack. Invert tart onto serving platter.
* This recipe is being shared over at Cybele Pascal’s blog. Click on over for lots of other allergen-friendly recipes.