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Ice cream and chilled desserts

Vegan chocolate and citrus tart

Prep time 20 minutes | Chilling time 6 hours
serves 12 people

Photography by Tracey Creed
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed

Published October 1 2022


1 cup cashews
34 cup desiccated coconut
13 cup cacao powder
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp filtered water
12 cup pitted dates, soaked for half an hour
34 cup coconut oil
12 cup raw cacao butter
1 14 cups cashews, soaked for a minimum of 2 hours
13 cup + 1 tablespoon filtered water
3 tbsp lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
34 cup pitted dates, soaked for a half hour
13 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1 12 tsp vanilla extract
12 tsp sea salt
cacao nibs to garnish


Add all the base ingredients, excluding dates, to a food processor and process into a fine flour.

Add dates and process again. The mixture should hold together - add an extra tablespoon of water if required.

Line the bottom of a 21cm round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with coconut oil. Add base mixture and press down firmly with the palm of your hand.

Place in the fridge while you make the filling.

Melt coconut oil and raw cacao butter separately in a water bath and set aside.

Add cashews, water, lemon juice and zest to a high-speed blender and process. Add remaining ingredients, except the coconut oil and cacao butter, and process to a smooth consistency.

Transfer the mixture to your food processor, and gradually add your melted coconut oil and cacao butter while processing on low speed.

Continue processing until your mixture is combined and thick and shiny.

Remove the base from the fridge and spread over the filling. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Once set, garnish with cacao nibs, additional lemon zest and sea salt flakes.

This tart will store for 4 - 5 days in the fridge.

On trends, veganism, past lives and dessert

The recipe for this chocolate and citrus tart has been sitting on my Google Drive for years. It was one recipe that a friend had passed to me who was deeply invested in organics and veganism and introduced me to Matthew Kenney and dehydrating. At the time, I was working for Ceres Organics and part of my job was curating and photographing recipes. This was 2015 and raw desserts were huge, in part due to Taline Gabriel, who really was responsible for the renewed interest. Also, through working for an organic food company, you realise that while you are part of something bigger and that even though that way of life was trending, it’s been around.

At the time, there wasn’t much in the way of alternative or health foods in the supermarket. You still had to shop at a health food store. Oat milk was not a thing. This was 2017, so pre a lot of things. There was a saturation of cafés and cold pressed juice places. GoodFor had just opened in Ponsonby and it was exciting.

People were buying into diets like raw vegan and paleo. I think people have always looked to diet as a way to feel better and be healthier. When I left my job in 2018, it felt different, places had closed; they were obviously losing money. And Taline had also pivoted. This was at a time when Instagram had defined the visual culture of food, and content creators had homogenised food culture, but that is changing. I think it has changed, and the anti-aesthetic has become the trending aesthetic.

General trendiness ran amok and I was not wanting to follow those trends. Amandine and I were wanting to celebrate day-to-day cooking— which is how most people live, utilising simple ingredients prepared with attention and care. Aside from that, we felt strongly about making informed decisions around our health and where we put our money. And we wanted to share these learnings with others.

Every moment with food is an opportunity to nourish ourselves with Mother Earths’ offerings, which connects us with the source. We want to know how the food items we purchase impact our bodies and our planet. Who grew this food and are they paid fairly, do they live well? Where did it grow? Transportation? Pesticides/herbicides/fungicides/GMO? Plastic packaging? We also know it is a huge privilege to look at food this way and have choices around it.

There was a time in my life when I did not have a healthy relationship with food, to diet. Today, instead I celebrate my body and the Earth. I do not put any judgement on myself or feel guilt around what or how I eat. Dessert included. As I’ve become more attuned to what works for my body and encourage others to do the same. I want to love what I eat, knowing that I am feeding my body what will make it feel strong, capable and nourished and more importantly to enjoy sharing meals with people I love. Make this tart and share it with your loves.

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