Start 2024 with a plan that works for you!GET COACHED


Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tart with Fresh Strawberries

Fresh strawberries make the perfect topping on this dark chocolate hazelnut tart.

Angela's Featured on
by Angela Gallardo in Desserts, Recipes
hazelnut tart

hazelnut tart

hazelnut tart

hazelnut tart

If you are a loyal reader (thank you, I love you!), you know I’m on an anti-sugar campaign, so today I will teach you how to make this fantastic hazelnut tart which only uses dates as  sweetener. My avoidance of sugar is not only due to current Whole30 efforts, but because of my long-running struggles with candida and leaky gut.

If you aren’t familiar, here’s a basic rundown…

Candida (aka candidiasis or the c. albicans strain) is a yeast infection that most commonly occurs in the gut.  This strain of yeast is present in all of us. However, candidiasis is only diagnosed when the presence of the yeast grows beyond normal ranges.  Antibiotics are the most common cause of this; they kill off your good gut flora while killing the bad stuff too, allowing an overgrowth of c. albicans. It can also be caused or worsened by stress, a highly acidic diet (highly processed foods, including dairy, hydrogenated oils, etc), or a parasitic infection, to name a few.

The most common symptoms of candida include:  fatigue, gassiness, bloating, sugar cravings, and weight gain.   Many of the GI symptoms demonstrate much like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and are often misdiagnosed by mainstream MDs who are not familiar with candida.  This was the case for me, starting back in 2007 when I returned from a 6-month stay in Honduras.  I’d contracted a parasite, which infected my gut so strongly that I was severely lacking in good flora, an environment perfect for candida overgrowth.

I saw many doctors, initially holistic/naturopathic, but eventually resorted to one at a parasite specialty center.  This Dr. urged me to take antibiotics. In my desperation to end the then 2-year streak of symptoms, I gave in.  Immediately following a run through 2 different antibiotics, I began to notice I could no longer eat mushrooms without having an anaphylactic reaction.  About 2 months after taking the antibiotics (summer 2009), I had a pretty serious attack. That ended up being the very last time I ever I ate mushrooms. 🙁

All of this led me to an eagerness to learn as much as I could about candida and what I now know to be leaky gut.   Leaky gut is a condition where candida growth increases to a point that it causes a weakening and inflammation of your intestinal wall and a resulting permeability of your intestinal tract (or the GI mucosa, as cited here in Wikipedia).  This penetration of your GI tract leaks partially digested food particles into the blood, triggering a strong immune response to these “foreign” particles in your blood.  The result is often increased sensitivity to certain foods and in some cases, a full blown anaphylactic food allergy.

What’s sad is if you do not know you have a candida problem OR you know you do but are unaware of how to treat it, you are continuing to cause greater food insensitivities in your body every time you eat.   One important step I took recently was to get an IgG allergy test.  To clarify, this is different from the IgE scratch allergy test that many are familiar with.  IgE measures immediate response (e.g. anaphylactic), where IgG measures the body’s long-term resistance, or “intolerance,” to foods (generally a reaction that happens 24-48 hrs AFTER it’s consumed).  IgG reactions are hard to pinpoint on your own, being that you’ll eat a food and the symptoms are so delayed that you feel crappy (headache, mild GI discomfort, poor quality sleep, moodiness/hormone imbalance) and you just can’t figure out why.

The results of my IgG test have shed a fair amount of light on the path I need to take for better health.  From the start of our Whole30, I’ve eliminated those foods that scored highest on my test and the results have been astronomical.  I eliminated sugar, one of the first steps to take if you suspect you have candida issues, as well as those other foods that have been wearing my body down and keeping my gut from achieving the balance I need. My objective is to avoid these foods for 3-6 months to allow my body to heal. Then, I’ll begin to reintroduce them one at a time to see how I handle them.

I share this information with you in hopes that it will reach someone’s ears that may be struggling with some of the same issues.  If you have even the slightest inclination that you may be dealing with a candida overgrowth, this website is very helpful to give more info and direction.  Also, don’t hesitate to message me; I’ll be happy to share more of the things that I’ve done to find healing.

