I was recently approached by Seasonal Berries with a rather exciting challenge of creating a mood boosting recipe as part of their ‘Be Berry Bright’ campaign. The Seasonal Berries website shares the latest and greatest information and facts about berries in an all year-round campaign. The campaign is funded by British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents 98% of Britain’s berry growers. Seasonal Berries had expert help from the food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson (you’ve probably seen her on Channel 4’s Secret Eaters) and drew up a list of good mood foods that could easily be incorporated into your every day diet, boosting both cognitive performance and overall wellbeing all year-round. Their good mood food list included; oats, brazil nuts, bananas, broccoli, and of course – berries.
Berries are a good source of prebiotics which act as a kind of ‘food’ for probiotics, helping them to stay alive and inducing their growth and activity. Your eating habits are largely determined by the health of your gut microbes so it’s always good to take your daily probiotic with some prebiotic rich berries, helping you manage your weight naturally!
Considering that I love a good challenge I decided to come up with a dessert that incorporated my 3 favourite berries and used raw, wholesome ingredients, tying in with the mood boosting qualities that the Be Berry Bright campaign promotes. I opted to make Seasonal Berry Mousse Tarts in 3 delicate floral and berry flavours; blackberry and lavender, raspberry and rose, and strawberry and basil. Now, these may all sound a tad on the adventurous side but I promise that the subtlety of the floral notes just makes these tarts taste utterly A-MAZING!
It probably comes as no surprise, but fresh berries are super healthy, antioxidant-rich powerhouses, containing a whole host of nutritional and health benefits. Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins – the compounds which gives berries their vibrant blue and red colour. Anthocyanidins help to boost your brain function and support your nervous system. My favourite reason to add berries into my diet is, although that they may taste super sweet, they’re low in sugar and will not spike your blood sugar levels like other sweet snacks can. So, you can keep your mood in tip top condition as well as your body!
Fresh berries are also a good source of prebiotics which act as a kind of ‘food’ for probiotics, helping them to stay alive and inducing their growth and activity. Your eating habits are largely determined by the health of your gut microbes so it’s always good to take your daily probiotic with some prebiotic rich berries, helping you manage your weight naturally!
Let’s look at little closer at the nutritional benefits of the 3 berries that I used in my recipe:
- Blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits and are rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Eating these gorgeously dark berries can help promote the tightening of skin tissue, knocking years off the clock. This is because vitamin C is a fantastic antioxidant which helps to protect the skin from free radicals, reducing oxidative stress, building a strong immune system, and in a nut shell – gives you radiant, younger-looking skin. It also stimulates the production of new collagen and heals blemishes.
- Raspberries again are rich in vitamin C so you’ll get those beauty benefits but they are also rich in ellagic acid which has been know to help prevent infections and even fight cancer. Raspberries contain high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients which can aid in boosting your immune stystem, staving off disease.
- Strawberries are, much like their other berry brothers, rich in vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants. They help to promote eye health, boost immunity, fight bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and even regulate your blood pressure! Is there anything that berries can’t do?!
It isn’t just the berries that are nutritionally beneficial in this recipe – I used almonds in the tart base which are a great source of non-dairy calcium as well as Vitamin E, niacin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. Almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to lower your LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’! I used macadamias in the base too and added cashews into the raw mousse – both of which are low in inflammatory polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids and are a great source of good fats, fibre, copper, magnesium, manganese, and thiamin. Me being, well… me, I threw in a whole lot of other brain boosting fats such as; coconut oil, cacao butter, and young Thai coconut – which is also high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. So, you see, these Seasonal Berry Mousse Tarts will not only taste and look great, they will help you to maintain a healthy heart and digestive system and will give you that supermodel like glow.
