Chocolate, Avocado & Rosemary Tart

July 20th, 2023


When we moved to this property (17 years ago) the big selling factor was the selection of fruit trees speckled throughout the property. Well established, mostly heritage, and planted by a previous owner who had given them the care they needed to survive in our frosty valley. It was a legacy we inherited, and one we don’t take for granted. Our regular homegrown harvests create a rhythm to the food we cook and serve at the table.

Over the years we have added and subtracted fruit trees to now have around 20 fruiting trees and plants – including stone fruit, pip fruit, citrus, berries, and nuts – on our 800m2 suburban property. One particular addition that was given a lot of thought before planting was the avocados. Some discerning people told us they wouldn’t grow in our frosty valley (avocado trees are frost-tender while young). However, we knew of a number of fruiting avocados in the neighborhood, including one right next door on our neighbour’s property. So we threw caution to the wind, invested in some pricey grafted trees, and planted 3 trees in the sunniest spot we had available in the garden.

For those who grow avocados, you will understand that this is no mean feat, especially in the crossover climate of our valley garden. Frost cover contraptions were used in the first years until the trees outgrew their enclosure. My husband, who took the avocados under his wing from day one, came up with an ingenious plan to use a rotating cooling fan (positioned under cover) to provide air circulation on frigid nights, preventing frost from settling on the leaves. It worked a treat and the trees are now robust enough to survive a few heavy frosts through winter.

Perseverance is the way forward with a long-term fruit tree such as avocado. It took some creativity on our part, which paid off with fruit in the backyard for many years to come. I know we are fortunate to grow them ourselves and they have a way to go before the trees have paid themselves off. Thankfully some forward-thinking pioneers successfully established avocado orchards around the country so (most years) we can all enjoy this fabulous locally-grown fruit. 

We often think of avocados as being best for toast or guacamole, but they also work well in sweet recipes. In particular, recipes that involve chocolate to add some creaminess. Today I share a recipe I created for NZ Gardener last year. It is rich and decadent so definitely best for sharing – and see if those you share it with can guess the star (secret) ingredient.

Chocolate, Avocado & Rosemary Tart

Don’t be put off by the avocado in this tart, being a fruit it actually works well used as the creamy component to replace some of the cream. However, it is paramount that the avocado is not underripe (rubbery), bruised, or overripe with the associated rancid flavour. In other words, only use an avocado that is perfectly ripe for this dessert. Also, choose a chocolate you enjoy eating, I used Whitterkers 70% Samoa Cocoa.
Servings 12
Prep Time 40 minutes


Chocolate Avocado Filling

  • 150 g quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • ¼ cup (60ml) cream or coconut cream (for dairy-free)
  • 1 medium avocado, about 150g scooped flesh
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt


  • ¾ cup (120g) pitted dates or raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (100g) small rolled oats*
  • ½ cup (50g) desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter*
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary (optional - works well with the chocolate)
  • pinch of salt


  • Generously grease a 20cm wide loose-bottomed tart tin with oil.
  • Make the base. Place the dates (or raisins) into a sieve and slowly pour over 1 cup boiling water to soften. Leave to drain over a bowl.
  • In an unoiled frying pan lightly toast the rolled oats or ground almonds and coconut until golden. Spread on a plate to cool then tip into a food processor and blend until finely ground.
  • Add the drained dates, butter or coconut oil, cocoa powder, rosemary, and salt. Blend for 1 minute until the mixture holds together when pressed. Tip into the tart dish and press firmly to evenly cover the base and sides. Chill in the fridge.
  • Make the chocolate filling. Place the chocolate and cream into a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir until just melted then remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe out the food processor bowl then add the avocado flesh, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and salt. Blend to combine, then add the melted chocolate and process until smooth. Spoon into the chilled tart case, smoothing the surface.
  • Cover and place in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Cut into wedges to serve. The tart can be prepared a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge.


*To make this tart dairy-free use coconut cream in place of cream, and coconut oil or dairy-free spread instead of butter. For gluten-free, replace the oats with ground almonds. 

Join the Conversation

  1. Love to try chocolate tart but what would you use instead of ground almonds for gluten free. I’m allergic to almonds and it’s often the GF alternative. Thanks Judith

    1. Hi Judith, you could use another ground nut such as hazelnuts if you are okay with them. Or ground pumpkin seeds, or mixture of sunflower and pumpkin would work here as it is already quite rich you don’t necessarily need the ground nuts. Rolled oats would be another option, but they are not gluten-free in NZ. Enjoy 🙂

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