No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

With a grain-free press-in crust, vegan cashew cream filling, and maple sweetened coconut whip, this no-bake chocolate cream tart is as nourishing as it is delicious. 

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

This past weekend, I found myself wanting a bit of a change from all the sweet, boozy richness of the holidays so I decided to do something I call Bojon7. It’s a week-long little mini cleanse of sorts I came up with a few years ago during a bout of neck pain where I casually avoid a handful of foods known to cause inflammation: caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, refined grains and flours, and dairy in excess. Today I’m sharing a grain- and refined sugar-free variation of the chocolate cream tart I posted yesterday that happens to neatly check all the Bojon7 boxes.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

I’ve had bad experiences with cleanses and diets in the past – Atkins left me starved and anxious, the Master Cleanse made me so weak after the third day I could barely walk, and a juice fast caused me to lose my cookies. The aspect that I enjoyed most about these different ways of eating was the level of awareness it gave me regarding what I put in my mouth, and also the creativity of working with foods I don’t normally gravitate toward. To me it feels a bit like a vacation from my normal routine.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

The best part about Bojon7 is that, like all things Bojon, it’s super chill. When I did the Atkins diet many years ago, there was a line that went something like “Do not have ‘just a taste’ of forbidden foods – that will be your kiss of death!!!!” This mantra lived in my head and prevented me from tasting homemade cannoli that a friend brought from Sicily. I still haven’t forgiven myself for that. A moment past the lips, a lifetime reliving those delicious seconds in your mind, is how that should go. With Bojon7, you can taste, cheat, diverge, do whatever you like. No one’s judging you. If you choose to have a sip of wine, go for it! Taco night with the girls? Do it. Bojon7 is just a way to gain more awareness and appreciation for foods that can start to feel like compulsive indulgences rather than occasional treats. A pleasant side effect is that it forces you to plan ahead and cook more since eating out becomes a bit trickier.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

Bojon7 is totally personal, so feel free to craft your own list of foods that feel like triggers. Here’s my list of things I’m avoiding in a non-obsessive way, and the reasons why:

Black Tea

I revel in my morning cup of Samovar’s Breakfast Blend – it’s what lures me out of bed most mornings. When we run out and I have to drink a lesser black tea, I’m sad. But I know caffeine causes inflammation, and I realized that I started drinking it unconsciously and not appreciating it the way I’d like. Instead, I make a cup of warm golden milk in the morning, which I also love, or I’ll drink jasmine or green tea, which are lower in caffeine and also contain antioxidants. It makes me stop and think when I go into the kitchen in the morning, and that’s something I appreciate.

Refined Sugar

I’m an “all things in moderation” person and I don’t believe that sugar is evil. But I found myself dipping into the many desserts hanging out in the fridge in a way that was less moderate than I would have liked. Since most storebought treats use sugar, limiting my sweets to unrefined sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey makes me put a bit more thought into my baking.

Refined Grains

I loathe the war on grains that’s raging right now – obviously, since I wrote a whole book about alternative flours! If I could live on an all-carb diet, I would. But flours and refined grains aren’t the most nutritionally dense foods around, and they’re known to cause inflammation in excess. So during Bojon7, I restrict my grain intake to whole, unprocessed grains such as rolled oats, whole quinoa, and brown rice.

Dairy as a garnish only

I love dairy more than most things – my favorite foods are cheese and ice cream – and I think dairy in moderation is generally a good thing for my body since I’m mostly gluten-free and vegetarian. But I tend to snack on cheese A LOT, so during Bojon7 I limit it to a sprinkle of cheese on my chili, a scoop of yogurt over fruit, or a splash of milk in my jasmine latte.

Alcohol

I love a good cocktail or glass of wine now and then, but I don’t feel great if I drink it every day. Avoiding it during Bojon7 means that I get to appreciate it even more when I take a taste of Jay’s beer, or add a splash of cocktail to a glass of fizzy water to savor the flavor.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

So what does one eat on Bojon7? Everything else, with a focus on legumes, whole unprocessed grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. We’ve been having the butternut chipotle chili from Love Real Food for dinner along with a chicory salad I’ll share with you next week (these mexican roasted veggie bowls with beans would fit the bill, too, and same with this sweet potato lentil soup). For lunch, we’ll make roasted vegetables with yogurt sauce or eggs, and steamed artichokes with tamari mayonnaise. Breakfast has been sweet potato hash with tempeh bacon and a fried egg, smoothie bowls, or overnight oats. Snacks are seed crackers with white bean dip, apples with almond butter, or a small dish of olives.

The whole point is to not get too obsessive about things. One aspect of super restrictive diets that I dislike is how isolating they can be. Going out to eat causes all kinds of anxiety. If a friend invites you over for a homemade dinner, you have to either ask them to do culinary backflips for you or appear rude by leaving everything on your plate. And is it just me or do people on restrictive diets tend to drone on endlessly about them? With the anxiety and isolation that super restrictive diets cause, I feel like they can do more harm than good. (Though it goes without saying that people with severe health issues or allergies should absolutely eat or not eat whatever they need, social etiquette be damned.)

