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We're not only devotees of avocado on toast—we like it every which way! We partnered with the California Avocado Commission (@CA_Avocados) to riff off a few of our favorite #f52grams, penning new avocado recipes of our own. And since local California avocados are available right when the summer heat is begging for no-bake desserts, this tart was a no-brainer.
Baking has never come easily to me.
I blame my perfectionism. As someone who’s already a little too afraid of making errors and coming up short, it’s hard to take on a process that’s always being described as “a science.” Every experienced baker learns how to weave creativity and intuition into his or her craft, I'm sure—but for the baking novices among us, myself included, precision and following directions really do seem to matter (as my long history of baking disasters would imply).
And it’s that sense of being bound to rules, the threat of subpar results should one ingredient be accidentally forgotten or mis-measured, that scares me.
Maybe this is why raw desserts—aside from the fact that they’re naturally vegan-friendly—have always appealed to me so much. To me, the process of putting them together has always felt a little more like cooking than baking (or at least, baking as I know it). There’s some wiggle room to add or subtract or fiddle with proportions as you go. And because most of us understand that a raw, vegan pie or cake will inevitably defy conventional expectations, I don’t have to worry so much that what I’m making will fall short of high standards. They offer an open invitation to creativity and interpretation.
There’s another advantage to raw desserts, which is the whole no-heat thing. No matter how much I relish summer crumbles and crisps and pies, it’s a pain to turn on the oven on a hot and humid day (especially if you happen to have a particularly hot oven and a particularly small living space). To make a satisfying, creative dessert in the food processor may not quite bestow the sense of accomplishment that comes from crafting a perfect baked good, but it’s a relief come August.
Creamy avocados are a handy trick-of-the-trade when it comes to raw and vegan dessert-making. They create a silky, rich texture that’s ideal for puddings and creamy fillings for pies and tarts. This particular tart features a filling that’s reminiscent of avocado chocolate pudding, a vegan dessert many have tried, but a little extra coconut oil and cocoa powder help it to firm up.
Of course, the tart isn’t going to resemble a traditional chocolate tart or pie. The crust, which is made from nuts and dates, is softer and sweeter. And the filling should be sweet and chocolate-y without having the bittersweet punch of your standard issue ganache. But the beauty of this dessert lies in its caramel overtones (thanks to the dates) and the subtlety of the creamy, ever slightly savory center. If you ask me, it’s the perfect way to celebrate summer—whether you’re a seasoned baker or not.
For the crust
- 8 ounces raw almonds
- 9 ounces pitted Medjool dates
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
For the filling
- 2 medium avocados
- 1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (scant) salt
- Fresh berries, for topping
The California Avocado Commission represents the nearly 4,000 avocado growers in the state of California. They harvest avocados only a few months out of the year (like right now!). Find out more about California Avocados, and where to get them, here.