One of the things I miss greatly from my childhood is nuts in their shells. There were always walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds and Brazil nuts in my mother's kitchen, and as a family we would often sit together shelling nuts—for snacking on as well as preparing walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds for one of my mother's artisan cakes.
Meet the chef...
I've tweaked Natasha's recipe slightly with additions to make it easier for home cooks to reproduce the tart with ease. The ingredients and quantities remain the same.
For the pastry:
280g plain flour, sifted
120g icing sugar, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted
200g unsalted butter, softened, cubed
1 free range egg yolk
Grease a 25cm x 4cm deep (10" by 1.5") tart tin. To prepare the pastry base, combine the sifted flour, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a large stainless steel bowl. Make a well in the centre and place the butter and egg yolk into the well. Mix with a fork, working the flour into the butter and egg a little at a time. Then, using your fingertips gradually work in the rest of the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Work the pastry together by kneading it into a flat disc. Then cover it with cling wrap and rest it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board and lifting it onto the rolling pin, carefully place it into the greased tart tin. With clean hands, press the pastry into the base and and up the sides of the tin, smoothing it as you go. Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper, fill with pastry beads or rice, then blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beads, and bake for a further five minutes. Allow to cool.
For the filling:
80g unsalted butter
180g brown or light muscovado sugar
3 free range eggs
2 tablespoons double cream
3 tablespoons Frangelico (plus a tipple for the cook!)
30g plain flour
100g dark couverture chocolate, chopped
20g dark couverture chocolate melted, to decorate
To prepare the filling, chop the hazelnuts (or process them in a food processor until chopped into quarters). Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in the cream, Frangelico and flour. Finally add the chopped chocolate and nuts. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pastry tart shell. Pop the tart tin onto a baking tray (in case any of the filling overflows during the baking), then bake for 45-55 minutes at 170 degrees C until cooked through (if you touch the centre very lightly, it should spring back a little). Allow to cool then drizzle with (or spoon over) the melted chocolate and serve with cream (or sour cream) and raspberries. Serves 12.
Note: The tart can be frozen in an airtight container, but my chef friend, Adam Moore, recommends that when you are ready to serve it, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator rather than in the microwave, as it will most likely not keep it shape if heated in the microwave.
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