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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
*Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, 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.*
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.