This tart is hearty and the center is creamy and similar to a cheesecake. The spice is not overwhelming, yet it is exotic, with cayenne pepper enhancing the combination of cardamom and cinnamon that bring a different dimension to dark chocolate and almond flavors.
1/2 cup vegan butter substitute, slightly softened but not at room temperature
1/2 cup soy cream cheese
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup blanched almonds, ground
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon cardamom powder
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegan butter substitute
1 cup soy cream cheese
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne pepper (use a couple extra shakes if you are daring)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
Beat the vegan butter substitute, cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer or wooden spoon until creamy. Add the ground almonds, flour and cardamom and knead with your hands until just combined. Do not overwork the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least a half an hour, and up to two days.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. If you don’t have one you can use a 9×9 square pan. Press the dough into the pan and up the sides. Bake for 25 minutes then let cool.
To make the filling, melt the chocolate, sugar and vegan butter in a double boiler over gently simmering water or in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave. Add the mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the cream cheese, soymilk, cornstarch or arrowroot, vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour into the cooled crust.
Sprinkle the almonds over the filling and press down slightly so they stick. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set, but there is still movement in the center of the filling.
Let cool then cover loosely and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving. Keep refrigerated.