So today I share a recipe that I’m pretty proud of, both for it’s sugar-free-ness but also because it truly satisfies the chocolate lover in me.   In an effort to make more truly sugar-free recipes available here at Bare Root, I finally explored using date paste.  It took a little experimentation but I found a consistency I’m happy with which sufficiently sweetens this chocolate tart.  Just dates and water pureed together and you’ve got a WONDERFUL substitution for agave, honey, or maple syrup.

The crust can be made with any nut you have on hand.  As usual, I went straight to the hazelnut.  Partly because I had some meal/flour to use up.  The texture of the tart is like a thick, rich ganache.   If you substitute coconut oil for the coconut butter, you’ll lose the benefits of the fiber in the butter but gain a smoother consistency, think softer ganache. Both are equally rich and delicious but I gravitate to the butter because the extra fiber will offset the sweetness of the dates and lessen the blow to blood sugar.  Also, fiber is more candida friendly!  And speaking of fiber:  if divided into 14 slices (it’s very rich so you may even be able to get more slices than that out of it), there are over 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per slice!

Ok, well if you are still reading, thank you thank you.  How was your weekend? Do you have room for some chocolate hazelnut tart in your life right now? I hope so.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tart with Fresh Strawberries

Yields:  1 9-inch tart, approx. 14 slices

For the crust: 


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine hazelnut meal, cacao nibs, and sea salt and pulse for about 30 seconds to break up the cacao nibs.  Add the dates and coconut oil. Process for 60 seconds, or until the dates are fully incorporated and the mixture sticks together when pinched.
  2. Press evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan (with removable base) and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

To use raw hazelnuts:  Place 2 c. frozen hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground.  Be careful not to process for too long or it will turn into hazelnut butter.  2 c. hazelnuts will yield approx. 1 1/2 c. meal/flour.

For the filling: 


  1. Place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor in the order listed (so cacao powder is not on bottom).  Process for 1-2 minutes, or until mixture is a smooth texture, much like a chocolate pudding.   If using coconut oil, your mixture will be a bit thinner in consistency but will still set up well in the fridge.
  2. Pour mixture into the chilled crust and smooth out with an offset spatula or back of a knife.  Chill for 30+ minutes before slicing and serving.
  3. Serve with fresh strawberries (or any other fresh berry you have!).  Keep refrigerated.

Homemade Date Paste

Yields:  2 cups

  • 15 medjool dates (you will need more if you using the smaller noor dates)
  • 1 1/2 c. filtered water
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Pit your dates and cut into chunks.  Place in the carafe of a high-powered blender, along with the water.  Soak for 10 minutes before blending.  This will help yield a smoother paste.
  2. Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes until mixture is very smooth.
  3. Adjust the water based on your personal taste.  The recipe listed here will give a slightly runny paste, close to the consistency of honey, which is ideal for use in the tart.  Add less water to create a thicker paste for spreading.

Go back to all BRG recipes…

  1. Megan says:

    I am totally looking forward to trying this! (I have a grumpy sugar free man friend that needs cheering up)
    Also I just wanted to stay thanks you for talking about candida. My housemate has been complaining about the same stuff and I think this article could really help her 🙂
    -Megan (
    Once again your photos are breath taking as well 🙂

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Haha, this tart has got to cheer any grumpy sugar-free man up! It worked for my husband, at least. 🙂

      I’m glad you can pass the candida info to your housemate! I really hope it helps. Candida is nasty stuff.

      And thank you for the kind word on my photos 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    Hi Angela,
    I just found your blog and am really enjoying it! I too suffer from extensive food allergies and just recently had candida, IgE, IgG, and IgA tests done to determine what exactly I’ve been suffering from. I found all of the tests very helpful in bettering my health, and it sounds like you have too! I love that you’re on a sugar-free kick, as I’m always looking for healthful dessert recipes for me and my family. This tart looks delicious, and I look forward to exploring more of your blog! 🙂

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Hi Lauren!
      Thank you for your thoughtful message! I’m so glad you came across the blog. It’s great to hear a story of someone else benefiting from the allergy tests and I truly hope that you find some relief from the new information you have. 🙂

  3. Clarice Backus says:

    Just wanted to thank you so much for this recipe! My family is on day 22 of Whole30 and we need a little inspiration to keep going and finish strong. Love the date paste recipe–thank you! I’ve been subbing dates for sugar in some of the standard paleo muffin recipes (we need muffins for my two little boys!)

