Chocolate and cherries have been one of my favorite pairings lately. These mini pie tarts are so full of chocolatey fruity goodness, all while keeping things healthy with whole plant food ingredients. These are oil-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. The magic fluffy binding ingredient at work here is actually baked sweet potato. You won't even know it's in there, but it's the backbone of this recipe providing structure and texture to the pie filling.
I first heard about the idea of chocolate sweet potato pudding from this recipe by The Vegan 8 and I was so amazed by how the sweet potato made a pudding consistency when blended. I kept experimenting with this idea, adding various flavors with fruits and firming up the texture with starch to make a pie filling. The result was these decadent, yet still super healthy mini chocolate cherry pie tarts.
Although cherries aren't in season at the moment, frozen cherries work just fine in this recipe. Just make sure to thaw and then drain them first. Cherries make the tarts extra sweet, which makes it possible to add less sugar form of maple syrup, and the best part is that they're a whole food which actually provides dietary fiber.
Thanks to this fiber, even though we are adding more sugar in the form of fruit, we are actually blunting the insulin response. If you were to eat the same meal without berries, it would cause a greater insulin spike than if you included berries in your meal. Another benefit of adding fruit, is that the polyphenols and phytonutrients can actually block some of the uptake of sugar by the cells that line our intestines. So there's some more reasons to eat lots of fruit if you needed some!
This recipe makes enough for two 4-inch diameter mini tart baking cups, but if you increase the recipe portion size and cooking time, this could make a full-sized pie.
The crust is just about as simple as it gets- made from almond flour, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Stir until it becomes clumpy and holds together when pressed, then press into a silicone or otherwise non-stick pie tart pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and then bake the crust on it's own for about 10 minutes. Then allow to cool slightly, add the pie filling and bake for 15 more minutes, or longer if making a full-sized pie.
You could make a bunch of mini pies or even one big pie to share at holiday parties or to gift to friends, everyone will be amazed that these are actually healthy and made with sweet potato. It's the best feeling to eat delicious pie and feel still good during and after eating!