Monday, August 13, 2012

The inspiration for this sinfully healthy dessert actually came from the film “
Go Further” - Woody Harrelson’s documentary about his Sustainable Organic Living Tour in 2003, where one of his friends makes a raw chocolate avocado pie. After many delicious attempts at making my own, I came up with this very quick and easy recipe that anyone can make, and everyone will eat.

The Skinny on Fat
The most awesome aspect of this dessert (besides how incredible it tastes) is the fact that it supplies your body with some of the best fats on the planet. I realize that fats have gotten a bad rap over the years, but there are so many kinds of fats and knowing which ones are harmful and which ones are healing is crucial to good health and happy eating!

The main ingredient in this dessert is the lovely avocado. Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats - a good kind of fat also found in olive oil, that boasts all sorts of health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and even offering protection against certain cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer. Avocados are also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein, a phytochemical that protects the eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin K, essential for normal blood clotting; calcium to maintain strong bones; folate to combat against Alzheimer’s disease; and vitamin C to boost the immune system. Not bad for a handful of smooth green goodness.
And if that wasn’t enough to fill you up, we’ve got polyunsaturated fats (think those oh-so-elusive Omega 3’s!) from all of the beautiful walnuts. Omega 3 fats are essential, meaning that our bodies cannot produce them and we need to get them from our diet. And why are they so important? Oh, only because they reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, boost the immune system, control viral infections, improve brain function, and relieve symptoms of inflammatory condition such as arthritis. Whatevs. No big deal.

Criminal Choco Mousse Tarts

Maple Walnut Crust
1 ½ cups organic walnuts or macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
a pinch fine sea salt

2t ground flax meal
2t coconut butter

Choco Avocado Mousse
4 ripe avocados
10 very soft dates (soak if necessary in just enough water to cover)
4 Tbsp. raw agave nectar
2 Tbsp. high-quality raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder if you don’t have the other)

Directions:1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add the maple syrup and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is combined. (You can create a smoother crust by blending longer if you like, but in my experience leaving some chunks is a good idea to add contrast against the smooth chocolate pudding).

2. Get out a muffin pan. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the walnut mixture at a time and press into the bottom of a muffin cup. Press firmly so that the walnut mixture is compact and holds together. You should be able to fill about 8 cups with the walnut crust. Refrigerate.

3. Finely chop the soaked dates and puree in vita mix with soak water and agave using a spatula to keep mixture moving.

4. Cut open all the avocados and scoop them out into a clean food processor. Blend. Add the other ingredients and blend to incorporate.

5. Remove walnut crusts by running a knife around the perimeter to loosen, then lift out. If the crust breaks or becomes dented, simply press it back together once it’s out the mold.

6. Spoon a large dollop of avocado mouse on top of the crust base or pipe it in via a large pastry bag. Garnish with whatever fruit you have on hand (fresh berries, banana, dates, pomegranate, pineapple…). Serve to very lucky people ;)

Notes: You can change things up by making a whole tart – simply press the walnut mixture into a tart shell, spoon the avocado pudding on top and slice. If you choose to make a whole tart I typically add a bit of coconut butter to the avo pudding so that the tart will set up in the larger pie shell prior to cutting.
If you have any extra filling, just keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and eat it like pudding. It’s great for breakfast!

Honestly though....this is the kind of dessert that makes you question why on earth you’d ever reach for something full of empty calories, harmful fats, and tons of refined sugar. It really is one of the most delicious and easy to make treats I eat and well of course it is chocolate so how much better can it get?!

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