I’ve created a wonderfully decadent dessert, just in time for Valentine’s Day. A delicious rich and silky chocolate brownie, baked in a sweet shortcrust pastry. I’ve served it with an aquafaba whipped cream, which complimented this dessert beautifully, but you can use your favourite dairy free cream instead. It makes for a perfectly indulgent dessert for this very special day.
Nick and I don’t usually celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way. But we do exchange cards and I always make a special dessert. I remember years ago, we decided once that we would do something, so went out for lunch in the city. Afterwards, we ended up wandered around Water Town (formerly know as Harbour Town), which is a direct factory outlet here in Perth. I did my usual though and walked into a kitchen shop, which I never pass up an opportunity to explore! While I was looking around, I spotted a brilliant multi Microplane grater and it was a beauty! Nick ended up buying it for me as a Valentine’s Day present, which I was so happy and grateful to receive. Not the usual gift for a Valentine, but then I’m not really into clothes, shoes, perfume or jewellery. Kitchen gadgets and china have always put a huge smile on my face…I’m a little strange like that!
So I dedicate this recipe to Nicholas, the love of my life and supplier of all things kitchen! I couldn’t imagine life with out him in it, as I’ve never had someone who believes in or supports me, quite like the way he does. Helping me to achieve my goals and dreams, even when things get too much and I want to throw in the towel. He’s always there to gently remind me to see the bigger picture and to not give up. We’ve been through some very tough times over the years, but we have always got through it together. I’m so very thankful, every day that he chose to spend his life with me.
This recipe is a revised version of my Bites Sized Townies, which was published nearly 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve experimented to improve the texture of my pastry and, in doing so, I’ve learnt a lot about which flours and starches work best together to create a lighter textured pastry.
Aquafaba is a new ingredient, which I’ve been researching and experimenting with lately, and it is the liquid from the canned chickpeas. This liquid is whipped to form stiff peaks, with some cream of tartar, and is used as an egg replacement. Another way of using it is to make a whipped cream. So if you’re interested in using or learning more about aquafaba, I have found that this site is very interesting and most informative.
I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as my family does.
For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch and icing sugar before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
Recipe Update: I’m currently using the Bob’s Red Mill brand of xanthan gum, as I’m no longer able to buy the Nu-vit brand. I have found by using this brand, I’ve needed to increase the xanthan gum to a slightly heaped ⅛ teaspoon from a level ⅛ teaspoon.
Makes 6, 8 cm tarts
59g (2.1 ounces or ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon) pure icing sugar (I use this brand)
35g (1.2 ounces or ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon) almond meal/flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) superfine white rice flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour)
28g (1.0 ounces or ¼ cup) corn starch
18g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) superfine brown rice flour
A slightly heaped ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) salt
56g (2.0 ounces or ¼ cup) gluten and dairy free butter
¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) pure vanilla extract
1 extra large egg yolk
50g (1.7 ounces) dark chocolate (70%)
30g (1.0 ounces) milk chocolate (I use this brand)
56g (2.0 ounces or ¼ cup) gluten and dairy free butter
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
72g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine sugar
24g (0.8 ounces or 3 tablespoons) white rice flour
5g (0.2 ounces or 1 firmly packed teaspoon) potato starch
8g (0.3 ounces or 1 tablespoon) tapioca starch
7g (0.2 ounces or 1 tablespoon) corn starch
A pinch of salt
Aquafaba Whipped Cream
90ml of chilled liquid from a tin of chickpeas
88g (3.1 ounces or ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) soft icing sugar (I use this brand)
1¼ teaspoons (6.25ml) pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 160C and brush the tart tins with melted gluten and dairy free butter and then lightly flour each tin, I used white rice flour.
To make the base, sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Work the dough with your fingers, rubbing the butter into the flour, until you have a breadcrumb-like consistency.
Now add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, then continue to work the dough some more with your hands, until it comes together into a smooth ball.
Roll the dough, between two pieces of baking paper/parchment, to 3mm in thickness and then cut out rounds slightly larger than the diameter of the tart tin (I used a 9½cm round cutter). Peel away the surrounding dough and place the cut out circle into the tart tin.
Gently ease the dough into the tart tin and press it all around the sides,
before using a rolling pin to roll over the edge, to help trim away any excess.
Use a fork to prick the bases of the tarts, pop them on a tray and then place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
Once the pastry is nicely chilled, line with baking paper and baking beads/beans, which are also known as pie weights. Then blind bake for 6 minutes.
Remove the paper and beads careful, as they will be hot! Then continue to bake for a further 5 minutes.
While the tarts are baking, make a start on the brownie filling. Heat some water in a small saucepan and place a glass bowl over the top (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Once the water has boiled, turn it off. Add the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and butter to the bowl and stir frequently until melted.
Next, sift the flours and salt together. Then once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the sugar and flours, stirring until well combined.
Then add the egg and vanilla extract, before mixing until thick and smooth.
Carefully spoon the filling evenly into the tarts.
Bake for 10 minutes, before reducing the heat to 140C and continue baking for a further 8 minutes. The centres will look soft compared to the edge of the brownie and the top will be slightly sunken.
Leave the tarts to cool in their tins for 30 minutes and, as they cool, the centre of the brownies will sink a little more. They are now ready to eat!
I topped my brownies with a few sliced almonds for crunch, fresh raspberries for a splash of colour and topped it with a dollop of the aquafaba whipped cream. And for the finishing touch, I grated over some dark chocolate. But you can decorate them however you choose. Alternatively, allow them to completely cool on a wire rack and then you can store them in an airtight container. When you’re ready to eat them, all you need to do is gently warm them in a low oven.
To make the aquafaba whipped cream, simply add all the ingredients to a stand mixer, or you can use a handheld mixer, and beat on high for about 10-12 or until stiff peaks form. Cover any leftovers and store in the refrigerator. However, it will separate while sitting for extended periods of time. So all you need to do is whip it again on high, for 2-3 minutes, before serving.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8