Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tart

Growing up, Colin and his sisters created what became their family’s favorite special occasion decadent treat, aptly named “chocolate death cake”.  The creation was a combination of a boxed chocolate cake mix with chocolate pudding mix and extra chocolate chips all mixed together and baked up with raspberry jam spread between the two finished cake layers, topped with (canned) chocolate frosting, not bad actually for kids growing up way back in the 80’s!  If you ask me, chocolate and raspberries are such a perfect combination, even with a highly processed cake mix it’s still pretty damn good, although it is hard for me to get past the canned frosting. So, a few years after we married, I started tinkering with the recipe, one to make it a bit more “homemade” and two to “gourmet it up”.  Over the years, I’ve made many different versions of “chocolate death cake” to celebrate Colin’s birthday, originally sticking a bit more to the traditional idea and then veering off into the flourless cake realm. For this year’s version, I created a decadently delicious chocolate ganache tart with a raspberry cream layer and believe it or not, it’s gluten free, dairy free and vegan!  But, please don’t let that scare you off, even the most diehard chocolate fan won’t notice the difference.

Last Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law Megan requested that I contribute something chocolaty and decadent for dessert, for which I made a slightly adapted version of vegan chocolate truffles from Giada’s latest cookbook “Giada’s Feel Good Food”.  Homemade cashew cream replaced the traditional heavy cream in the truffles and they were a huge hit! So, when I was planning Colin’s birthday treat, I decided to use the same recipe but transform it into a tart.  The cashew cream recipe creates more than is needed for the chocolate ganache, so I decided to mix up some of the extra cream with frozen raspberries and a little raspberry jam to sandwich between two layers of the ganache, the result was good enough to share and then some. Frozen Raspberries

For the crust, I toyed between a few different ideas; graham cracker, chocolate cookie crumb, etc but ultimately decided to make a wheat and butter free crust just to keep with the theme (adapted from Suburban Girl Gone Country’s almond oat crust).  I used ground oats which I’m happy to eat in most anything and ground almonds which I think go particularly well with raspberries.  I added a little maple syrup for sweetness and moisture, plus coconut oil.  The crust looks beautiful and elegant and has a nice slightly crumbly texture.  There is a subtle flavor of coconut, as Skyler (hater of all things coconut) immediately pointed out.  So if you’re also not a fan, I think any flavorless oil would be okay to sub, or butter if you don’t need to keep it dairy free. 

The end result of this beautiful tart is not only perfect for the chocolate lover in your life (especially if that person is you!), good enough to serve to company or for any special occasion, but you can also feel good knowing you’re eating a treat that won’t send you into cardiac arrest. It might even be a little bit good for you too, the cashew cream provides healthy fats, protein and fiber, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, oats and almonds are heart healthy and even the coconut oil is good for you! So go on and indulge and feel free to keep the healthy secrets to yourself, no one needs to know the decadent dessert you’re serving is actually good for them.

Colin’s Birthday Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tart

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tart back view

Ingredients:

Tart Crust adapted from the blog the suburban girl gone country

1 cup Almond Meal

1 cup Oat Flour

¼ teaspoon Sea Salt

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 Tablespoon Water

½ teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Ganache Fillingadapted from Giada’s Feel Good Food – vegan chocolate truffles

2/3 cup Cashew Cream – recipe follows

2 cups semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate – chips or chopped from bars (full disclosure, I use my favorite 60% cocoa chips from Ghiradelli, which are not dairy free, but if needed use your favorite dairy free chocolate)

1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

Raspberry Cream Filling

1 cup fresh or frozen Raspberries

2 Tablespoons Raspberry Jam (seedless if you prefer)

1/3 cup Cashew Cream

Directions:

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl combine, Almond Meal, ½ cup of the Oat Flour and salt.  Next add in Coconut Oil, Maple Syrup and Vanilla.  Mix completely with a fork, then add in the remaining half cup of Oat Flour and the water.  Continue to mix with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand. IMG_5943

Lightly coat a tart shell (I use a 10 inch one with a removable bottom) with a little extra coconut oil and then pour in the crust mixture.  With clean hands (you could also use a piece of wax paper or parchment), press the crust into the shell, pushing up the sides until it is even all around the sides and bottom.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Note: if you wish to use the crust for a tart with a baked filling, only bake the tart for 8-10 minutes before filling and baking again.  Either way, allow the tart shell to completely cool before filling.

For the Cashew Cream:

Cashew CreamSoak 1 cup Raw Unsalted Cashews in 1 cup water for at least two hours or overnight.  In a high powered blender, blend soaked Cashews and Water about 1 minute until creamy.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

In a bowl over a small pot with slightly simmering water, add Chocolate and 2/3 cup of the Cashew Cream, stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and combined with the cashew cream.  Once the chocolate is melted and thoroughly mixed with the cream, remove from the heat and add in Vanilla and Maple Syrup.  Allow to cool.

