This Chocolate Mousse Tart with Coconut Crust + Fresh Fruit Flowers has the most incredible vegan chocolate mousse filling! You’d never guess that this rich dessert is gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan.
So, we’re a just few days from October and we’ve officially crossed the threshold into fall. How’s everyone feeling about it? I’m feeling…conflicted, as the change of season always does to me, especially in San Diego.
I forgot how disorienting the changing seasons are in San Diego, mostly because…the season’s don’t really change. It’s pretty much: really sunny, sunny, a little breezy, and back to sunny. It’s hard to get into a Fall/Winter mindset when the sun is still shining and it’s 80 degrees out, ya know?
Though…I’m definitely not about to start complaining about warm weather – I’ll take all the sun I can get after five sunshine-deprived years in the gloomy Pacific Northwest. It’s more the food question that leaves me baffled. Should I be eating soup and apple crisps and pumpkin everything when it’s sunny and 75 degrees?
Maybe – but that’s a question for another day. No soup or crisps or otherwise “Fall” food today – just a tart. A beautiful, coconut-crusted, chocolate mousse tart that can be made and enjoyed regardless of the season.
This chocolate mousse tart was made for my dad’s birthday – craving something different than his usual chocolate and peanut butter combination, he requested “a chocolate-something with some sort of coconut crust, maybe with strawberries and mango on top.” I interpreted that, and came up with this beautiful creation.
Let’s start with the bottom – holding this all together is a coconut macaroon crust! It’s super chewy with a little bit of crunch, and it’s so absolutely delicious. It comes together in like two minutes, or as much time as it takes you to gather and measure the few ingredients and then stir them together.
Filling up this tart? The stuff of DREAMS. This chocolate mousse is SO delicious, and it’s alsooo somehow totally vegan and paleo-friendly. I can’t take credit for this creamy dreamy mousse – that award goes to Nicole at Gluten Free On A Shoestring, but I did adapt her original recipe a little bit to suit my needs and tastes.
It’s beyond simple – just a mix of melted dark chocolate, coconut cream, maple syrup, coconut powder, vanilla extract, and salt, whizzed together into creamy chocolate bliss in your food processor or blender. Voila! Make sure to check out the notes about the coconut cream though, especially if you’re not too familiar with it.
And adorning the top of dreamy chocolate mousse? Fresh fruit flowers! To be honest, I had not a clue how this tart was going to be decorated until it was staring plainly back at me. I had not a clue how I wanted to make the requested strawberries and mangos look good on top, so naturally I hopped on Instagram for some inspiration. I got led to secretsquirrelfood, and Karen’s fruit flower videos sucked me in.
Three hours and all the fruit in my kitchen later…I had enough fruit flowers to decorate the tart! I had never ever made a fruit flower before this, and I don’t consider myself to be all too good at things like this, so it may take you less time, or more time. They’re sort of tricky little things, but I found it kinda fun and therapeutic to blast music and make fruit flowers. I linked all the videos I watched obsessively in the instructions below.
Obviously, you can toss the fruit on top and it will be just as delicious, if not as eye-catching. On any other day, I would probably do that. But for a special occasion, the fruit flowers are worth it :) this is a tart I’ll definitely be making again, especially for that HEAVENLY mousse. So good, you guys. I beg you to try it. You’ll thank me. Enjoy!
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Chocolate Mousse Tart with Coconut Crust + Fresh Fruit Flowers (Gluten Free, Paleo + Vegan)
For the crust
For the chocolate filling
- 4 ounces 85% dark chocolate chopped
- 11 ounces coconut cream see Notes
- ⅓ cup (112g) maple syrup
- ½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed, preferably)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
For the topping
- Assorted fresh fruit I used 1 mango, 3 strawberries, 1 kiwi, 1 nectarine, 1 small peach, and 1 dragonfruit
For the crust
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom with coconut oil.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together all of the crust ingredients until they are all moistened and combined.
- Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup or your fingers, evenly press the coconut crust into the bottom and up sides of the prepared pan.
- Bake until golden and firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling with mousse.
For the mousse
- Place the finely chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the chocolate until smooth - heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Once the melted chocolate has cooled down enough, combine the coconut cream, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and melted chocolate in the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender (I used my Vitamix). Cover and blend until the ingredients are completely smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides once to make sure everything is full incorporated. The mousse will be thick enough to spread.
- Scrape the chocolate mousse into the cooled coconut crust and spread it out with an offset spatula, making an even layer.
- Top with fresh fruit, arranging as desired. To make the fresh fruit flowers, I watched and copied videos from Karen McLean’s Instagram - here’s the videos I watched for strawberries, kiwi, mangos, and nectarines. It is time consuming and it takes practice to figure out the technique, but it gets easier once you get the hang of it! Obviously, you can choose to decorate however you’d like!
- Refrigerate the tart for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator.
You can get canned coconut cream from Trader Joe’s, or refrigerate a full-fat can of coconut milk overnight and use the thick, creamy portion that floats to the top of the can, taking care not to mix it with the coconut water in the bottom of the can. You can also use a full 11 oz. box of So Delicious culinary coconut milk.
Mousse recipe adapted from Gluten Free On A Shoestring