Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust...

I knew I was going to have a bit of extra free time on my hands today, so I made sure I had everything on hand to keep myself busy making this Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust today.

It is not that it took a ton of time to complete, but there were quite a few steps and I knew I would need plenty of time to clean up afterwards (darn dishes!). The crust for this tart is decidedly unfussy - the only thing I recommend doing is toasting the hazelnuts and rubbing some of their skins off beforehand. While it probably wouldn't ruin the recipe if you didn't do this, sometimes those skins can be pretty bitter and I didn't want to take the chance. I'd also recommend seeking out a jar of hazelnut oil to reinforce that nutty layer, but don't let that stop you from making this - canola oil would be fine. After a few buzzes in a food processor to create the crumbly mixture, the crust is formed by pressing it into a tart pan. Since the filling is unbaked, you'll need to fully bake this crust and let it cool before filling it.

While it was cooling, I started working on the chocolate filling. You'll be making a smooth, but light and airy custard for this tart. The custard is pretty typical - it is thickened by egg yolks, but because you'll want the unbaked tart to slice into tidy pieces and hold its shape, bloomed gelatin is added. Using unsweetened chocolate makes for a rich, dark filling, but a bit of granulated sugar makes sure it is just sweet enough. Be sure to finely chop the very hard chocolate - this will help it melt quickly into the warm custard and ensure a smooth texture. To give this custard a lingering hint of coffee, I did add a shot of Kahlua, but this is purely optional - it is mainly used to reinforce the chocolate flavor.

Now, I'm sure the next part will be a little controversial because I used raw egg whites, but I'll state now that you certainly have the option to use either pasteurized eggs or reconstituted dried egg whites. If I was serving to guests or someone who had an immune deficiency, I'd probably go the other route, but it is just us eating this and I trust our fresh egg source.

At this point, the custard is pretty thick and dense - to breathe some life into it and make it billowy, we beat a couple egg whites, with a little cream of tartar to act as a stabilizer, until they had just begun to form soft, floppy peaks. With a bit of granulated sugar added, the egg whites continued to beat, increasing in volume, until we could flip the beater over and the egg whites stood at attention with a stiff peak. The custard is folded in and the milk chocolate colored filling is poured into its sturdy shell and stashed into the refrigerator until it cools down and firms up.

The swanky crust, with its rich nutty backbone, was a fantastic backdrop to encase the wallop of silky chocolate filling. While I could have downed this in the blink of an eye, I caught both of us taking our time to savor each forkful. Elegant enough to be served after a special dinner, but delicious enough to make for no other reason than to satisfy a chocolate craving, we thought this was well worth the effort (and clean up!) to make.


  1. This would be gone in no time in the house. Looks so chocolatey.

  2. That looks delicious. Maybe I like to live on the wild side but I tend to not be too afraid to use raw eggs. That looks absolutely fantastic.

  3. Now that probably tasted exactly how it looks! I love the simple way you decorated the top that really takes it to another level.

  4. hi there! i came by your blog through random browsing.
    i love how you write! it's so very... cnet. the pictures you take are bright and succinct (probably not the most suitable word to describe it) as are the descriptions. it's like reading a really, really detailed review about digital cameras from cnet.

    i hope to get to know you better through blogging and read more of your wonderful entries!

  5. I could eat the crust on its own. hazelnut oil?

  6. Helene - it didn't stick around long here!

    Kelly - Glad I'm not the only one!

    Christina - Thank you!

    Pearl - You are too kind! Thanks for checkin' out the site.

    Quinn - I know the oil is a little pricey, but it is worth it!

  7. Ohhhhh I love the tart! Looks amazingly elegant and delicious too!
    I will sure make that for company!

  8. Ana - You'll have to let us know what you think of it!

  9. Hello again, and be still my heart! I KNEW I'd find something wonderful here! Enjoyed your prose as well. Very informative and interesting! And I'll bet one could make that crust with any nut, no? Like perhaps peanut...and peanut oil? I've been gathering peanut butter pie recipes tonight, so I've sort of got them on the brain. But it does sound promising, doesn't it?
    Thanks again, Joe!

  10. Cheryl - I imagine that the peanut option would work well!