Chocolate Mousse Tarts with Salted Oat Crust

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would be a good excuse to experiment with vegan baking. Aside from cheese, the eggs and butter in baked goods were the main animal products in my diet, so I have a lot to learn when it comes to baking without them. But these vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust prove that eating vegan doesn’t mean going without dessert.

These vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust would make an amazing Valentine's Day dessert, but they're easy enough for an everyday treat

Also, when else do you really have an excuse to make heart-shaped food? Of course you could do it whenever you want, but that might be a bit much for most of us. Last year I made heart-shaped pizza, so it’s practically a tradition now.

I found these heart ramekins at a thrift store, and these are similar, but a bit smaller. You can certainly skip the hearts entirely, though, and either make round individual tarts, or one big tart. I expect mini heart tart pans like these would work well, too.

These vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust would make an amazing Valentine's Day dessert, but they're easy enough for an everyday treat

These vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust would make an amazing Valentine's Day dessert, but they're easy enough for an everyday treat

Here’s a little trick that I can’t remember where I picked up: If you want to make sure you can get the tarts out of the ramekins intact, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom, and two long strips. Criss-cross the strips under the bottom liner, and then after the tarts are done, you can use the parchment paper strips to pull out the tart.

These vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust would make an amazing Valentine's Day dessert, but they're easy enough for an everyday treat

These vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust would make an amazing Valentine's Day dessert, but they're easy enough for an everyday treat
Wouldn’t these be fun for  Galentine’s Day party? Who says you need a romantic partner to indulge in chocolate and champagne?
These vegan chocolate mousse tarts with salted oat crust would make an amazing Valentine's Day dessert, but they're easy enough for an everyday treat

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Tarts with Salted Oat Crust

Crust
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted, slightly cooled
1/4 cup light agave syrup (nectar)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mousse
180 g (about 6 1/4 oz, or 1 1/2 cups) chopped vegan dark chocolate
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 hours to overnight, water discarded
12.3 oz package of extra-firm silken tofu (the vacuum-packed kind that’s shelf-stable, not the refrigerated kind)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar, or vegan brown sugar

Topping
1/2 Tbsp cocoa nibs
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped hazelnuts
pinch flaked sea salt

Crust
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Pulse oats, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, agave, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until oats are coarsely ground and mixture looks like wet sand.
If using ramekins, line the bottoms of 6-8 ramekins with parchment paper trimmed to fit.
Firmly press crust mixture into bottom and up the sides of heart ramekins, or a 9-inch-diameter or a 13 3/4×4 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake until crust is golden brown and smells toasty, 15-20 minutes for individual tarts, or 20–25 minutes for one large tart. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Mousse
While the crusts are cooling, prepare the mousse. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat. In a food processor, combine the melted chocolate with the rest of the mousse ingredients, and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Assembly
Spoon the mixture on top of the cooled crusts, smoothing out with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When the tarts are set, remove from refrigerator and sprinkle with mixture of cocoa nibs, chopped hazelnuts, and flaked sea salt.

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