    So glad I found your blog. Best!

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Hi Clarice! I’m so happy to hear that you found a little inspiration for your Whole30! We had a rough time this past week (days 11-17 or so) but we’ve really tried to reengage this week and finish strong. I’m impressed you’re doing it with kids! It’s hard enough with just the two of us.

      I just discovered using dates and I can’t believe it took me this long! I haven’t tried them in muffins, just bananas so far. Anyway, thanks for your sweet words. Best of luck in your last week! 🙂

      1. Clarice Backus says:

        Hi again! So I just wanted to pop back over to say that I made this tart tonight for my husband and it. is. divine!! What a life saver. I will definitely make it for company in the future. Thanks again. Best to you!

        1. Angela Gallardo says:

          Hi again, Clarice! I’m glad you stopped in again to give feedback! Next time you make it, am I invited? 🙂

          You guys are almost done with your Whole30, congrats! We’re starting our second one today, yikes!

    2. Angela Gallardo says:

      Oops, I meant days 18-24!

  4. Beautiful recipe! Looks so indulgent and decadent, you would never know it’s actually made of healthy stuff. I used to follow a low sugar diet and felt great on it, I really should get back to it and it’s recipes like this that make it seem much less daunting 🙂

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Thanks for sharing, Aimee! 🙂

  5. Carina says:

    This looks heavenly, and thank you so much for the info on food sensitivity testing (IgG)! I also love the stand you presented this on, it is beautiful!

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Thanks Carina! It’s from Cost Plus World Market!

  6. Sasha says:

    Can I ask about Candida and dates? It’s my understanding dates are super high in sugar (albeit natural, non-processed sugar). Does that not feed/worsen Candida?

    I’ve recently learned I have Candida and am trying to figure out if I need to cut out ALL forms of sugar…or only those that are of the processed variety…


    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Hey Sasha, thanks for your question! If you’ve just recently discovered you have Candida and are looking to begin an anti-Candida diet, yes it is best to eliminate ALL forms of sugar (including fruits, etc). This site has been very helpful for me: She does sell a book but I don’t think it’s necessary to buy it unless you feel really lost at this point. I also have a good PDF I can email you if you’re interested.

      Curious, when you were tested for Candida, did you get a level on the presence of the overgrowth? It’s good to know how severe yours is to determine how long you need to do an extreme sugar elimination diet. I can’t tell you how long to do it for but I do know that once you’ve done an extreme elimination for a period of time, you can start to introduce natural sugars back in.

      This tart is an example of a food to reintroduce as you continue to heal from candida. It easily serves 14 slices, meaning each slice has about 1 date, or 10 grams of carbs. Combined with the fiber, the "sugar" impact on your gut is very minimal.

      An important thing to remember about treating Candida is that it’s more than just avoiding sugar. As you increase good gut flora through probiotics, fermented foods, etc, you will be able to continue to fight the Candida even while adding some sugars back in.

      Loooong answer, sorry! I have a lot of info so if you wanna talk more, email me [email protected]! Good luck! 🙂

      1. Sasha says:

        I just emailed you…

        A huge, Texas-sized thank you (in advance) for any guidance/insight/direction on this topic!

  7. Alison says:

    I’ve made this twice now and love it! It’s making being sugar free easy. Thanks.

  8. Bianca says:

    Gosh! This looks great and delicious. Love that’s only coconut, dates and cocoa. I was searching the web for a paleo dessert and most of them include almound flour. The thing is: I’m from Brazil and I can’t find the almound flour, so I gotta do my own and it really does not turn out like flour.
    I’ll definetely try this tart! <3

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Hey Bianca! So glad you came upon the tart recipe! Funny you mention the almond flour, I’ve been getting more and more requests for desserts without it. Either people can’t get a good one, like you, or they have nut allergies. So check back, I’m going to be posting more of them! 🙂

  9. Jenna says:

    I made this last week for a girls night…to die for!

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Awesome! So glad to hear it.