For the Raspberry Cream:

In a medium saucepan over low to medium heat, add in Raspberries, Jam and 1/3 cup Cashew Cream.  Stir and gently press the raspberries to break them up until everything is melted together.  If you don’t like the texture of the raspberry seeds (which I don’t mind at all), strain cooled raspberry cream through a small strainer, otherwise use the cream as is.

Finally to assemble the tart: (really the recipe comes together pretty quickly)Chocolate Ganache first layer

Raspberry Cream middle layer

Chocolate Ganache Top Layer

Pour about half of the cooled chocolate ganache into the cooled tart crust.  Carefully spread the ganache to completely cover the crust.  Chill for about 15 minutes in the fridge.

After 15 minutes, spread all of the raspberry cream over the ganache.  Place in the fridge to chill again.

After another 15 minutes, spread the remaining chocolate ganache over the chilled tart.  I leave about ½ inch of the raspberry cream around the edges exposed without covering in ganache.

Chill again in the refrigerator, this time for at least an hour to allow the ganache to fully firm up.Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tart with whipped cream

Serve the tart with fresh raspberries and cream.  If you don’t need to keep your dessert vegan or dairy free, lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream is a perfect accompaniment.  Otherwise, whip up the remaining cashew cream (you should still have about 1/3 to ½ cup left) with a bit of maple syrup and serve that alongside the finished tart OR double the raspberry cashew cream recipe and use the leftover as a topping.  Raspberry sorbet would also be really good. Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Tart with fresh raspberries

Recipe Notes:

If you don’t have almond or oat flour, each can easily be made using whole or slivered almonds or whole oats ground in a high powered blender or food processor.  I also like using organic baby oatmeal cereal in place of oat flour.

Click here for printable version

Farmer’s Market Frittata with crisp shitake mushrooms, spring onions & goat cheese

Farmer's Market Frittata
I love this time of year, when our local farmers markets are in full bloom.  I find the offerings of fresh and beautiful veggies so inspiring, I often get carried away and buy way too much!   Leaving with my bags loaded with more than we can usually eat in the week, happily planning meals in my head as I drive home. 
Farmer's Market Bounty

Farmer’s Market Bounty

This week I brought home spring onions with long green tops, more than a foot in length from Taliaferro Farms, shitake mushrooms from Madura Farms and herbed goat cheese from Acorn Hill, plus gorgeous eggs in shades of browns and blue from Wrights Farm which even inspired my five year old Evan to try “oval eggs” (hard boiled) for the first time ever!   WP_20140622_037
I cooked up this delicious and quick version of frittata, starting on the stove top and then finishing it under the broiler to get a nice golden brown top.  I used the spring onion tops, which I think are even more flavorful than the onions themselves and cook up quicker too.WP_20140622_014
I sprinkled bits of herbed goat cheese along with crisp cooked shitakes, all over the top just before placing under the broiler, but any goat cheese you like; flavored with herbs, garlic or just plain, would be delicious here.  Crispy Shitakes and Herbed Goat Cheese
If you can’t find young onions with the greens attached, scallions or leeks would work just as well.  In fact frittatas are so versatile you could really add most any combination of veges and cheese you like and come out with great results!  
Farmer’s Market Frittata
with Crisp Shitake Mushrooms, Spring Onions and Goat Cheese
 Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
Serves about 4 as a light main dish with a salad or other veggies on the side, also perfect for brunch with a warm crusty roll.
Ingredients:
5 or 6 Shitake Mushrooms
Spring Onion Greens (that’s the onion tops) from about 3-4 onions
Or sub with 2 bunches Scallions OR 2-3 Leeks
6- 8 Eggs (depending upon size)
Grated Asiago Cheese – about ¼ cup or more to taste
2 ounces creamy Goat Cheese
Butter and Olive Oil
Salt (flaked sea salt if you have)
Ground Black Pepper
 