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

When I did Bojon7 the first time, my dessert of choice was no-bake hazelnut ganache brownies adapted from Minimalist Baker. This time, I’d already been wondering how my vegan chocolate cream tart would taste in a no-bake crust, so I pulled the crust recipe from my raw vegan chocolate cheesecake and whipped one up. Success! I thought the recipe deserved its own post since the two are so distinctly different.

In this no-bake chocolate cream tart, almonds, cocoa powder, and maple syrup are ground together to make the simplest crust ever. Just press it into a tart pan, pour in the chocolatey cashew cream filling, and chill. Top with whipped coconut cream and chocolate shavings (you can use chocolate that doesn’t contain refined sugar if you like; I just use a dark bittersweet chocolate since it’s such a small amount of sugar). This no-bake chocolate cream tart definitely tastes healthier than its shortbread crusted counterpart, which I prefer when diet is no object. But this version has handily satisfied my chocolate cravings, too.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on all things diet-related, New Years Resolutions, foods that you’d like to eat more of or cut back on, so please let me know in the comments! If you feel inspired to craft a Bojon7 protocol for yourself, I’d love to chat about that too.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

*Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this no-bake chocolate cream tart, I’d love to see! Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and  #bojongourmet.*

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}
Yields: One 9-inch round tart or one 13x5-inch rectangular tart; 10-12 servings
 
The filling and topping of this recipe are the same as this chocolate cream tart, which uses a baked gluten-free vegan crust. I prefer the taste and texture of the original version, but this no-bake option is delicious in its own right, and a boon to those in need of grain-free desserts. The chia seed in the filling helps it emulsify and thicken; if you don't have access to chia seed, flaxseed will *probably* work, it will just have a more pronounced flavor. I buy whole chia seeds and grind them finely in a coffee grinder, then measure out 2 tablespoons of ground seeds. Be sure to allow at least 4 hours for the tart filling to set up (you can pop it in the freezer to speed up this process if you like). The whole thing is minimally sweet, so feel free to add a tablespoon or two more maple syrup to the filling if you feel it needs it.
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 2 cups (230 g) sliced or whole almonds (or other nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts), raw or lightly toasted and cooled
  • ½ cup (50 g) cocoa powder (I usually use raw cacao powder, but natural or dutch-process cocoa will work too)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
Filling:
  • 1 ½ cups (225 g) raw cashews, soaked in cool water for 4-12 hours (or covered in boiling water and soaked 1-2 hours)
  • ¾ cup (75 g) cocoa powder (preferably natural) or raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) finely ground chia seed
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (145 ml) maple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (130 g) melted extra-virgin coconut oil
Topping:
  • 1 (13 ounce) can coconut cream (or 2 cans full-fat coconut milk), chilled overnight
  • 1 tablespoon (10 ml) maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dark chocolate shavings
  • arils from half a large pomegranate (optional)
Instructions
Make the crust:
  1. Finely grind the almonds, cacao powder and salt in a food processor. Drizzle the maple syrup over the mixture, then process until the mixture begins to clump together. If the mixture is dry, add a drizzle more of maple syrup. (No need to wash the food processor, just scrape it out.) Dump about half of the crumbs into a 5x13-inch rectangular loose-bottom tart pan (or 9-inch round tart pan) and press evenly into the sides of the pan. Add the remaining crumbs and press evenly into the bottom – it usually takes me about 10 minutes to make it look pretty.
Make the filling:
  1. In the bowl of the blender (preferably high-speed) or food processor, combine the soaked and drained cashews, cocoa powder, ground chia seed, maple syrup, water, salt, and vanilla. Blend until very smooth, starting on low and gradually increasing to high, about 2 or 3 minutes in a high-speed blender and longer if needed. Add the coconut oil and blend briefly until smooth. Taste, adding more maple syrup if you feel it needs it. Pour the filling into the crust; you’ll have about a cup left over to chill and eat as pudding. Chill the tart until firm, at least 4 hours and up to a day or two.
Make the topping:
  1. When ready to serve, remove the sides from the tart pan and place the tart on a serving board or platter. Without tilting or shaking the can, remove the coconut cream from the refrigerator and carefully open. Scoop the hardened cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or into a large bowl with an electric beater), leaving behind and discarding the clear liquid. Whip on high speed until fluffy and mounded like softly whipped cream, then beat in the maple syrup and vanilla to incorporate.
  2. Spread the coconut cream over the chilled tart and sprinkle with the chocolate shavings and pomegranate, if using. Optionally chill again to firm the cream, half an hour or up to 1 day. To serve, use a large, sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between cuts to cut the tart into slices or wedges and serve. The tart will keep, refrigerated airtight, for up to several days.

