Friday, February 12, 2010
Chocolate Hazelnut Jam Tart
It’s time for a rush of chocolate and whenever I think of chocolate I more often than not think of hazelnuts. It’s a deep default association I have due to my affection for gianduja, the Italian perfection. While chocolate pairs so terrifically with lots of wonderful nuts and fruit and spice, in my world hazelnuts are one of the great stars in this line-up.
My tart starts with a hazelnut spice pastry shell into which a layer of barely baked chocolate is nestled. And in keeping with my ever present desire for fruit, I add a thin layer of homemade blackberry preserves from the peak of last summer. The crumbly and nutty texture of the pastry conspires with the oozy gooey chocolate and jammy fruit to create a rich bite of dessert to please each of the chocolate lovers in your circle.
- Toast 1 1/4 cups of hazelnuts in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and the skins look cracked. Watch them carefully as hazelnuts can turn bitter if toasted too long. Remove from the oven and wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to let steam for 1 minute. Then rub them together to loosen and remove as much of the skin as possible. Cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a bain marie (or water bath) that is at a very low and slow simmer to prevent scorching.
- The egg yolks for the filling should be at room temperature, but don’t crack them until you’re ready to use them or they will form a skin.
- You can omit the preserves or add your own favorite, such as raspberry, apricot, black currant, plum or fig. Or maybe tuck in a small dab of caramel or some sliced bananas. When fresh berries are in season, they would be perfect. You can also add a little splash of rum, brandy, port or liqueur to the filling for another dimension if you so choose. Just add to the ingredients to be melted over the bain marie.
Chocolate Hazelnut Jam Tart
Hazelnut Tart Dough
1 C flour
3/4 C toasted hazelnuts
1/4 C sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
zest of 1 medium orange
4 oz (1 stick) cold butter
1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 oz (1 stick) butter
1/4 t salt
3 egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
generous 1/3 C fruit preserves
1/2 C toasted hazelnuts, chopped
For the pastry dough, place the flour, hazelnuts, sugar, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are pretty finely ground. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse just a few times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and vanilla and pulse just until the dough begins to clump. Pour out onto a piece of parchment or plastic and gather the clumps together with your hands until the dough is smooth.
Press the dough into a thin even layer of a 9” tart pan or 6 individual tartlet pans. Place in refrigerator until completely chilled.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the tart shell with parchment and weights and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from oven and cool. Spread a thin even layer of jam over the bottom of the tart shell.
Lower the oven to 325 degrees.
To make the filling, chop the chocolate and butter into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl along with the salt. Place the bowl over a slow simmering water bath, stirring gently to combine. Once the mixture has melted, remove from heat and cool.
Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium high a few minutes until the mixture is thickened, very light in color and tripled in volume. It should hold a ribbon for a few seconds before dissolving back into the bowl. Gently fold about a third of the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate. Fold in remaining yolk mixture. Pour into the tart shell. Garnish with chopped hazelnuts, gently pressing down just a bit to secure them.
Bake for about 10 - 11 minutes until the surface of the chocolate is a bit dull and only slightly puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature.