I’ve talked before about how as a kid, I could barely walk into Staples without going weak at the knees. The thought of all the notebooks, pens, binders, and Sharpies….. I just could. not. deal.
To this day, I’m still a stationery junkie. I adore office supplies and organizing things, and as much as many bloggers probably hate the paperwork that goes along with having a small business, I secretly kinda like it because it means I can organize things with dividers and labels and highlighters. If you ever questioned my nerdiness, well, now it’s confirmed.
But do you want to know what gets me even more excited than Staples? If you said Whole Foods and farmers’ markets you’re right, but after that?
Crate & Barrel.
Yep. It’s my biggest weakness, my guilty pleasure, my happy place, a source of recipe inspiration, and the taker of my money. It’s a good thing that they don’t sell much food there because I’d probably never leave.
Recently I was doing a recipe planning session for the weeks ahead. I was trying to come up with something easy and healthy for Valentine’s Day (which is this coming Sunday, by the way), but knowing my limited baking abilities, didn’t want it to be something that required the oven. Eventually I decided that instead of dessert, I’d create some sort of Valentine’s-themed entrée. Exactly what it was I didn’t know, but one of my other plans that weekend was to return a purchase at The Bay. Coincidentally (or not), Crate & Barrel happens to be in the same mall.
Due to cosmic forces beyond my control, I found myself standing in Crate & Barrel looking at all sorts of things, including these:
Crème brûlée dishes. Mini ones, 5″ in diameter to be precise. At that moment, my plans to not make a dessert went completely out the window. But my plans to not bake were still very much in tact, and although the dishes were an impulse purchase, a crème brûlée torch was not about to be my next one.
If you’ve ever come across any vegan cheesecake recipes, you probably noticed that most require oodles of cashews soaked for at least 4 hours in order to create a cheesecake-like texture. The crusts are also typically a blend of nuts and seeds. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for healthy fats and love me some nuts, but that many nuts can get spendy, and…. well, kinda drive my stomach nuts.
So while I didn’t have buckets of nuts and hours to soak them, what I did have was about a cup of cashews and lots of frozen nanners.
Friends, you know I don’t do dessert often because the truth is that I’m just more of a savoury type of gal. But this one… it truly was amazing.
The list of ingredients is ridiculously simple yet the result is something almost too pretty to eat. You can also customize it as you like. I topped mine with raspberries and shaved dark maca chocolate, but it you’re not in a chocolatey mood (who are you???) you could simply blend berries into your frozen bananas and make a berry-flavoured filling instead.
The recipe below makes enough crust and filling for two 5″ tart dishes with a bit of each leftover, but if you have a larger dish, simply double the recipe. Even if you have leftovers, I’m sure you’ll find a way to put it to use. 😉
No-Bake Chocolate Raspberry Tarts
Prep Time: 25 mins
Chill Time: 15-25 mins
Ingredients (2 tarts, 1-2 servings each)
- 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- pinch of salt (omit if your cashews are salted)
- 2 large peeled bananas, frozen
- 2 tsp raw cacao powder
- a few tbsp unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk, to blend
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- fresh raspberries
- shaved dark chocolate (I used Vega maca chocolate)
Remove the frozen bananas from the freezer and set them out on the counter to partially thaw.
For the crust: In a food processor, whirl the cashews, dates and coconut oil until a coarse mixture forms. Using a piece of cling film or a sandwich bag so that you don’t get your hands sticky, use your fingers to press an even layer into the bottom and up the sides of two small tart dishes. Set aside.
For the filling: In the same food processor or in a blender, blend the bananas with the raw cacao powder, vanilla, and just enough coconut/almond milk to get things moving. It should have a smooth texture, similar to that of soft serve ice cream or a really thick smoothie.
Divide the filling between the tarts, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Pop them in the freezer for 15-25 minutes. This will help the crust to set.
Wash the raspberries and shave the dark chocolate with a sharp knife. Remove the tarts from the freezer. Top with raspberries and chocolate shavings, then serve.
So tell me…
- What’s your ultimate dessert?
- Does anybody else go crazy for Crate & Barrel? Maybe we can create a C&B-aholics Anonymous group…