amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Date almond praline tart

POSTED ON June 26, 2011

date almond praline tart

This was the last dessert that I baked in my old oven.  Since then my kitchen has been undergoing a major renovation and is still not finished. I have greatly missed posting recipes and sharing thoughts on the food that inspires me. I think the most striking thing I have learned in this period of transformation is that I actually really need to cook and that cooking not only nourishes me creatively but also grounds me. I really can’t live without it and I can’t imagine life without my own kitchen again!

This realization struck me one morning when I was sitting in my sister’s cheerful yellow kitchen, sipping tea and stirring oatmeal. I felt everything fall into place, my mood lift and inspiration return. I have been grateful for that sunny kitchen many times these last few months.

It seems a bit silly to be posting a date tart when the green market is overflowing with strawberries; I even spotted the first raspberries there today. But the tart is really delicious and since it’s winter in Australia I thought I would post it anyway.


tart with vanilla bean whipped cream

afternoon tea #1

afternoon tea #2


palm sugar

praline ingredients

assembling tart

topping with praline

ready for guests

Date almond praline tart

My mother sent me this palm sugar from Bali and I used some here in the crust. It has a delicious subtle tropical flavor, is pretty easy to find and often labeled as coconut sugar. You could easily substitute it with maple sugar. I served the tart topped with whipped cream infused with vanilla beans.

Oh and if you use gluten free oats, it’s gluten free!


½ cup toasted almonds

1 cup shredded dried coconut

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup brown rice flour

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup palm sugar, packed

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1 cup pitted dates

½ cup filtered water

3 cardamom pods

2 tablespoon dessert wine or 1 tablespoon mirin

1/8th teaspoon sea salt

1 vanilla bean

2 tablespoons raspberry preserves

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Praline topping

1 ½ tablespoons maple sugar

1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/8th teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Few drops pure almond extract

1 cup flakes almonds

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the crust:

Lightly oil a 9 inch spring form cake pan and set aside. I also like to cover the bottom in parchment paper, but it is not necessary.

Place almonds, coconut and oats in a food processor and grind for about a minute or until fine. Transfer to a medium size mixing bowl and add rice flour, coconut flour, palm sugar and salt. Stir well.

Drizzle in olive oil and coconut oil and mix until flour is moistened. Pour in maple syrup and vanilla and mix again. Mixture should stick together but not stick to your hands, if it is a little dry add a touch more maple or a splash of water. Press evenly onto the bottom of the cake pan and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the filling:

Place dates, water, cardamom pods, dessert wine, vanilla extract and salt in a small pot. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthways and using the tip of a small knife, scrape out seeds and add to dates. Add pod to pot too and bring to boil over high heat, stir, lower heat, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove lid and stir again. Dates should be soft and past-like. If mixture is still a little runny, simmer uncovered until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in raspberry preserves and vanilla extract.

Pick out the cardamom pods and spread mixture onto pre-baked crust and set aside.

To make the topping:

Place maple sugar, maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla and almond extract in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add almonds and gently toss until evenly coated with maple mixture.

Spread date filling evenly over crust and cover with almond praline. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge of pan and removing sides.

POSTED IN Dessert, Gluten free

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  • Marcie says:

    Yay! I’m so excited that you’re back and hope that the renovation is going well.

    I actually have over a kg of organic dates in my fridge at the moment so this recipe is looking like it might be a go-er. Thanks for thinking of the foodies in Australia too (unfortunately my local farmer’s market had zero strawberries yesterday morning, as you can imagine).

    Great to have you back Amy! Looking forward to see what you whip up in your new kitchen.

    Marcie =)

  • Jessica says:

    I love reading your entries – tonight especially your theme hit home. For the first time in a very long time I was alone in my kitchen cooking for my family. Husband, kids, in-laws were all outside enjoying the weather. It was a simple meal; and just the act of dicing the shallot for the salad dressing and then letting it soak in the vinegar for several minutes was wonderful. My kids are very small and most of my time in the kitchen is spent feeling like I can’t move fast enough. It felt good to slow down. I also have dates in my fridge looking for a recipe…and unfortunately strawberry crops are dwindling in Cleveland already.

    Enjoy the new kitchen – and thanks.

  • mihl says:

    I don’t think there’s a wrong time to post a sweet treat with dates! The praline topping reminds me of a cake my boyfriend made a couple of times. I have to show him your recipe!

  • good – mouth-wateringly good – anytime.

  • I hope to see some before and after shots of the renovation. You’re great, always an inspiration.

  • Emma says:

    Thanks for this! It’s a rather cold winter here in aus – this looks lovely and rustic with some of my favourite ingredients.

    Good luck with the renos too!

  • Ana says:

    Wow, it looks and sounds so good! I’d like to make this for some guests who not only cannot have gluten, but also oats. Can you suggest a substitute flour? Maybe buckwheat?

    I’ve been away for a while…congratulations on your new kitchen! Certainly you deserve it!

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