Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Tart Dough

This dough makes a tender, flaky chocolate crust that doesn’t get soggy. It’s not too sweet either, so it’s the perfect contrast to a chocolate banana cream filling. It would also go great with raspberries. The dough can be frozen or baked after shaping it into a pie crust, tart shell or cookies.

I used refined organic coconut oil because the coconut taste is barely noticeable, while unrefined coconut oil has a definite coconut flavor. It’s important to melt the coconut oil and then thoroughly chill the oil, sugar and egg mixture before continuing with the recipe. It’s hard to cream solid coconut oil, but the sugar will completely dissolve if you use melted coconut oil, which creates a tender crust. The coconut oil should be about 76° F (24° C), the point where it becomes liquid; any hotter and the egg will cook when you add it.  It’s also important to use cold flours, which shouldn’t be a problem since most gluten-free flours should be stored in the fridge or freezer to keep them from becoming rancid. Using cold ingredients instead of room temperature ones may seem odd but it keeps the dough at just the right temperature and helps you shape the dough without it crumbling. It can be tricky to bake with coconut oil, but by following these steps you should get good results.

While it’s easier to shape the dough into a pie crust, you can also use it to make a free-standing tart. This is a fragile dough, so it takes some practice to get it into a tart pan in one piece. I feel like Goldilocks saying this, but the dough can’t be too hot or too cold- it has to be just right.

This is a recipe that works best in a stand mixer, as your body heat will warm the dough if you mix it by hand. If you don’t have a stand mixer, then use a hand-held mixer until the cocoa powder is mixed in. Use your hands to mix in the flour, kneading it until a pasta-like dough forms. You will probably be able to form a pie crust, but the dough may be too warm to successfully shape it into a tart shell. The dough will be fine if you want to make cookies with it. You can put the dough in the fridge to chill, but if the dough gets too cold it will break into pieces when you try to put it into a pan.

If you don’t want to bother with a pie crust or a tart shell, roll the dough between two sheets of plastic until it’s a 1/4 inch (.64 cm) thick and cut it into shapes with a cookie cutter. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. They will be fragile at first, but will become sturdier as they cool. The cookies taste great with chocolate pudding.

Click here for an easy gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate banana cream pie filling that doubles as pudding.

June 7, 2013:  Cocoa powder recently tested moderately high in FODMAPs at the Monash University lab, which means this recipe may no longer be considered suitable for a low-FODMAP diet. Here’s a link to what dietician Patsy Catsos has to say on the topic:

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Tart Dough

Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) tart shell or pie crust

116 grams (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) coconut oil, melted, tepid
54 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
1 extra-large egg, cold
1 teaspoon (5 ml) coconut flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) guar gum
1/2 teaspoon(2.5 ml) almond extract
24 grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
94 grams (2/3 cup) super fine brown rice flour, cold
32 grams (3 tablespoons) potato starch, cold
16 grams (2 tablespoons) tapioca flour, cold
One 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan or loose-bottom tart pan, buttered

Put the melted coconut oil in a stand mixer bowl and add the sugar, egg, coconut flour, vanilla, guar gum and almond extract. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high until the sugar dissolves and it turns pale yellow and fluffy. Release the paddle attachment into the bowl and put the bowl in the fridge for an hour. The mixture must be thoroughly chilled and solid before continuing. Take the bowl out of the fridge and re-attach the paddle. Add the cocoa powder and beat on medium-high until the cocoa is completely absorbed into the coconut oil mixture. Whisk the remaining flours together in a small bowl then add the blend to the dough. Beat the mixture on medium-high until a pasta-like dough forms. This will take a few minutes. Don’t worry about over-mixing the dough- it doesn’t have any gluten so it won’t get tough, no matter how long it takes to form a solid dough. Turn the mixer off when the dough forms a ball and use a spatula to scrape out any remaining bits of dough.

Turn the dough onto a 12 inch (30 cm) sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a small, flat circle. Place another 12 inch (30 cm) sheet of plastic wrap on top, carefully smoothing it out so that there are no wrinkles. Use a rolling-pin and carefully roll it into an 11 inch (28 cm) circle. Remove the top sheet of plastic. Make sure the tart or pie pan is near by. Hold the dough by the edges of the bottom piece of plastic and quickly flip the dough over the top of the pan. Center it and use your fingers to ease the dough into the edges of the pan, pressing down on the plastic that’s now covering the top of the dough. Make sure the dough is evenly pressed against the sides of the pan. Gently peel away the remaining sheet of plastic.

If you’re making a tart, press the dough over the edges of the pan and run the rolling-pin around the edge so that the excess dough is trimmed off evenly. If you’re making a pie, carefully turn under the edge of the dough and use your fingers to crimp the edge. If the dough breaks, press it back together with your fingers and smooth over the mended spot. Use a fork to prick holes all over the bottom of the dough, then place the pan in the fridge until the dough is firm. You can also freeze the crust at this stage.

Place the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Cut a 12 inch (30 cm) piece of parchment paper, then place the tart or pie pan in the center and use a marker to trace around the pan. Fold the parchment paper into quarters, matching up the lines of the circle. Cut 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) from the line. Then, starting 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) from the folded edge, snip from the cut edge to the line every 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). Unfold the parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the chilled or frozen dough. Fill the tart or pie pan with dried beans or rice. The snipped edges of the parchment paper will overlap so that the beans don’t touch the dough.

Put the pan on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven. Don’t put the pan in the oven by itself or you will have a difficult time getting it out of the oven without touching the cooked crust, which will be very fragile until it cools. Bake the crust for 25 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and use a large spoon to carefully scoop out the beans. Gently remove the parchment paper and return the cookie sheet to the oven. Bake for 10 more minutes. Add 5 more minutes if the crust was frozen. Slide the pan onto a wire rack after it comes out of the oven and let it cool completely before touching. The crust may be refrigerated or frozen before filling. It’s not necessary to defrost the crust before filling it.

25 thoughts on “Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Tart Dough

  1. This is a naughty cake, this is something I could enjoy right now and my 90 year old mum would love it too. Sadly nothing for me to start on … because of my patience. This is some wonderful cake – gluten free or not.

    • I was giving these away right and left while I was working on the recipe- everyone loved it. Even better, I don’t think anyone realized it was gluten-free.

      • It looks like million dollars and I’m sure it tasted fantastic … a pity I wasn’t around when you were giving them away. *smile .. love cakes with NO calories.

    • Thanks! This was one of those miracle shots- I only have a couple of hours a day when the light is right and just as I was ready to take the pictures, it clouded over and started raining. I was so lucky to get this one!

  2. Gasp! Drool…oh my Lord, I am going to have to make this – it looks so delicious! Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my homemade granola post as well!

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