EASY CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY TART WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE MATCHA GLAZE (V+, ChF, GrF, GF, V, P)

EASY CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY TART WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE MATCHA GLAZE (V+, ChF, GrF, GF, V, P)

In many ways I have always been a city girl at heart. I was born in a big city - New York in case you were wondering - and have lived in countless cities all over the world. My frequent moves were partly the result of my parents' work (they were in the airline industry when I was growing up) and party the result of my gypsy ways getting the better of me in adult life.

After spending time in the lovely, small and quaint Williamsburg, Virginia (of all places right?!) for my undergraduate studies I knew with every bone in my body that I desperately needed to get back to the bright lights of urban life. Hence it's no coincidence that after a few detours here and there, I eventually landed in London.

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Now the irony is that since setting up home here, I have slowly but surely started feeling a very strong pull towards a quieter life closer to nature. Things that left me cold before such as the idea of having my own garden, things that made me cringe such as pottering about in Birkenstocks or things that just sounded plain boring like gazing at the stars, suddenly amount to my idea of pure bliss.

I think the ultimate push towards my need to reconnect to Mother Nature came when my son was born in 2010. For me, my whole life and my perception of everything around me changed. It was as though a thin veil that had covered my eyes for as long as I could remember was lifted and the stuff I was drawn to when I was younger seemed, well, a bit shallow and empty. I started to question things (even) more and to go through life with much more awareness. Furthermore, I felt a stronger connection than ever before with my life source and the ultimate mother figure, Pacha Mama. I personally also think eating more plants and practicing yoga contributed to that sense of connectedness. I know it sounds weird and kinda out there, but that's how I feel :).

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Within a year of my son's birth, we sold our flat in a prime location and moved to a petite but perfectly formed little house with a petite, but perfectly formed garden a little bit further afield, yet still very much in reach of all that London has to offer should we crave the busyness of city living. Now on summer weekends (if I'm not cooking, studying or blogging!) we'll go foraging in one of our countless local parks looking for elderflowers, elderberries, blackberries and when we're really brave, nettle. The picture you see here is of one of our favourite foraging spots, just a 10 minute walk from our home. It's so beautiful, peaceful and steeped in history.

As for my much wanted garden, truth be told I don't do much in it other than stare at my husband working his a** off and making all sorts of flowers, fruits and veggies grow for us :). See when it comes to actually working the soil, my city chick roots just come creeping right back ;). Nonetheless, it's so, so wonderful to see nature's circle of life happen in front of your eyes and even more exciting to start cooking and eating the bounty from your own garden. In fact we've been living off our home-grown chard, rosemary, mint and thyme for months. The lettuces, tomatoes, edible flowers and fruits are coming into their own right about now too and the prospect of eating our own strawberries has got us particularly excited.

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I have to be honest though and note that I didn't use our strawberries to make this tart. At the time of writing this post there was only 1 really ripe, red strawberry in the garden, which my son proudly picked, held and then gobbled up before I even had a chance to take more than the 2 pictures you see here. He said it was 'sweet and yummy though tastes slightly different than the ones we get from the shop'. I wait with bated breath to taste for myself what he so cutely described :).

Before I share the recipe for this vegan strawberry tart, I must let you know that the recipe was inspired by this tart made by Joscelyn from WifeMamaFoodie. I mean a vegan tart base with chocolate in it: genius. My son saw it and begged me to do something similar. His wish was my command (of course) and knowing how much he loves fruit I created this little strawberry number. It's so, so easy to put together and the day I made it we had lots of people over for a bit of a celebration. They devoured it in no time! So what're you waiting for – on your marks, get set, bake!

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EASY CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY TART WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE MATCHA GLAZE (V+, ChF, GrF, GF, V, P)

IMPORTANT: Please check the tips at the end of the recipe for substitutions and further suggestions.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8 -10

Ingredients for the crust:
4 cups/420g (organic) almond meal
2.5 tablespoon (organic) ground flaxseed + 7 tablespoons of water
2 generous tablespoons of (organic) (vegan) cacao powder
4-6 tablespoons of (organic) sugar
1/2 or 1 teaspoon of salt  
2 tablespoons of (organic) olive oil or melted (organic) coconut oil
a little bit of extra (organic) coconut oil to prepare the tart pan

Ingredients for the filling:
around 600g (organic) strawberries, or slightly less

Ingredients for the raw, vegan white chocolate matcha glaze:
50g raw vegan cacao butter
2.5 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1-2 tablespoons of matcha green powder
pinch of salt


Instructions:
Combine the ground flax seeds with water in a bowl and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C. Line a 25cm round tart pan with non-stick parchment paper and grease the bottom part of the pan with olive oil and grease the sides with coconut oil (olive oil tends to slide down the sides and make the tart edges stick!).

In a separate bowl combine the almond meal, salt, sugar,cacao powder and olive oil/melted coconut oil. Mix with a spoon. Then add the flax seed mixture. The dough should have a nice consistency and not be too wet.
Using your hands and fingers spread the dough into the prepared tart pan. There should be a little bit more than you need. Then make fork marks all over the tart crust.

Bake blind by cutting out another piece of non-stick parchment paper, covering the top/centre of the tart and filling it with marbles/dried pulses for about 10 minutes.

Then remove the pulses and parchment paper and bake the tart for another 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

As the tart crust is cooling, wash and prepare the strawberries.
Make the white chocolate matcha glaze by gently melting the cacao butter in a double boiler set over a low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and combine with the maple syrup, water, vanilla powder and matcha powder until nicely combined. I mixed this using a hand whisk, but for extra smoothness you can also use an electrical mixer. 

Once the tart crust has cooled down,fill it with strawberries and pour the glaze over everything. It's that simple.  

Tip1: There may be a little bit of extra tart crust mixture. I tend to make a little extra to ensure I have enough for the sides. You can half the recipe and use a smaller tart base if you like. 
Tip2: You can make this refined sugar free/paleo by replacing the sugar with maple syrup. I found that made the dough quite wet and didn't have the end result I was looking for. But it's totally a personal preference.
Tip3: Salt and sugar are really a personal preference again. Taste the dough with just 1/2 spoon of salt and 4 tablespoons of sugar and take it from there.
Tip4: Just before making the dough for the crust, I just took about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted it down and then measured 2 tablespoons out. Sorry I can't give you more exact measurements. If that's too much hassle just use olive oil.
Tip5: The filling is just a suggestion and pears for example would work really well here too. Please just use whatever is local and seasonal to you.
Tip6: There will be more glaze here than you need. But I don't have to tell you what to do with left overs, do I?
Tip7: The flaxmeal acts as a binder. If you don't have that to hand you can use 2 eggs instead making this recipe vegetarian rather than vegan.
Tip8: Keeps in the fridge for about 2 days.

Looking for more strawberry recipes? Just click here.

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