As much as certain elements of this time of year drive me bananas (having to throw elbows in the grocery store to retrieve the last piece of whatever, extra lines everywhere, no parking, where do all these extra people come from?!), I do undeniably love the run-up to the holidays.
Everything looks festive, even traffic light reflections in wet pavement. And of course I love the excuse to have a tiny conifer in my living room.
Let’s not overlook holiday baking! Heaven forbid.
Fun fact! This is actually a giant panna cotta tart. It didn’t really occur to me while I was making it – I was just thinking, la la la cream tart la la but then I got curious and did some googling. I had forgotten that cream stabilized with gelatin is technically panna cotta… so, there ya go! Panna cotta tart, if that’s even a thing.
This one is even grain and gluten free! I suppose you could make this with coconut milk to make it dairy free, but I haven’t tried that yet (next time!) – partially because I have a massive weakness for cream.
Heavy cream reminds me of being a kid and pouring a bit over my cereal – my grandmother used to do this, and after my dad told me that, I always lurked around waiting for leftover cream to appear the fridge. As I recall, my favorite combination was a giant bowl of honey nut cheerios with about 3/4 milk and 1/4 cream.
Now I’ve leveled up and adult-ed my cream: it gets baked into cream biscuits, set into a panna cotta tart, or poured into my coffee (omg heaven).
I love this dessert though: it looks like a mini winter wonderland! Walking in a mint-er wonderland? Ha. And it’s delicious. It actually took a minute to grow on me, but then I couldn’t get enough. Minty, chocolatey & slightly tart from the yogurt-cream panna cotta, it’s a perfect holiday dessert when something light is called for. I couldn’t resist the pomegranate, both for flavor and texture, but also for color. They are always so pretty!
Happy holidays! Share this with loved ones, since it’s so much better enjoyed in good company :)
Mint Cream Tart on a Dark Chocolate Coconut Crust
Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free! A perfect wintery dessert, especially since it even *looks* festive. You can even make the whole thing the night before, since gelatin-based things like to hang out in the fridge for awhile. Lightly minty, slightly tart from the yogurt, balanced nicely by dark chocolate. Who doesn’t love mint and chocolate?! This is really a giant panna cotta in a crust, if we want to get technical. Mint cream adapted from Martha Stewart, here; the rest is my brainchild. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves… two ;) Kidding! 2-8, realistically.
For the crust:
1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″, deep pie plate with coconut oil. Alternatively, you could use a tart ring with a removable bottom – I needed to transport mine so opted for just keeping it in a less fussy dish.
In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 17 minutes.
For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple sugar*
6 stems peppermint or spearmint, plus more for garnish
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 c dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (one envelope)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt, plain
*I use maple sugar here because it’s lighter in color than coconut or maple syrup, and I wanted to preserve the lightness of the cream filling. But any granulated sweetener would be fine, just keep in mind the filling color may darken.
Make the filling: Bring cream, sugar, mint, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In a double boiler or in the microwave, heat the 1/3c dark chocolate until completely melted. I am lazy and use the microwave method: 30 second intervals, and stir in between until everything is melty. If you’re using a double boiler, stir continuously until the chocolate is melted.
With a pastry brush (or a spoon, totally fine – this is what I used), coat the bottom the crust with an even layer of melted chocolate. Refrigerate (or leave on the counter in your freezing apartment) until chocolate sets, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened. Remove mint from cream mixture, and bring cream mixture to a simmer. Whisk in softened gelatin until it dissolves. Remove from heat, and stir in the yogurt. Pour filling into the prepared crust (if there’s leftover, pour it into a ramekin or two & save for later!) Carefully transfer to the refrigerator. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 4 hours (or overnight). Garnish with mint stems, pomegranates, and sliced almonds if you’re feeling fancy. Slice and serve!
Chocolate dipped mint leaves are easy too: wash and pat dry nice-looking mint leaves, and dip in melted chocolate. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet, and freeze until needed.
Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for a day or two.