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I generally don’t bake because it can be so time-consuming. And when you’re not using standard flours or sugars, it can often be expensive, too. So my autoimmune protocol-friendly desserts tend to be fruit, plain and simple. Maybe a smoothie or a bit of “nice cream”. Peaches with just a drizzle of honey. Warm pears sprinkled with cinnamon. Mmf. I mean, does that stuff sound amazing to anyone else? One of my favorite things about my time on the autoimmune protocol, aside from the fact that it made me feel so much better, is that it taught me to really appreciate fruit as a sweet. And how good food could really be as simple as finding a perfectly ripe orange.
But then, there are occasions in life that call for something a little more elaborate. For me, February not only includes Valentine’s Day right smack in the middle, but my anniversary is also in February. And this year, we’re celebrating our 10th. (I can’t believe we’re that much older than when we met already – it still feels like yesterday – but never mind that.) So I took full advantage of the occasion to try my hand at something I’d been wanting to do for a while, but kept putting off because of that aforementioned aversion to baking.
“Chocolate” tart shells using carob with a creamy, fluffy strawberry-coconut filling. An endeavor that was worth every second and every penny to celebrate our special occasion with. For variations, use raspberries, blackberries, or cherries instead of strawberries and adjust the amount of honey to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine the strawberries, coconut cream, honey, and vanilla powder in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a food processor, combine the dates, shredded coconut, and carob powder. Process until a fine, somewhat sticky flour is formed, 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your processor.
- With your hands, press 2 tablespoons of the flour into each of the wells of a standard-sized muffin tin. The flour will compact and rise slightly up the sides of the well. Depending on how sticky your flour is, this may work best with wet hands.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool to room temperature. The tart shells should be dry and firm enough to pop out of the muffin tin. If they still feel a little squishy, return them to the oven for up to 5 more minutes.
- When cool, spoon about a tablespoon of the strawberry filling into each shell. Refrigerate to set at least 30 minutes before serving.