A few years ago, my husband and I were curious about our genes. I wanted to know where I came from and what health risks our future children might inherit, but I mostly wanted to know how we would die. Morbid, maybe, but I thought it would be soothing to find out. You know those conversation-starters that are like, “If you were going to die in a week, would you rather know in advance or not?” I would absolutely want to know. Hence, the DNA test.
I spit into a little test tube, sealed it up and shipped it off to the fine folks at 23andMe, apparently because I have no problem sharing this extremely personal information with a company who could also be developing an army of human spit-clones for all I know. I was terrified that the results would come back showing that my husband was at high risk for Alzheimer’s because he has a terrible memory already. I don’t want him forgetting who I am. I’m really important! I can’t imagine anything more tragic (for him).
The results came back not too long thereafter and, wouldn’t you know, I am the one with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s. Which is just so not fair, because I have a great memory and love telling stories! Also, I have an increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes, which I am clearly pretending doesn’t exist while I stuff myself full of butter and sugar. Is it bad that I’m hoping the Alzheimer’s sets in before the diabetes? I just want to keep eating dessert, okay?
The other cool thing I learned from the DNA test is that I am part mermaid. JUST HEAR ME OUT, OKAY, GUYS? My maternal line hails from Doggerland, which is the somewhat post-apocalyptic-sounding name of a landmass that used to connect Great Britain to Europe. Where is it now? The bottom of the friggin’ sea. It was gradually flooded, so it is pretty obvious that my ancestors, while making the long journey from the land of King Arthur (probably to escape dragons), adapted to the rising sea levels, developed fins and gills, and, when the whole thing went under, built Atlantis.
Don’t bother doing any fact checking on this, because I can guarantee you it is all 100% true and scientifically and historically sound. I can’t exactly explain why I don’t know how to swim, but I’m going to chalk that up to my paternal lineage.
If my mer-relatives ever decide to swim over to the United States, I would make this tart for them. Not only does it not require an oven (too hot for northern ocean dwellers), but it is gluten-free and dairy-free (mermaids have very sensitive stomachs) and vegan (they are a gentle people). While they cool their fins in my bathtub after their long journey, I could whip this tart up in 20 minutes and have it chilled and set by the time we finish dinner, which will definitely not be flounder. And since there is very little added sugar in this dessert, I’m hoping it will stave off the diabetes until I forget this ever happened.
- 1½ cups (190 grams) raw almonds, plus 8 more almonds for garnish
- ¼ cup (56 grams) coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon (21 grams) agave nectar
- 8 ounces (227 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup unsweetened chipped coconut
- Pulse 1½ cups (190 grams) almonds in a food processor until finely ground (a few larger pieces are fine; don't overprocess the nuts into almond butter!). Add melted coconut oil and agave nectar and pulse until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, spread nut mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a tart or pie pan.
- Place chopped chocolate into a medium heat-safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately pour over chocolate and let rest for 1 minute. Whisk together, starting in the center and working your way out. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined. Pour chocolate filling into tart (or pie) shell. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 6 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, toast coconut chips in a small frying pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Allow the coconut to cool. Place remaining almonds on top of the tart so that each slice will have one almond on top, then sprinkle with coconut chips. Slice and serve immediately. Keep stored in the refrigerator, as the chocolate filling will get softer the warmer it gets.
- Coconut oil becomes firm in the refrigerator due to its high melting point, which helps the crust on this tart solidify. It will remain solid below temperatures of 76°F.
- If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let tart sit at room temperature for a few minutes, then slide the outer ring off. If it resists, try breathing some hot air around the edges of the tart. I know it sounds gross, but the tart will come right out!