Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut TartSometimes I avoid recipes with hazelnuts because they’re such a pain to peel. Toasting them in the oven and using a towel to rub off their brown skins just doesn’t work that well. After some research, I found out that the best way to do it is to boil the nuts in a combination of water and baking soda for a few minutes. After shocking them in cold water, the skins peel right off. If only I knew this sooner, I wouldn’t have put off this chocolate hazelnut tart.

I love nutella so much that I think it’s best eaten with a spoon, but that’s not a dessert you really can serve guests. This tart transforms the perfect combination of chocolate and hazelnuts into something a bit more formal. While the tart shell was in the oven, I infused heavy cream with finely chopped nuts. Then I whisked together the flavored cream with melted milk and semisweet chocolates. I couldn’t wait for it to finish chilling in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
Loosely adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

Makes one 9-inch tart

For dough
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For tart
1-1/2 cups whole hazelnuts, peeled
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust, pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the yolk and vanilla extract and mix until the dough forms. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm slightly. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick and large enough to fit a 9-inch diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and trim the excess. (Extra dough can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.) Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes until the tart starts to turn light brown. Remove the foil and weights and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Let the tart shell cool completely before filling.

Place the hazelnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until browned and fragrant.

In a food processor, pulse 3/4 cup hazelnuts until finely chopped.  Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear at the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the finely chopped hazelnuts. Let the mixture sit for 1 hour to flavor the heavy cream. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove the hazelnuts.

For the filling, place the milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water. Stir occasionally until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cream. Roughly chop 1/4 cup hazelnuts and fold them into the mixture along with salt and vanilla extract. Carefully pour the filling into the baked tart shell. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 3-4 hours.

Decorate the tart by pressing in the remaining hazelnuts. You can leave them whole or roughly chop them.

Store in the refrigerator covered. Let sit at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

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