Is there a more classic dessert combination than chocolate and hazelnuts?
I can still remember the special fragrance of the chocolate-hazelnut gelato in Florence, Italy.
For a few months now I have been stocking up on hazelnuts and high quality chocolate to make a dessert. I was not sure what I was going to make- maybe cookies filled with chocolate-hazelnut cream, a cake or gelato…
While waiting for my flight back home from visiting my parents during Christmas, I picked up the latest edition of Food and Wine magazine to browse.
The moment I saw this Chocolate-Hazelnut Tart recipe, I knew it was the one that I would make first.
It certainly did not disappoint- rich, creamy with a heavenly fragrance.
This recipe has all sorts of future possibilities. The hazelnut crust would be great by itself as hazelnut shortbread, maybe with some of the chocolate ganache to dip on the side. The ganache could be chilled, rolled into balls, and covered with chopped, roasted hazelnuts for an amazing chocolate truffle. I can see gluten free and vegan adaptations as well.
As mentioned earlier, I adapted this recipe slightly from Food and Wine magazine.
My key changes-
- Removed the egg from the pastry.
- Used a food processor exclusively for the pastry crust. Did not want to use the food processor + stand mixer. So, this also meant adding all the sugar at the same time.
- Used 61% bittersweet Valrhona chocolate. Use your favorite chocolate here. Could even be semisweet. Taste the chocolate, make sure you like it before using. This is a very chocolaty dessert!
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hazelnuts (2 ounces), toasted and skinned
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (61 percent), chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup hazelnuts (5 ounces)—toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
MAKE THE PASTRY
- Place the hazelnuts in a food processor, add the sugar and process until fine.
- Add the flour and salt and pulse until combined.
- Add the butter and vanilla and process until incorporated.
- Scrape the pastry onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk.
- Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and coat a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with vegetable oil spray.
- Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of wax paper to a 12-inch round. Ease the pastry into the tart pan, pressing it into the corners and patching any tears.
- Roll the rolling pin over the tart pan to cut off any excess pastry.
- Refrigerate the tart shell for 10 minutes.
- Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes.
- Carefully remove the parchment and weights and bake the shell for about 15 minutes longer, until golden brown.
- Let cool completely.
MAKE THE FILLING
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a simmer.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes; whisk until smooth.
- Pour the chocolate cream into the tart shell and scatter the hazelnuts on top.
- Refrigerate until firm, about 2-3 hours.
- Remove the tart ring, cut the tart into wedges and serve.
Keep the tart refrigerated until ready to serve.
Note: I was able to find already roasted, and skinned hazelnuts at the grocery store. However, it’s not too hard to do this yourself. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and roast for about 12 minutes, until golden and the skins blister. Let cool slightly, then transfer the hazelnuts to a kitchen towel and rub off the skins. Let cool. It doesn’t matter if some of the skin does not come off.