Ça fait longtemps…
It’s been a while between blog posts, and all I can say is: “je m’excuse”. Uni exams start in a week, so most of my time has been taken up with studying and essay-writing. I did manage to squeeze in a little cooking last weekend though, and I’m hoping today’s recipe will make up for my absence from the blogosphere…
Chocolate and hazelnuts are a classic combination (fairly sure I’ve already written about this…), and if you like Nutella, you’ll like these tarts. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I didn’t want these tarts too be too sugary. Instead, I wanted the flavour of the hazelnuts to shine through. The warmth of the cocoa brings out the hazelnut flavour, which results in a richer, deeper taste. It’s a bit like eating a really good dark chocolate praline, only buttery, crumbly, and encased in pastry. Yum.
I’m actually really proud of this recipe, for the sole reason that pastry is not usually my strong point. Gluten free pastry can be quite a challenge–either its too buttery and it just falls apart, or its chewy and tough with a weird soy aftertaste. This pastry, however, worked like a dream. I was genuinely surprised that it worked so well, and I now have my heart set on making all sorts of pies, tarts and pastry-encased goodies (although I should probably finish my exams first…one thing at a time).
I hope you have as much success with these tarts as I did. They brought a lot of happiness to my little household, which, in my opinion, is the best possible outcome of a meal. As always, leave me a comment below and let me know how the recipe worked for you. Until next time…
Chocolate & Hazelnut Tarts
For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
2 cups gluten-free plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
1tsp xanthan gum
70g butter, softened
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cold water
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Sift together flour, icing sugar and xanthan gum.
- Cut softened butter into cubes and rub into flour mixture until it has the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in egg and cold water, and use your hands to knead the mixture together in the bowl until a dough forms [Note: you may need to add a little more cold water if the mixture is not coming together. Tread carefully here – you can always add more water but you can’t take it away. Add extra water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms].
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and use your fingertips to press each section of dough into a tart mould. Prick the bottom of each tart case a few times with a fork. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, by which time the pastry should be dry and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the Chocolate-Hazelnut Filling:
60g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2/3 cup Dutch cocoa powder
2/3 cup hazelnut meal
1/4 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
- Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add cocoa and hazelnut meal, beating after each addition.
- Divide chocolate mixture evenly among tart cases (the cases will still be warm, so you need to move somewhat quickly to avoid the chocolate melting too much). Top each tart with some of the chopped hazelnuts, and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the tarts from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve either warm or cold, with cream or ice cream.