Last week the @sundaybakeclub challenge was caramel. Normally I’d be all over that like a fashionista over a Prada bag. (Was going to go for a pig in muck but thought I might alienate some of my city living readers) Honestly, I would kill for a decadent salted caramel treat. But the Gorgeous One and I are trying to be good so any normal recipe involving caramel was straight out the window due to the quantities of refined sugar and butter involved.
Not wishing to give up I turned to my trusty friend Google, and in turn I was led to some new (to me) food bloggers. Hurrah, salvation at last! One common way of making a healthier caramel is to use coconut milk (The Iron You) but I’m not a big coconut fan – Bountys will only ever be eaten after all other options have been exhausted! I also found Nadia who has an amazing recipe for a Healthier Date and Cashew Caramel Chocolate Slice. I have used half the quantity of Nadia’s Caramel filling but combined it with a low fat chocolate oat pastry to make my decadent but healthier version of a caramel tart.
By the time I had finished my research and planning, I’d run out of time to bake for the competition but decided to make it anyway the following weekend. The end result is sweet and rich yet also light due to absence of refined sugar. It is not sugar free as it has the naturally occurring sugars from the dates and honey but has far less calories than a normal caramel tart. Serve with a splash of single cream for a truly decadent dessert without the guilt.
|(8 Servings)||(12 Servings)|
|Calories – 373||Calories – 249|
|Fat – 20.2g||Fat – 13.5 g|
|Carbs – 41.6g||Carbs – 27.7g|
|Protein – 9.2g||Protein – 6.1g|
Low Fat Chocolate Oat Pastry
- 100g Rolled Oats
- 50g Wholemeal Flour
- 1 ½ tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 50ml of Vegetable Oil
- 4 tbsp Water
- 1 Egg
- 1 Scoop (30g) Whey Protein (Optional)
Date and Cashew Caramel
- 125g Cashews
- 200g Dried & pitted Dated
- 100ml Boiling Water
- 25g Butter
- ½ tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 50g White Chocolate
As this was my first time making Nadia’s recipe for the Date and Cashew Caramel I made this first but I would advise you to start with the pastry in terms of time management.
As finding oat flour can be a pain, I make my own using my trusty Nutribullet and its fabulous milling blade. This also works if you want to make your own ground almonds or other nut flours. Sift together the oat flour, wholemeal flour, cocoa powder, and the whey protein if using. I added this to increase the protein content but if leaving out add 25g more of flour otherwise you will have a wet pastry dough. I sift to ensure I don’t get clumps of any one ingredient but as I am using wholemeal flour you will get some residual flakes, just tip these back in.
In a separate jug lightly whisk the vegetable oil and the water together. As it emulsifies it will become cloudy but keep on whisking until it starts to thicken. Beat the egg and add with the water oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Now get your fingers stuck in bring it together into a dough ball. One of the reasons I get on so well with pastry and bread is because you can really get stuck in with your hands (yes I was a mucky child). Wrap the ball of dough in cling film and chill in the fringe for 15mins. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
The cashews will need to be softened so can be left overnight or just cover with water in a saucepan and boil for 15 mins. Look at that the same amount of time as the pastry is chilling, almost like it was meant to be. Drain the cashews and let them cool for a few minutes. Now if you are fantastic and can multitask (why do women predominantly get this superpower) then you can prepare the dates simultaneously. Add 100 ml of boiling water to the dates in a saucepan and gently stir until all the water has been absorbed or evaporated. The dates will break down fairly quickly into a thick mushy paste.
While the pastry is baking it is now time to make the caramel. Add the dates, cashews, honey, vanilla extract and butter into a food processor. The butter melts due to the heat of the dates and the cashews and gives just enough liquid for the food processor to work. As this was the first time I had tried this recipe I wanted to make sure I didn’t break the Nutribullet, otherwise the Gorgeous One would have eviscerated me. Luckily we have a secondary food processor that we mainly use for soups. Pulse and blend, then open and stir and repeat to make sure all the nuts and dates get blitzed. The end result is a thick caramel like paste. If you still have a few pieces of cashew then don’t worry it adds to the texture of the finished caramel.
Spread the caramel over the bottom of the pastry case and chill for 4 hours. Now as this is a lovely but extremely brown dessert with the chocolate pastry and the dark caramel from the dates I decorated mine with some melted white chocolate just to make it look a little prettier. Because this is such a small quantity of chocolate I wanted to ensure I got the maximum onto the tart so I put the chocolate in a piping bag and then dipped the bag into a mug of recently boiled water to melt the chocolate. I dried the end of the piping bag that had been in the water with some kitchen towel as we all know water and chocolate are not the best of friends. I snipped off the end and piped zigzags of white chocolate. Must admit I did finish the small amount of leftovers by piping it directly into my mouth!
I think next time when I make this I won’t use a chocolate pastry as it was a bit of a brown overload to the eye. The Gorgeous One certainly enjoyed it (and seconds!) but a lighter pastry would definitely add more contrast.