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Hazelnut & Brown Butter Milk Chocolate Tart

Posted on May 13 2020

chocolate hazelnut tart

I am a huge fan of easy and quick desserts made with high quality ingredients and this is a perfect example. I found myself with some expired chocolate bars from Fruition Chocolate and by "some" I mean 10 bars. And by expired, I mean I did not keep them in a cool dark area for 5 years and they had streaks of grey. I had bought them for a tasting but somehow they sat unused for a few years :) and I found them recently in a hidden place. Expiration dates for chocolate are dates that suggest when you should consume by, but it does not mean that it is not good enough to eat. Since my bars had already turned white, or bloomed, they were not fit for using for chocolate tastings but they were in perfect condition to use for baking.

Fruitions Brown Butter Milk bar has a creamy caramel note that I knew would be an easy bar to turn into a dessert. And everything tastes better with hazelnuts so I dreamt up this awesome tart. Also, I am huge on minimalist desserts and foods. I am a failure at fermented doughs because waiting is not a noun I associate with desserts, if it's take me days or hours to prepare I am already mentally tuned out. The best desserts should always be simple. 

Luckily I had a few bars to play with and I started off by doing the least amount of work possible; in a super blender (Vitamix), I added roasted whole hazelnuts, the chocolate bars cut into pieces, and boiled heavy cream. I blended until it seemed creamy and then poured into an already baked tart shell and let set in the fridge. Although the flavor was great, the texture was really grainy and my blender could not make it any more creamy. So I ate the entire tart and thought about alternate variations. 

After a few more trials I ended up at this recipe which turns out could be made into so many other things. The filling is three basic delicious ingredients that can be used to make truffles, pot de creme, ice cream, crepe filing ... really this filling can become anything you want it to be. 

Although I started with whole hazelnuts, I am going to recommend you start with already ground hazelnut paste. I have many machines that grind my cacao into chocolate and these machines are sufficiently strong to grind nuts into creamy nut butters. But most of you do not have this machine in your kitchen. Hazelnut paste is much easier. Just make sure the hazelnut paste is 100% ground hazelnuts. 

If you do not mind the grainy texture produced by using whole hazelnuts and a blender, or you insist on grinding your own hazelnuts ... know that you do not have to remove the skins from your nuts. I have tried many recipes with and without the hazelnut skins and I find that it is more trouble to remove the skins than that the benefit of doing it. The only thing that you MUST pay attention to while roasting your hazelnuts is that you can not burn the skins. Using hazelnuts with burnt skins will result in bitter notes. Bad notes. So if you over roast and see some burnt skins, you must remove skins from the hazelnuts before using them. Only use roasted hazelnuts with skin if the skin is not burnt. 

This tart also freezes really well - I have half of one tart in the freezer now. When I want a slice I remove it from the freezer, cut a slice while it is still frozen, place the rest in the freezer, and let my slice come to room temperature. Tastes amazing. This tart is so rich that it was impossible for me to eat an entire tart. 

This is not a recipe for shelf stable "nutella" spread since it has heavy cream, so although you can spread it on bread, this should be refrigerated and consumed within a few days or frozen for a few months. 

tart shelltart shell moldingtart shell blind bake

baked tart shellhazelnut pastehazelnut ganache

Hazelnut & Brown Butter Milk Chocolate Tart

Makes 4 small tarts (4" tart shell) If you want 1 large tart double the recipe. 

 

Tart shell: 

  • 92 grams room temperature butter
  • 80 grams sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 200 grams of all purpose flour
Method:
1. Place butter, sugar and salt in a mixer and paddle until smooth. You can also do this with your hands, mix and blend until smooth. 
2. Add the egg and incorporate.
3. Add the flour and mix until smooth. You can split the dough into four equal parts and place in the fridge to cool and make it easier to roll out. About 30 minutes. But can be over night or you can make days ahead and keep it frozen. 
4. Remove from fridge and start to roll it out on a floured counter. Roll the dough out enough to cover your tart shell. 
5. Bake the shells at 325F (162C) for 15 minutes, they should be light brown, not white, not dark. 
6. Remove from the oven and let cool. You can place in fridge to help cool them. 

 

Filling: 

    Method: 

    1. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl with the hazelnut paste. 
    2. Boil heavy cream then pour over the chocolate and hazelnut paste. Let sit for 30 seconds. Whisk and if the chocolate is not melted, place the bowl over hot water (double boiler) and let the steam heat the cream, chocolate, hazelnut mixture.  
    3. Whisk until creamy then pour over already baked and cooled tart shell.  
    4. Place in the refrigerator until it sets, about 2-4 hours but can be overnight. 
    5. Nice to serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 

     

    tart filling

    Some notes:

    1. If you insist on using whole hazelnuts you either have a horse powered blender or you own a special machine for grinding nuts into a paste. If this is the case, use the same measurement for hazelnuts, 120g of whole hazelnuts. If using only a blender, place roasted nuts, chopped chocolate and boiled heavy cream into the blender and blend until the most creamy point possible. Please be careful when blending hot liquids. Then pour into your tart shell. 

    2. If you are going to make your own hazelnut paste, roast the 120g of hazelnuts and grind until you have your paste. Resume the recipe above. 

    3. Once you have the filling you can choose to use it in any way. I have been eating it with a spoon. I could easily use it as a base for ice cream, milk shake, or a wicked mocha. You can freeze it in cubes and put a cube in your hot chocolate. It is very versatile and very delicious. 

    4. Certainly you can use any other chocolate type or brand ... but this recipe was especially created with the flavor notes of this Fruition Chocolate bar. You can use a dark chocolate but you will have to adjust the recipe to include less chocolate and you will need to add some sugar. Replace the 120g of Fruition Brown Butter milk chocolate for any other milk chocolate. Or to use dark chocolate ... replace milk chocolate with 80g of dark chocolate and add 40 grams of sugar. Boil sugar with heavy cream. 

    5. If you only have 1 Fruition Chocolate bar this recipe is still possible. Just divide everything by 2 and make 2 small personal tarts all for yourself. 

    tart with whipped cream

     

     

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