*These Pecan + Chocolate & Caramel Coconut Shortbread Tarts are Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, as well as paleo and vegan friendly.
I don’t really like pecan pie.
Actually, I guess I can’t say that since I’ve never really had a true blue southern pecan pie. And maybe I should have. I’ll simply blame my ignorance regarding certain quintessential southern dishes on my father, who happened to live in Mississippi as a child. As a man of the south, he should have introduced me to it at some point. It’s not my fault, I swear.
All ridiculous accusations aside, I really haven’t tried a pecan pie. But I thought it would be fun to make my own spin on one, keeping it free of refined sugar and adding in a few fun ingredients: chocolate and coconut.
Chocolate, coconut, and caramel are a dream team. The three musketeers of the sweet world. They all combine with crunchy pecans to form a holiday-worthy tart that is sweet, salty, crunchy, and saucy (hey coconut caramel!).
Coconut Flour and coconut oil form the base crust, which, when chilled, is crisply decadent and….dare I say buttery? Well, it is.
Chocolate chips and fine, unsweetened shredded coconut are stuffed into the center of the tart while crunchy pecan halves form a decorative circle atop the tarts, glossy with a coconut milk caramel sweetened with honey and coconut palm sugar.
A few tips:
*make sure to weigh out the coconut flour, instead of measuring by volume. Since different brands of coconut flour produce different densities, weighing it out makes for the most consistent outcome. I use store-bought coconut flour some times and sometimes I use a homemade coconut flour that is a byproduct of my Coconut Chocolate Milk and they vary greatly in texture and density….so make sure to weigh!
*Letting your crust dough sit for several minutes after mixing will allow the coconut flour to soak up all the moisture it can and will make it less sticky and easier to work with.
*Make sure to reserve some of the caramel to pour over the tarts after baking. The caramel that is baked with the tarts will settle into the crevices in the chocolate and coconut and will sink down a bit after baking. Reserving a bit of caramel to pour over after will keep the tarts looking glossy and full.
*Serve chilled! Everything is crunchier when cold, especially the crust!
Photos continue after recipe….
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 100 g Coconut Flour*
- large pinch of salt (I prefer Himalayan pink salt)
- 4½ tablespoons Honey (use agave if vegan)
- ⅔ cup Coconut oil, softened but not in a liquid state
- FOR THE CARAMEL:
- 1 can Coconut Milk (full fat)
- ⅓ cup Coconut Palm Sugar
- 3 tablespoons Honey (maple syrup or agave, if vegan)
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- ¼ cup Mini Chocolate Chips (refines sugar free)
- ¼ cup Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
- 40 + Whole Pecan Halves
- FOR THE CRUST:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the coconut flour, salt, honey, and coconut oil in a mixing bowl and stir together until a dough forms. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into four sections. Press each section of dough into a mini tart mold, evenly over the bottom and sides. Place the tart pans on a baking sheet. Bake the crusts in the preheated oven for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown. While the crusts are cooking, make the caramel. Remove tarts from the oven.
- FOR THE CARAMEL:
- Place the coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, honey, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- ASSEMBLING AND BAKING THE TARTS:
- Once the tart crusts have been removed from the oven, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut over the bottom of each one. Place 10-11 pecans in each tart, on top of the coconut and chocolate. You'll place one pecan in the center of the tart and the other 9-10 in a circle around the center pecan.
- Divide the caramel sauce between the four tarts, pouring over the pecans. You may have a little sauce left over. Reserve this to pour over the tarts after baking.
- Place the tarts back in the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the caramel begins to bubble.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Divide any caramel sauce that is left over between the tarts and the caramel that was baked will sink down into filling a bit.
- let cool on a wire rack and place in the fridge.
- Remove tarts from molds and serve cold** with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tart recipe inspired by these fabulous Magic Bars from Food Faith Fitness