No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}

28 thoughts on “No-Bake Chocolate Cream Tart {vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free}”

  1. I love everything about this recipe! Please save me a piece ;) Also, the Bojon7 is brilliant. Do what works for you otherwise there’s guilt, restriction, and stress involved. Every “diet” should include decadent chocolate tarts like this one made with delicious whole food ingredients!

  2. Hi Alanna,
    I really enjoyed your post. Recently I have started replacing refined sugar with honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar for everything I make. I am not an experienced baker so sometimes I run into questions, but I bake everything from scratch and so far its worked out rather well. I also incorporate up to half of whole wheat flour for every all purpose flour recipe.

    I have a question about the ground chia seeds in this recipe. Did you purchase them already finely ground? Also, if I can’t find the white chia seeds, would I be able to use ground flax seed instead?
    I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I’ve made quite a few of your recipes and they always turn out fantastic. I really appreciate all of the details you include!

    Thanks,
    Tara

    1. Hi Tara, Aw, thanks so much for reading! Kudos to you on your unrefined sweetener journey. :) I’m so glad you hear that you’re enjoying my recipes! Which ones have you tried?

      I buy whole chia seeds and grind them in a coffee grinder. I think flax would work as a substitute since they have similar gelling properties! I’ll add a few notes into the recipe to clarify. :)

      1. okay, wonderful! I think I will try substituting the ground flaxseed since I have quite a bit of it. I was looking through some of the recipes of yours that I’ve tried, and the list would be too long to type out but I’ve tried over a dozen of them! I’ve tried about four or five of your pumpkin recipes, the vegan chocolate cheesecakes, the “chocolate things” (I’ve made them more than once =), and the list goes on. I am going to try the butterscotch pudding recipe soon, and I have a few others in mind that I’m looking forward to trying! Thank you for posting such great recipes. I hope to read your book someday as well.
        Thanks,
        Tara

        1. Perfect! Aw, thank you so much for trying my recipes – that gives me the legit warm fuzzies. :) Please let me know how the tart turns out or if any questions come up!

    1. Great questions! Black tea contains more caffeine than green tea, and caffeine has been linked to inflammation of the joints. Green tea also contains more antioxidants than black tea, so it’s perhaps a bit healthier. However, I don’t think a cup of tea everyday is a huge deal, I just realized I was drinking it on autopilot everyday rather than asking myself if I needed it, so I decided to lay off for a week.

      With grains, here’s an excerpt from Andrew Weil that explains:
      “In people who do not have celiac disease, grains do not cause inflammation or damage the gut – if they are consumed in whole or cracked form. But when grains are milled into flour, the starch they contain becomes a high-glycemic-load food. That means it rapidly converts to glucose, causing rapid rises in blood sugar that promote the formation of AGEs – advanced glycation end products, and these combinations of sugars and protein are pro-inflammatory. That’s why my anti-inflammatory diet includes moderate portions of whole or cracked grains but minimizes consumption of products made with flour.”

  3. Everything about this tart is simply amazing! It looks so heavenly! And I’m with you on the diets… chronic dieting left me with such a terrible relationship with food. I’m all for moderation!

  4. My approach to foods has always been enjoy it in moderation. But, like you, I was dipping into the desserts too much over the holidays and I seem to have developed a habit of eating them. I like your approach to modifying your habits with Bojon7. It’s nice to know that a baker can change it up and I am going to try to follow your lead. Thank you!
    Gorgeous tart!

  5. This sounds amazing! I’m not able to eat coconut right now — can I substitute olive oil for the coconut oil in the recipe? Or…any other ideas?

    1. I don’t think olive oil would work since it’s liquid at room temperature and has a strong flavor, but you could try palm oil, vegan shortening, or vegan butter?

  6. Brilliant! The tart is absolutely delicious! A treat and a half for anyone with tastebuds and who happens to like chocolate! Easy, easy, easy to make and SOOOOOO worth it. Ending the day with a sliver of this tart is a lovely finale, so well deserved, even if it is Monday. Especially as no guilt involved, since all the ingredients are supportive. Preparing to make it again for Valentine’s Day!
    Thank you for your intelligence and for sharing!
    And btw I think balance is what works, not punishing diets, but enjoying and appreciating in a mindful way.

  7. This dessert was seriously the best. My boyfriend who rolls his eyes at anything vegan or gluten-free loved this, even after I told him it was made mostly from nuts & seeds, coconut and cocoa powder. We’ve been eating this for days to top off our dinners and it’s the bomb.

    Thanks for creating such an amazing recipe! Love it.

  8. Hi! This looks wonderful but I was wondering if you could substitute the cashews for sunflower seeds? I’m allergic to nuts.
    Kind regards, Elin

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