Directions:
Heat a large non stick (oven safe) skillet (either a 10 or 12 inch pan will work) over a medium flame.
Wash, dry and slice the Shitake mushrooms.  Melt a bit of butter (about a teaspoon or two) into the skillet and then add in the mushrooms.  Sauté the mushrooms for several minutes until they get nice and crispy.  Once they’re crispy, sprinkle a little flaked salt and stir around and then remove from the pan.
While the mushrooms are cooking, clean and slice the green onion tops.
Into the same pan you’ve just removed the mushrooms from, add a little swirl of olive oil and then the onion greens.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Sauté until softened and beginning to brown just a bit.
While the onion greens are cooking, whisk together the eggs in a medium bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and add about 2 tablespoons of the grated Asiago cheese.
Once the greens are cooked, spread them flat over the inside of the pan so they cover the entire surface, sprinkle with about a tablespoon of grated Asiago, then pour in the eggs and immediately lower the temperature to the lowest setting.  Do not stir.  Once the eggs just begin to set a bit, gently stir them around the pan.
Drop the goat cheese all over the eggs in small bits and then top with the crispy mushrooms and any remaining Asiago.  Remove the pan from the flame and place it in the oven about 4 – 6 inches from the broiler, turn on the broiler, watch carefully and allow to broil about 1 – 2 minutes until the top of the frittata sets and the cheese begins to brown.
Remove from the oven, cut into 4-6 portions, serve and Enjoy! 
Click here for printable versionFarmer's Market Frittata with Shitakes, Spring Onions and Goat Cheese

 

Corn Berry Muffins

Corn Berry Muffins img_5175
It all started with a book my five year old brought home from school, a modern day version of Little Red Riding Hood “a new fangled prairie tale”, in my opinion, a truly terrible version of a classic, but it ended with grandma opening a muffin shop for the wolf to work in to keep him busy enough to stop terrorizing the neighborhood AND a recipe for Wheat Berry Muffins.  Upon first reading I assumed it was muffins made with wheatberries, which as much as I love wheatberries, did not sound so tasty to me mixed into a muffin. But, then I realized it was whole wheat muffins with blueberries and “grandma’s” secret ingredient, sunflower seeds, now that didn’t sound too bad.  Evan asked for days to make the Wheat Berry Muffins, but I had an open carton of buttermilk in the fridge that needed a purpose, so I decided Little Red’s grandma’s recipe needed some tweaking and the more I thought about it, I realized how yummy corn muffins are with berries and why not just for fun try to make a gluten free version….hmmm, now I was on to something.  So I spent the morning scouring through recipes and ended up with four different ones I took a little from this one, a little from that one and so on until I came up with the tastiest little morsels, moist and delicious. There’s a hint of coconut, but not overwhelmingly so (in fact, Skyler, who despises all things coconut, upon tasting these for the first time, exclaimed “delicious” and then asked “is there coconut in these?” and then continued to devour the rest and ask for more), a really nice crunch from the coarse cornmeal and a bit of texture from the sunflower seeds, lightly sweet, unbelievably moist and so very yummy.  These little gems are my current muffin obsession.
Corn Berry Muffins
Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
Makes about 15 muffins or 12 plus 12 minis
Ingredients:
1 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Coarse Cornmeal **
1/2 cup Almond Flour
3/4 cup Granulated Natural Cane Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Salt

 

1 cup Buttermilk
2 extra large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/3 cup Coconut Oil – liquefied ***
1 – 1 1/2 cups Blueberries (or Blackberries) – about 1 -2 6 ounce containers of berries
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
Directions:
In a large bowl, add in all the dry ingredients; Brown Rice flour, Cornmeal, Almond flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.  Whisk together to combine.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, add in the Buttermilk, Eggs, Vanilla and Almond Extract.  Stir thoroughly to combine.
Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir to fully combine.  Mix in the Coconut Oil.
Gently stir in the Blueberries and Sunflower Seeds.Corn Berry Muffins Mix IMG_5253
Prepare muffin tins with cooking spray.  Pour in about ¼ cup of batter into each muffin cup.
Bake about 20-23 minutes for regular size muffins or 16-18 minutes for minis.Corn Berry Muffins IMG_5535
IMG_5170
Recipe Notes: As an alternative to Blueberries these muffins are also delicious with big juicy Blackberries.  I actually really like making mini muffins with 1 big Blackberry in each one. IMG_5260 Corn Berry Blackberry Mini Muffin
Blackberry Corn Muffin IMG_5292Blackberry Corn Muffin IMG_5300
**A note on Cornmeal – the cornmeal adds a nice little crunch to these muffins that I just adore.  Alternatively, you could use finer corn flour, but you’d lose out on the crunch.  I have also used corn flour with a few tablespoons of the ½ cup subbed out with polenta or corn grits.
***One other note, if Coconut Oil is not available, I think your best bet on substitution would be butter, but I would probably up it to 1/2 cup.
Click here for Printable version

Fusilli con Broccoli with Creamy Ricotta Sauce

Fusilli Con Broccoli with Creamy Ricotta Sauce

When I was young, my Italian Nana would often make a recipe for me that I loved.  Long strands of twisted fusilli pasta with broccoli cooked in the same pot until it was so soft it nearly fell apart when I ate it.  The salted water with the broccoli and pasta would develop a lovely brothy flavor which would be ladled into the bowl with the rest and then topped with some grated Romano cheese.  It was delicious and to this day I still dream of it.  Here I’ve cooked the fusilli and broccoli a bit more al dente, although the broccoli still is quite tender, and I added a creamy light ricotta “sauce”.  Eating this now reminds me of my Nana.  As the say in Italy, Buon Appetito!  Pasta with Ricotta Sauce

