Chocolate Garden (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free and Paleo)


One of my more inspiring chefs would have to be Heston Blumenthal. I don’t profess to know him nor have I ticked off my bucket list dream of dining at The Fat Duck, but that guy’s passion for culinary creativity and his wealth of experimental knowledge knocks my socks off every time. I would love to have an afternoon to just cook with him and attempt to sponge a little portion of his wisdom.

When I saw the image of Heston’s edible (tirimisu) pot plants on a recent series, I knew I had to give it a go. It’s been a work in the making for the last few weeks and I’m rather chuffed with the results. The contents of mine are rather different to his (I gave it a Hungry Cub makeover) but my husband – my trusted honest reviewer – deemed this version a rip-roaring success. Score!

Due the the various elements the recipe looks daunting and complicated at a glance, but don’t be scared off. It’s actually ridiculously easy…



Chocolate Pots (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free and Paleo) 

Fills 4 small terra-cotta pots (for all you fellow NZ folk – I got mine for $1.50 each from the mighty Bunnings)

Coconut Whip

1 can coconut milk (400ml) – you only need to use the thicker section of the contents but you will need the rest for other components of this recipe

1/2 – 1 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup (to taste)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Set the can of coconut milk in the fridge (unopened) overnight or for at least 3 hours. Open the can carefully without shaking the contents. Scoop out the thicker portion of the coconut milk into a bowl (this will be about half of the can) until you reach the more watery looking substance below. Set aside the remainder for other sections of this recipe. Beat the thick milk with a hand held or stand mixer (as you would to whip cream) until thickened. Add the honey and vanilla and whip some more then sit in the fridge until required for assembling.

Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup dates, soaked in 1/3 cup hot water for 3+ hours

2 tbsp coconut milk (use some of the remainder from above)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond butter (or peanut butter)

Place all of the ingredients (including the water the dates were soaking in) in a blender and blitz until smooth. Place in the fridge to await assembling time.


1 cup ground almond

2 tbsp cocoa

2 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup

2 eggs

2 tbsp coconut milk

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 170’c (340’F) for 15mins or ‘spongy’ to touch. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Mousse

1 ripe avocado

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbsp cocoa

4 tbsp coconut milk (from remainder of can used in coconut whip – see above)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend  until smooth and creamy. Scoop it out into a bowl and chill in the fridge until required for assembling.

Chocolate Soil

1/4 cup almonds or hazelnuts

25g (0.9 ounces) dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids or higher)

Small sprig of a herb plant (I used basil)

Roast the almonds or hazelnuts in the oven at 170’c/340’F (I just put them in after the cake) for 10mins or until golden brown and fragrant but not burned! Remove from the oven. If you went with hazelnuts – skin them after they have cooled. Chop the nuts finely and set aside.

Grate the dark chocolate with a fine grater (I use my mini one – secretly one of my favourite kitchen gadgets!) and set aside.

Now to assemble!!!

Use 4 small terra-cotta pots (washed clean of course)

Cut small squares or circles of cake to cover the bottom hole of the pot. Cover with a couple tsp of the caramel sauce. Then layer with components as you please.

In mine I then layered on some more cake (broken into bite sized pieces) followed again by a couple tsp of caramel sauce. Then a nice layer of coconut whip. More cake. A little more caramel.

Top with a nice thick layer of the chocolate mousse to reach the top of the pot. Then sprinkle over the chopped nuts and cover with the grated chocolate.

Place in the fridge for 30mins or until required. Just before serving insert the sprig of herb down into the mousse so that it sits up like a small plant.

Serve and devour.


4 thoughts on “Chocolate Garden (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free and Paleo)

    • hungrycub says:

      Yes there should!! So sorry, total oversight of mine, I accidentally left it out when writing up the recipe. It’s been revised and the cocoa is now present 🙂

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