With the holiday season ahead, you'll be delighted to impress guests with this stunning Chocolate Tart. A decadently rich and silky chocolate ganache filling nestles in a nutty crust with the goodness of oats, hazelnuts, and the sweet natural caramel flavour of fresh Medjool dates. It's a winning combination - and your guests don't need to know how easy it is to make! (Skip to recipe.)
Thanks to Natural Delights Medjool Dates for sponsoring this post so I could share this fantastic recipe with you and tell you about one of my favourite fruits for snacking, cooking, and baking.
I'll let you in on a little secret.
I keep a stash of Medjool Dates in my pantry just to supply my sweet tooth. Yes, I do use them for turning into tasty recipes, too, but their main purpose is for those times when I'm craving something sweet and decadent, when I'm opening cupboard doors just looking for a little nibble to assuage that sugar craving and I'm eyeing the baking chocolate chips with narrowed eyes. That's when those wrinkled nuggets of soft, melting caramel bring a smile to my lips and make me moan with satisfaction as I bite in. Better than any packaged bonbons, Medjool Dates are nature's candy. Months of sunshine have concentrated in each little brown package to bring an explosion of soft sweetness with every bite. I need just a Medjool or two and a small handful of nuts, and those pesky sugar cravings are gone.
Plus, I know I've actually eaten something good for me!
Medjool Dates are a Fresh Fruit
Did you know that? (It kinda blew my mind when I found out.)
Those heavenly bites of soft caramel goodness are actually a sweet and luscious tropical stone fruit, picked by hand, packaged, and sent directly to our grocery stores where you'll find them year-round right in the produce section. They are a whole different experience from those pressed blocks of hard, dried dates my mom used to buy when I was growing up. She'd have to slice off a chunk to use in her baking (with a lot of grunting and a very sharp knife), and I was always a little repulsed by them.
Medjool Dates are a different food altogether, a sun-ripened fresh fruit. And they're chock full of good-for-you nutritients - high in fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, vit B6, copper, and magnesium. Plus, they're surprisingly low on the glycemic index (GI rating of 36). Their complex carbohydrates and high fiber cause them to be digested slowly without causing unpleasant spikes in blood sugars. So Medjools are a fantastic snack all around.
Not to mention that they taste like the softest, most rich and silky natural caramels.
Natural Delights Medjool Dates are the individual fruits of the lofty date palm, with their natural sweetness coming from exposure to abundant dessert sunshine - no additives, no pesticides - just sunshine and water.
And not only are Natural Delights a most perfect sweet or savoury snack (try them paired with a sharp cheese), they really are a versatile ingredient in cooking and baking. I love using them as a natural sweetener and binding agent in energy balls (here, here, and here), and I especially love using them to make a simple nut and oat crust for this decadent chocolate ganache tart.
Medjool Dates Make a Fantastic Crust for a Chocolate Tart
The Medjools add a subtle touch of sweetness and their natural stickiness helps them bind the ground hazelnuts and oats together to form a sturdy crust to contain the decadent chocolate ganache filling. This is a crust loaded with flavour from the nutty hazelnuts, the wholesome grain oats, and the sweet caramel notes of the Medjool dates. It's a perfect foil for the rich dark chocolate.
And so easy - just grind up the hazelnut meal and oats in a food processor. Add the luscious Medjools, a bit of coconut oil or butter, vanilla, and a touch of salt (how delicious is salted caramel?!)
Then press it all into a springform pan. Use the bottom of a cup to press the crumbs evenly into the corners of the pan, then bake for 10 minutes. Once it's cooled, melt together some good quality chocolate and heavy cream, pour it in, and hey presto, you're done.
Of course, adding a few dollops of whipped cream and some shiny Medjool date slivers help make this chocolate tart look extra elegant.
And if you'd like to try another delicious variation, you can tuck a layer of banana slices under the rich ganache filling - they add a mellow fruitiness to the rich chocolate ganache and pair particularly well with the caramel flavours of the Medjools in the crust.
This really is a wonderful chocolate tart recipe that you can adapt in so many ways. The beauty of it is in its simple crust and decadent filling. Both are quick and easy to make, and the finished tart elicits 'oohs' and 'ahhhs' every time you serve it.
So grab yourself a date with a Medjool, and head out for a night on the town with this luscious little tart!😉
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If you're making this chocolate tart a day ahead, use this recipe to stablize the whipped cream and it will hold up beautifully (keep the cake refrigerated). The cream will easily last up to a week.
Ground pecans, walnuts, almonds, or finely shredded unsweetened coconut can be used as a substitute for the ground hazelnuts.
Chocolate Tart with Date Nut Crust
for the crust:
- 1¼ cups (125gms) ground hazelnuts (hazelnut flour)
- 1 cup (100gms) rolled oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
- 1 cup (150gms) whole Natural Delights Medjool Dates (about 9)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
for the chocolate ganache filling:
- 1 cup (240ml) whipping cream (or full fat coconut milk for a dairy-free option)
- 1¼ cups (8oz/225gms) good quality dark chocolate (chunks, chips, or chopped)
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico) or other favourite liqueur - optional
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar (or use this easy recipe for stabilized whipped cream)
- 3 Medjool dates
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Add ground hazelnuts and oats to a food processor and grind until the oats are fine. Pit the Medjool dates, and add them to the food processor, along with the coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Process until the mixture is finely ground and sticks together when squeezed, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Dump the crust mixture into a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your thumbs, press the crust 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the pan, then press down the bottom of the crust. Use a flat-bottomed, straight-sided cup or jar to press the crust cleanly into the corners all the way around the tart; press out the corners so it stays evenly thin in the angle where the sides go upward.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then let it cool completely.
In a small saucepan over medium heat or in a bowl in the microwave, heat the cream and chocolate until the chocolate is about ¾ melted. Remove from the heat and keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is thick and glossy. Add the liqueur, if using. Allow the ganache to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then pour it into the cooled, baked crust. Bang the cake pan firmly on the counter a few times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Pop any bubbles that rise, so that the surface of the tart is smooth.
Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, until completely chilled and set.
Decorate the tart with piped rosettes of whipped cream. Cut the 3 Medjool dates into quarters lengthwise, removing the pit, then set the slivers onto the whipped cream rosettes for a garnish. Or leave the tart plain and serve with mounds of whipped cream with the 3 Medjool dates finely chopped and stirred in.
Tip: to make the Medjools look more shiny for the garnish, brush them lightly with oil, then wipe with paper towel to remove any excess oil. This will leave an appealing light sheen on them.
This tart will keep, refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. To keep it, push toothpicks into the tart near the crust all the way around, so they are standing upright, then cover the whole tart with plastic food wrap. The toothpicks will keep the plastic wrap from laying directly onto the tart.
Serves 8 to 12.
*Variation - Chocolate Banana Tart
When filling the tart shell with the chocolate ganache filling, first spread a thin layer of ganache in the bottom of the tart, then cover that with a layer of banana slices (cut into pencil-thick slices). Lay the banana slices close together, touching each other, to cover the base of the tart. This will take 2 to 3 bananas. Then pour the remaining chocolate ganache filling over the banana slices and chill as above.
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