Is it me or has Simply Nigella been receiving the funniest flack in the press each day, whilst sneaking in some amazing vegan recipes at the same time? Let's talk about that instead, because it's great to see so many recipes vegans can make on prime time telly! I haven’t been able to watch every episode yet- (I’m saving it for some down time over Christmas) but the episodes I have managed to catch have been ace, and I love how many subtly-vegan recipes Nigella has included, under the radar.
While the salted chocolate tart Nigella made in episode 4 isn’t vegan in the series, my Mum and I both thought it might be quite easy to veganise after seeing the base was made of Oreos. You could almost see our ears prick up when Nigella mentioned the base was made predominantly from them. The recipe below is my Mum’s exchanges in ingredients- she uses single soy cream and I’ve also now tried it with single oat cream, and then she uses chocolate soy milk to add even extra chocolate in. She also suggested baking it really briefly in the oven just to get it set a little more- which I’ve kept doing too.
As Nigella mentions in her recipe- this tart is pretty easy to make, even when it's vegan, but it tastes like such a treat. I've even started baking one for two occasions, and bringing half to each, pre-cut into slices. It's perfect for a last minute Christmas dinner party, and as much as I've never been able to understand making food 'on standby' for guests, having a few extra slices of this around wouldn't go amiss to trade for help with decorating the tree, hanging the mistletoe or you know, catching up with all of Simply Nigella.
I’ve experimented with seeing if I could get away with pouring the chocolate cream mix straight into the biscuit tart base without allowing it to cool in the fridge, and it’s worked the first time, but if this was for a really special occasion I reckon it would be worth following the original instructions to the letter- I only skipped that step by mistake which is why I know it can also work!
As for timings: The ideal scenario is you’ve got the whole day at home before serving this at dinner, so make the base first thing in the morning and leave in the fridge, then make the filling at about 4pm, and serve at about 8pm or 9pm. If you need to go to work in the daytime, just make the base the night before, whip up the filling the minute you get home and then add to the tart, and try to drag out pudding a little longer so it’s not served before 9pm.
A veganised salted chocolate Oreo tart
Makes 12 large slices
For the base
28 Oreo biscuits- or 2 packs
50g dark chocolate
50g vegan margarine
½ teaspoon of sea salt
For the filling
100g dark chocolate
60ml chocolate soy milk or another alternative milk
500ml single soy cream or another alternative cream
2 tsp instant espresso powder, or 2 tsp of freshly brewed, strong coffee
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp olive oil
¾ tsp sea salt flakes
To make the base:
Grease a medium-sized, loose-bottomed flan tin- approximately 22 or 23cm in diameter. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Break the Oreos into pieces as you drop them into a food blender. Add the chocolate, broken up, then blend until it turns to crumbs. Next add the margarine and salt, and mix once more.
If you don’t have a blender, break the biscuits up in a freezer bag, then bash them to crumbs with a rolling pin (you might want to add an extra freezer bag incase there are any splits). Then melt the chocolate with the margarine, and then combine in a large bowl with the biscuits and salt.
Pour the biscuit mix into your greased tin, and use the back of a spoon to spread it out across the base and then up the sides. Do this gradually and you’ll eventually pat everything into place- the more compact the better for a sturdy tart.
Bake in the oven for five minutes- even less if you can smell the biscuits cooking sooner- this is just to crisp it up and make it sturdier.
Once the five minutes are up, remove from the oven and leave to cool for a minute or two. Place in the fridge to chill and harden for two hours, or overnight- and make sure there aren’t any other strong flavours in your fridge like garlic or onion- if so, cover with a bag to make sure it doesn’t take on the other flavours.
To make the filling:
Grab a small jug and whisk the cornflour into the chocolate milk until it is smooth.
Chop up the chocolate, and add to a large saucepan- a wok will also do the trick. Now pour in the cream, sieve in the cocoa, the coffee, sugar, vanilla, olive oil and salt. Place over a low heat and whisk gently, just so it all combines and isn’t lumpy.
Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and pour in the chocolate milk and cornflour mix. Once it’s incorporated, add back on a low heat, and using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir until the mixture thickens. This stage can take between five and ten minutes, but be careful for any burning at the bottom of the pan, as there’s a fair amount of sugar in the mix now, and you don’t want a charred chocolate flavour in the tart! If it starts to stick, just take the pan off the heat, stir some more, and add it back- you don’t want this to boil.
It’s thick enough when the mixture will coat the back of the spoon- as Nigella suggests- run your finger through the mixture across the back of the spoon and a clear line should stay there.
Now pour it into a measuring jug. Grab a piece of greaseproof paper and run this under a cold tap, wring it out, scrunch it up, and place it over the surface of the chocolate filling, so it’s touching it. This it to stop a skin forming. Sit in the fridge for 15 minutes while you catch up with the washing up.
Once the 15 minutes are up, use a spatula to spoon it into your biscuit base, and smooth on the surface. Place back in the fridge and leave for at least four- five hours.
To serve, put your hand beneath the tart in the centre, and use your other hand to gently pull away the pan ring. You can use a tin or jar as a platform if it’s feeling a bit delicate. Slice up with cups of steaming coffee or green tea, or add some coconut yoghurt for an extra filling pudding. Wonderbar!