This vegan dark chocolate tart has a creamy, rich, dark chocolate filling that melts in your mouth, along side a flaky and crumbly pastry. Finished with a dusting of cocoa and flaky sea salt.
I’ll hold my hands up to being a dark chocolate fiend and self proclaimed connoisseur. Emphasis on self proclaimed.
But dark chocolate is the only chocolate I enjoy and have ever enjoyed. I’m not a huge fan on anything overly sweet and admittedly white chocolate does make me feel a little nauseous. I’ve been making this dark chocolate tart for years, it’s easily one of my favourite desserts and has a special place on our Christmas table.
Put it this way… I would happily swap any birthday cake for a slice of this tart. It’s that good and it’s that indulgent.
The tart itself has a crispy and flaky shortcrust base, although it’s not a traditional shortcrust so I apologise to all pastry chefs. The filling itself is creamy and rich but sets perfectly to form this almost melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Finally the tart is finished with a light dusting of cocoa and a flaky sea salt. There’s something spectacular about chocolate and sea salt, it brings out the sweetness and richness even more whilst also giving balance.
Salty and sweet is 100% the way forward, it extends to my popcorn choices as well. The salt salt is totally optional though so don’t worry if it’s not quite your thing.
Traditionally most tarts will use a shortcrust pastry as their base. This is a pastry which is made by incorporating cold fat (normally butter or shortening) into flour, followed by the addition of cold water. Depending on the type of shortcrust pastry an egg may also be added in.
The pastry for this tart isn’t technically a shortcrust as it doesn’t use any butter or shortening. I’m using oil instead of butter, and cold milk instead of water. This makes it really easy to work with and easily veganised by swapping the milk for any plant based milk of choice. The tart shell is also lightly sweetened which works well with the bitter-sweet dark chocolate filling.
It’s a really easy pastry to prepare!
I do make a traditional shortcrust pastry which I’ve used in my almond and apple pie and the recipe for that can be found on my Instagram highlights. Rest assured I am planning to bring it to the blog soon too.
If you want to use a traditional butter based shortcrust pastry then that will also work absolutely fine. If you want to skip the pastry making entirely and buy your own pre-rolled shortcrust – then that too is absolutely fine!
How to make an easy shortcrust pastry
I’ll explain all the steps below to guide you through the process. I know it may be daunting if this is something you’ve never made before but you’ll be absolutely fine. I promise!
1) Mix flour, salt, and sugar
2) Add oil and use a fork/pastry blender to combine
3 +4) Once oil and flour has combined, add milk and mix
5+6) Once the dough has started to form, press this together (don’t knead). Form into a disk shape
7) Wrap the disk in baking paper or clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours
8) Remove from the fridge and place between 2 sheets of baking paper
9+10) Roll out the pastry until it is 2″ larger in diameter than your tart tin. Thickness is around 3-4mm
11) Flour your pastry and rolling pin. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin by lifting the baking paper up. Work gently. A few cracks are fine
12) Transfer to your tart tin
13) Gently press the pastry dough into the edges, use any excess to help patch any cracks if needed
14) Trim excess with a sharp knife
15) Dock the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate for 10 minutes
16) Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and weigh down with baking beans (dried beans/rice work fine)
17) Blind bake the pastry for 18-20 mins. You should be able to lift the baking paper without it sticking to the pastry. If it sticks then the pastry needs more time
18) Remove the beans and paper, now place the pastry back in the oven for 8-10 mins or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely
Dark chocolate tart filling
The best bit. This filling literally screams out chocolate. It’s rich and indulgent, and only requires a handful of ingredients to put together. The filling is essentially a ganache that’s just a little bit more set. It has a really smooth texture that’s rich and melts in your mouth.
I personally prefer dark chocolate as it’s less sweet and packs far more flavour but you can use milk chocolate if that’s what you like. For the filling you’ll need:
- Dark chocolate – this is your flavour so make sure you use a good quality bar of chocolate. The better the bar, the better the tart filling will be. I personally use a 72% dark chocolate for this, but that will be far too dark for most people. I’d recommend using something around 55-60% which is on the lower to lower-middle end of the dark chocolate spectrum. That’s the percentage where the majority would recognise it as dark chocolate whilst still having some sweetness to it. Use a vegan dark chocolate if you wish to make this dessert vegan.
- Full fat coconut milk – this is what will help to set the dark chocolate tart filling and provide the creaminess. It needs to be full fat in order for the filling to set. I use the coconut milk tin which contains 55% coconut (will be listed in the ingredients). You will not get ANY coconut flavour coming through, it’s not noticeable at all. If you don’t want to use coconut milk or struggle to find it – double cream will also work as a substitute. Please note that if you’re using double cream then this will no longer be vegan.
- Vanilla extract – a lot of dark chocolate bars, especially the higher end ones will not contain any additional flavouring. So the vanilla extract just helps to add a vanilla note to the tart. Even if your dark chocolate contains vanilla, still add the additional extract as it works brilliantly to enhance the flavour.
Dark chocolate tart filling steps
It’s a simple process of bringing the cream to just a simmer and pouring over the chocolate. Let it sit and then mix till melted and velvety.
1) Chop up your chocolate, I used a bar of 74%
2) Bring your coconut milk (coconut percentage of 54%) to just a simmer. I took it to 94’C
3) Pour cream over chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute
4) Whisk until cream and chocolate has fully incorporated
5) Pour over cooled tart shell. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth. Give the tart case a little shake to ensure the filling is even. Refrigerate and dust with cocoa powder and flaky sea salt right before serving
Dark Chocolate Tart
- 11″ tart tin
- 300 g plain flour
- 25 g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 125 ml flavourless oil e.g. sunflower oil, grapeseed, canola or even a light olive oil
- 75 ml cold milk of choice dairy, oat, or soya milk work the best
- 400 ml full fat coconut milk
- 400 g dark chocolate or milk chocolate if preferred
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Flaky sea salt optional
- Combine flour, salt and sugar
- Add oil to the flour mix and use a knife or a pastry cutter to ‘cut’ the fat into the flour. Do this until it looks like fine breadcrumbs
- Add in the milk and briefly gather the dough together and form a ‘disk’ shape. Avoid kneading the dough to prevent a tough pastry
- Wrap the disk of dough in cling film or greaseproof paper and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours. Overnight works too.
- Preheat oven to 180’C fan/200’C conventional 30mins before taking dough out of the fridge
- Take the dough out of the fridge and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Slowly roll out the dough, turning it at the same time to ensure it rolls out evenly. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of around 3-4mm, the size should fit your tart tin with an additional 2 inches of excess around (for the sides)
- Flour your dough and rolling pin. Roll the dough around your rolling pin and transfer to your tart tray. If small areas crack, don’t worry just pinch these back together
- Dock the pastry with a fork all over (make holes with a fork). Place back in the fridge for 15 mins
- Place a layer of grease proof paper over the tart dough and pour in baking beans/dried beans/dried rice
- Bake for 18-20 mins
- Then remove the baking paper and beans, and continue to bake the tart for a further 10 mins or until golden
- Allow the pastry to cool completely before filling
- Place the coconut milk and vanilla to a saucepan and bring to JUST a boil. Don’t boil for too long or you risk the coconut milk splitting
- Pour the coconut milk over your dark chocolate, ensuring it is completely covered
- Let this sit for 1 minute, and then whisk to combine
- Pour into your tart shell and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to set
- Dust with cocoa powder and flaky sea salt right before serving