Smooth, creamy, chocolate and passionfruit bars with a biscuity gluten-free base. A perfect accompaniment to a mug of coffee!
I made these completely vegan chocolate and passionfruit bars for a gluten free friend who visited a few days ago, because I'm extra. Husband said "look, he's coming for a coffee for like half an hour, just buy some GF cookies at the store" but then immediately regretted it when literal steam blasted out of my ear holes.
Look, I don't know much about gluten free stuff, particularly when it comes to baking, but what I DO know is that I'm a problem solver, and by hook or by crook I was going to figure out a sweet treat solution. The solution, obvs, turned out to be these chocolate and passionfruit bars.
What are chocolate and passionfruit bars?
So these chocolate and passionfruit bars are actually based on a tart I saw in BBC Good Food Magazine a while ago. The recipe was developed by my friend Esther Clarke who's also a super talented food stylist. The minute my beady little eyes locked on it I knew it had to be veganised. Little did I know that I'd ALSO be making it GLUTEN FREE TOO!
The filling and ganache weren't an issue to convert, the passionfruit curd is a simple riff on the filling for my lemon meringue pie and the ganache on top is identical to the topping on my vegan chocolate chip cake. The tricky part was the base! How to make a crisp yet sliceable gluten-free base with a deliciously chocolatey vibe? Well, here's what I did.
Gluten Free Base???
The base is a blend of ground almonds, pecans and cocoa powder all held together with coconut oil and (my fave) psyllium husk powder! Psyllium husk powder appears in these chocolate and passionfruit bars as a way to bind the various dry ingredients together. When you remove gluten from the recipe, things don't bond together quite as well, but psyllium husk powder is SUPER high in fibre and does a wonderful job!
The rest is just sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and a little baking soda to make sure it puffs gently when baking.
So How Do I Make Chocolate and Passionfruit Bars??
I know, I know! You're one of those eager beavers, desperate to find that recipe! The recipe for these chocolate and passionfruit bars is AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE like always! If you're sick of hearing this English man ramble on, scroll down there - but don't complain that you missed the fun bit!
Alright, for all the non-skippers, here's the method breakdown! (also, if you got this far and you're a non-skipper, do me a favour and head to my latest instagram post and comment "Kirstie Alley" - that way I'll know you're one of the good ones.
1. Make the Gluten-Free Base!
This is a simple one! We're basically going to mix all our ingredients into a dough then press into a 23cm square cake tin or brownie tray. Don't worry if you don't have the exact same size or if your tin's rectangular, just don't go trying to spread the base across a 2 metre paella pan.
We're then going to bake it for 25 mins at 175ºc (that's 350ºf - I see you America!) or until nicely crisp and biscuity. Bingo!
2. Make the Vegan Passionfruit Curd!
If you've made vegan lemon curd before, this process will be familiar. We're basically just going to make a VERY thick custard using corn-starch and soy milk then add some passion fruit juice to it, for that nice zingy flavour. Obvs we're going to sieve out those seeds because we want a nice smooth curd, not crunchy seeds please!
Now, here's the tricky bit - passion fruits are SUPER irregular. You're going to need 120ml of passion fruit, but in the times I've tested this recipe, that varied from 5 passionfruits to 10 passionfruits.
My advice is to err on the side of caution and buy TOO MANY passionfruits, if you're able to. This way you won't end up with a curd that lacks in flavour.
3. Make the Vegan Chocolate Ganache!
If you haven't made my chocolate ganache before, it's going to blow your mind. It's SO easy and literally just needs a TINY bit of patience. We're basically going to melt dark chocolate (obvs make sure it's vegan) in some coconut milk (the full-fat stuff from a can). But this technique is so easy.
You bring the coconut milk ALMOST to a boil, add the chocolate then put a lid on and leave it! The chocolate will fully melt over the course of 10-15 mins, then you just whisk it into a beautiful creamy ganache! Eyoh!!!
4. Make it Pretty!
These chocolate and passionfruit bars look their best when DUSTED in rich cocoa and sprinkled with nice chunky cacao nibs. The nibs add a bit of extra texture and deep bittersweet chocolate flavour too.
5. Slice and Serve
Once all the layers are nicely stacked and set, it's time to slice. Use a nice sharp knife and (depending on how thin you slice) you'll get between 8 and 10 bars. Keep them refrigerated until you're ready to eat them and then indulge!
I love serving mine with a nice strong espresso to bring out that deep dark chocolate vibe!
And that's It!
Honestly couldn't be easier for a gorgeous, impressively layered dessert - ideal for all your vegan and GF friends! Wooh! Nobody's left outttt! Except for maybe Ian, but that's because he's a conspiracy theorist with no manners, not because of his diet.
WANT MORE CHOCCY RECIPES!?
Why not try:
Chocolate and Passionfruit Bars
For the Base
- 50 g pecans
- 140 g ground almonds
- pinch sea salt
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon psyllium husk powder
- 3 tablespoon deodorised coconut oil ((melted - aka refined coconut oil))
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Passionfruit Curd
- 5-10 passionfruits ((enough to yield 120ml passionfruit juice))
- 230 ml soy milk ((unflavoured and unsweetened))
- 3 tablespoon caster sugar
- 50 g corn starch
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 400 g can coconut milk ((full fat))
- 25 g icing sugar ((aka confectioners sugar - make sure it's a vegan brand))
- 240 g vegan dark chocolate ((finely chopped))
- 25 g cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
To Make the Base
- Line a square 23cm cake or brownie tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 175ºc.
- Place the pecans in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a coarse meal. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the ground almonds, sea salt, cocoa powder, and psyllium husk powder. Mix well to combine.
- Add the melted coconut oil, water and vanilla extract then mix to combine until you have a dense chocolatey paste.
- Press the base mixture into an even layer in the bottom of the square cake tin. Place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool fully before placing in the fridge to chill.
To Make the Passionfruit Curd
- Halve the passionfruits and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place in a nutmilk bag or wrap with a piece of fine muslin and squeeze out as much juice as you can into a small bowl. You'll need 120ml of passionfruit juice for this recipe.
- In a measuring jug, whisk together the soy milk and caster sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. In a medium saucepan place the cornflour and add the sweetened soy milk. Whisk well until smooth then place over a low heat.
- Whisking constantly, heat until the mixture has thickened dramatically and resembles a paste. Turn off the heat and whisk vigorously until very smooth and glossy.
- Little by little, while still whisking, add the passionfruit juice until it's all combined. While still warm and runny, pour or spoon the passionfruit curd over the base in the square cake tin and spread out flat with the back of a spoon. Once again, leave to cool before transferring to the fridge to chill.
To Make the Chocolate Ganache
- Place the coconut milk in a medium saucepan and whisk in the icing sugar until completely dissolved. Place over a medium-low heat.
- Whisking occasionally, heat the coconut milk until it's just about to boil but do not let it start to bubble. When the surface starts to steam, turn off the heat and immediately add the finely chopped dark chocolate. Do not mix or stir, just make sure all the chocolate is submerged, cover with a lid and leave for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and whisk vigorously until a smooth, runny ganache comes together. Pour over the passionfruit curd and place on a flat counter at room temperature to set for one hour.
- Once an hour has passed, sprinkle the top of the ganache with the cacao nibs and finely sprinkle with the cocoa powder. Leave again to set fully at room temperature for a further 3 hours minimum before slicing into 8 - 10 even rectangular slices.