 IMG_5123

Fusilli con Broccoli with Creamy Ricotta Sauce

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta – fusilli or other shape, orecchiettie is also good

1 cup Ricotta cheese

Handful of chopped Parsley or Basil

Grated Romano cheese

Grated Ricotta Salata cheese

Zest of ½ Lemon

3 cloves Garlic – chopped

Olive oil

Salt

Hot Red Pepper Flakes or Black Pepper

1 bunch of Broccoli florets, cut to bite size pieces

Directions:

Cook pasta until al dente in salted water, making sure to reserve some of the cooking liquid for the sauce.  During the last 2 minutes, add the chopped Broccoli to the pot and stir around.   IMG_5099

 

While the pasta cooks, in a small saucepan add the chopped garlic, a pinch of salt and olive oil to cover.  Warm over low heat, to infuse the oil with garlic flavor and gently cook the garlic.  – this step is optional and can be skipped if you’re not a huge fan of garlic, but I think it adds a great extra layer of flavor to the finished dish.

Also, while the pasta cooks, to a large serving bowl add Ricotta, Parsley or Basil, grated cheeses and Lemon Zest.  Mix together. Ricotta Sauce

Add the cooked Pasta and Broccoli to the Ricotta mixture adding in some reserved pasta liquid a little bit at a time, until the sauce is the consistency you like.  Pour the infused Olive Oil and Garlic over the Pasta and top with a bit of Red Pepper flakes or ground Black Pepper, whichever you prefer.  Finish with a little extra grated Cheese if you like.  Serve warm and Enjoy!

IMG_4682Pasta with Broccoli and Creamy Ricotta Sauce

Recipe Notes:  I love the lemon zest in this sauce but if you’re not a fan, feel free to skip it.  In it’s absence I would add a little nutmeg. 

Click here for printable version

 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Three Ways

IMG_5305 IMG_5316

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

3 ways – Naked, Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry Jam

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

A birthday blog for Skyler, my extraordinary daughter, who on the day she was born, forever transformed my life in the most amazing way.  These cupcakes are most especially for YOU…..HAPPY BIRTHDAY…..and Enjoy - xo -

IMG_5339

Strangely enough, I adapted this recipe from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” and made them most decidedly NOT vegan.  They are oh so delicious, moist and peanut buttery and of course I make them three ways to satisfy all tastes and demands.  With that said they are perfect just as they are, naked if you will or adorned with just a light drizzle of melted chocolate or topped with a dollop of fresh barely sweetened whipped cream or the frosting of your choice.  BUT, if you’d like to take them to the next level, I like to top each individually (rather than mixed throughout the batter) with a few broken pieces or just one big chunk of the best milk chocolate I can find.  Or for the jam lovers in your life (hello Evan!), a swirl of your favorite jam or preserve mixed into the batter of each individual cupcake just before baking, yum, yum, yum…. IMG_5374

 

Makes about 15 cupcakes (is it just me, or is it impossible to create a recipe that actually makes exactly 12 cupcakes?) OR 12 regular size cupcakes plus about 6 minis.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Buttermilk

1/2 cup Natural Unsweetened Chunky Peanut Butter

2-3 extra Tablespoons Natural Unsweetened Chunky Peanut Butter

1/3 cup Canola Oil

2/3 cup granulated Natural Cane Sugar

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Salt

Optional:

A few ounces milk chocolate chunks (I use Lindt)

 and/or

A few Tablespoons Jam of your choice (I prefer Raspberry)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of Peanut Butter, Oil, Sugar, Maple Syrup and Egg until well combined.  Add the Buttermilk and stir until fully incorporated.

IMG_5368Sift in the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.  Stir to combine. Then drop in the remaining 2-3 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter a little bit at a time to gently swirl through the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners about two thirds full.

Now if you like your peanut butter cupcakes straight up and simple, pop them in the oven and bake for about 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.IMG_5404

OR, if you’d like to have a little fun, break up a few ounces of chocolate, leaving big pieces and then drop a piece on top of each muffin cup filled with batter.  Bake as above.IMG_5287

OR, swirl a small spoonful of jam (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) into the top of each cupcake. Note, the jam topped cupcakes may take a touch longer to bake.

Allow cupcakes to cool a bit on a rack before removing them from the pan.  Cool completely before topping with anything.  Enjoy! IMG_5396

Click here for printable version

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