  10. April says:

    I made your amazing tart! It all tasted delicious however, it didn’t set 🙁 even after hours in the fridge?
    Any suggestions on what I may of done wrong? I did use coconut oil instead of the butter, would that be why?
    Thanks April x

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Hey April, I’m so sorry it didn’t set up for you. It would definitely not be because you subbed coconut oil, as it becomes solid at chilled temps. A couple of thoughts…did you use only 1 cup of date paste? The date paste recipe alone will yield twice that and I apologize if that caused any confusion.
      Otherwise, if you used the exact measurement for cacao powder and full-fat (not light) coconut milk, it should’ve set up. I’m going to give it another go soon to troubleshoot and I’ll get back to you if I find any issues with the recipe.
      Thanks for your feedback!

  11. Jennifer says:

    This is sooooo incredibly delicious. My girlfriend made it last night and I will be making it too. Have also shared it on Facebook. Thank you for such a great tasting, yet healthy recipe. Just a side note, she served it with a mixed berry sauce and natural yoghurt instead of the strawberries.

    1. Angela Gallardo says:

      Wow, mixed berry sauce and yogurt sounds like a great idea for topping. You’re inspiring me to do something different than strawberries next time! I’m happy you guys enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

  12. Jacqueline says:

    I made this for a work related summer party. I subbed out hazelnut flour for almond flour due to what I had at hand. Nevertheless someone asked me the crust was made from a skore bar! Also there were a few diabetics at the party that were so grateful that I brought something with no added sugar. Lovely dessert, thank you for sharing this.

    1. Wow, a Skor bar..that’s amazing! I’m really pleased it went over so well for your party and I appreciate the feedback. <3

  13. Sara says:

    Hi there this sounds like an amazing recipe i am going to try not so much for the sugar benefit (though welcome) but for the pure tastiness however i cannot get my hands on dates and am going to use stevia, would you happen to know how much to use instead of the dates (i have googled but to no avail!) thanks so much xx

    1. Hi Sara,
      Unfortunately, I can’t really advise you on how to sub stevia for the date paste. My best guess is the chocolate filling will not be as smooth and may need some water added since the date paste has a lot of water. If you try it, let me know how it works!

  14. Beyhan says:

    OMG! I found your blog via Pinterest just few minutes ago and already fall in love with your blog! Beautiful recipes and pictures 🙂

    Your recipes sounds so easy – even for people like me who don’t speak English very well…

    Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate it.

    Beyhan x

    PS: I have seen your post is from 2013 – anyway I hope everything is going well…

  15. Sam says:

    Why do you need to use a 9-inch tart pan (with removable base) for this? Can you use a springform pan instead?

    1. Anything with a removable base should work just fine! Just makes for easy cutting. And I had specified a tart pan because the shorter walls match up with the amount of crust. I’m sure a springform will work!

      1. Sam says:

        Thank you, Angela! Love your blog.

      2. Sam says:

        I should probably just buy a tart pan because this recipe looks amazing, and I will likely be making it over and over and over again! 🙂

  16. Marie says:

    Hello Angela! We’ve recently had to put our son on a dairy-free diet, so I’ve been searching for great recipies left and right. I’ve just landed on thsi wonderful recipe of your and I’m looning to making it for this weekend as we have company (I wouldn’t want my son to feel that dairy-free is not as yummy!). I wzs therefore wondering how much ahead of time I can make this cake? If I make it Friday night will it still be good for Sunday lunch? Or should I wait until Saturday night to make it? Many thanks in advance. I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

    1. Hey Marie! This recipe keeps reallllly well in the fridge so making ahead of time is just fine. Even 2 days or more, so long as you keep it covered well. Just an FYI since you mentioned you are having company, it’s a *very* low sweetness dessert, think super rich dark chocolate.

  17. Saga says:

    Hello Angela! I was lucky enough to find your blog when looking for dairy and soy free recipes since my son is intolerant. I was just wondering about the date paste, how long do you think it would keep in the fridge? Thank you so much for all these amazing recipes and information 😊

    1. Hi Saga! That’s a tough question, since I’ve always used it up before it went bad. The water in it means it will spoil eventually. But I’m guessing within 2 weeks use, you should be safe. Hope that helps! And thanks for the sweet words <3

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.