But anyways, enough of my educational waffle – I bet you all want to know what they taste like – right? Well, the chocolate-y raw biscuit base is rich and decadent and also provides an ample crunch. Blackberry and Lavender is my favourite and most calming flavour of the 3 tarts which is always a good thing. Flavour-wise think old school Parma Violets and there you have it! The Raspberry and Rose is such an elegant flavour, the two just compliment each other so well and the rose tones down the sharpness of the raspberries. The Strawberry and Basil channels Meditteranean vibes that just scream sunshine and happiness. I can’t help but think a splash of organic balsamic vinegar would have made it even more awesome though (sadly I didn’t have any at home so feel free to try for yourselves).
So without further ado here is the recipe for my Seasonal Berry Mousse Tarts in 3 exciting flavours! Make sure to check out Seasonal Berries via their Twitter and Instagram for more informational updates, and most importantly – yummy berry recipes.
- 100g dark or raw chocolate (85% cacao solids or over)
- 100g macadamia nuts
- ½ cup (roughly 50g) almond flour/ground almonds
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar/xylitol/erythritol
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp fine Himalayan pink salt (if coarse grind)
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tbsp maple syrup/light agave nectar
- 100g organic virgin young Thai coconut meat (I use Mighty Bee)
- ¾ cup cashew/almond milk
- ½ cup cashews (soaked overnight)
- 2-3 tbsp light agave nectar/maple syrup
- ¼ tsp vanilla powder or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Squeeze lemon juice (no more than 1tsp)
- Pinch fine Himalayan pink salt (if coarse grind)
- ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
- 25g cacao butter (melted)
- ⅓ of the mousse base (listed above)
- ¼ cup fresh blackberries
- ¼ tsp dried lavender
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup/light agave nectar
- A dash of fresh lemon juice
- 8 fresh blackberries (to decorate)
- 1 tsp dried lavender flowers (to decorate)
- ⅓ of the mousse base (listed above)
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- ½ tsp organic alcohol-free rose water
- 6 fresh raspberries (to decorate)
- 2 tsp dried rose petals (to decorate)
- 2 tsp dark/raw chocolate curls (to decorate)
- ⅓ of the mousse base (listed above)
- 75g (roughly ½ cup) fresh strawberries
- 2-3 large fresh basil leaves
- 2 fresh, sliced strawberries (to decorate)
- 2 sprigs of fresh basil (to decorate)
- For the base, start by processing your dark/raw chocolate in your food processor until it becomes a sort of fine rubble. Next add the remaining ingredients for your base and process until it forms a sandy texture (if it reminds you of biscuit crumbs it's done!). Don't over process otherwise you will end up with nut butter!
- Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and spoon into 6 separate non-stick loose-based mini tart tins. Press in the mixture with your fingertips, working from the middle to the outer edges until evenly distributed, creating a thin base with a thicker outer rim (about 0.5cm). Slice off any excess with a knife and gently press in the sides again. Place the tarts into the freezer and freeze for 1 hour or until set solid.
- Next blend all of your ingredients for your mousse in a high speed blender. Be sure to periodically scrape down the sides to ensure a smooth and even blend. Divide into 3 equal portions and set aside. It's now time to flavour your mousse!
- Start by combining ⅓ of the mousse base mixture with your fresh blackberries, lavender, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth (again scrape down the sides between blends to ensure it blends evenly).
- Remove your tart bases from the freezer and gently press them out from the bottom of your loose based tart tin. If the bottom of the tin is still stuck gently release the base plate with a sharp knife. Place the tarts onto a baking sheet (or preferably something that will fit into your refrigerator).
- Pour in your blackberry mousse into 2 of the tarts. Wash out your blender and repeat the process for the remaining 2 flavours. Place the tarts into the refrigerator until set - about 3 hours.
- Remove and decorate before serving. These tarts will keep for up to 5 days when sealed in an airtight container and stored within the refrigerator.
These tarts can be stored in the freezer however they will take a while to thaw out - if you don't thaw properly you will end up with little icicles - you'll be able to see these in my photos as I had to store mine in my freezer!
*Prep time includes a 4 hour setting time
**All cup measurements used are UK cup measurements and so 1 cup = 250ml.
*** This recipe requires you to have 6 x 10cm non-stick loose-based mini tart tins.