Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hazelnuts for Henry

There isn't much Henry won't eat (except for maple syrup   ...   really, Henry?) but he does have a few favorites, like duck (not my fave) and capers.  He would probably eat cardboard if capers were involved.  He would also walk through fire for hazelnuts, which are the subject of this post.

A friend of mine who lives in Oregon recently lamented the fact that she couldn't find Georgia pecans.  I responded by sending her a bag and she reciprocated by sending me these big beautiful hazelnuts from Oregon.  Already skinned, no less!  Everyone should have a friend like this - thanks, Carol!

Now when you're given a gift like this, you don't want to bury it in your freezer, to be unearthed in a couple of years when those hazelnuts will be hard little dried-out pebbles with no flavor.  Heck no!  Instead you set yourself immediately upon the task of using them in everything you can think of.  Sooner rather than later. 

Let's start with a tart.  As you know, chocolate and hazelnuts are a match made in heaven and this (heavenly) creation does full justice to that.  I would even go so far as to say this would be worth it even if you had to skin all of the hazelnuts yourself!

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TART (adapted from Giada DiLaurentis)
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 9 pieces
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Place flour and salt in food processor and process for about 10 seconds. Place butter evenly over flour and process until it resembles coarse meal, about 15 to 20 seconds. With processor running, pour 3 T. of the water in a small steady stream through the feed tube and process just until dough comes together. Add a little more water if needed until it just forms a smooth ball.

Remove from processor and knead for several turns then flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out onto floured board and ease into a greased tart pan.  Trim edges and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe.

Yield: enough dough for one single crust 9-inch pie

For the pie:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 T. all-purpose unbleached flour
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (or chunks)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 T. butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all of the ingredients and pour into an unbaked pie crust. Preheat oven to 325-degrees and bake for about 45 minutes, until slightly puffed in center and golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 - 10

BTW, this pie crust recipe (not from Giada) is the one I have used for years.  It's pretty much foolproof, so don't be afraid to try it.

One down, three more (hazelnut recipes) to go!


  1. Wow, we are on the same page. I just picked up some Hazelnuts at Fresh Market, (maybe I will call it Pound of Flesh market, like Whole Paycheck). I am going to make a Chocolate Hazelnet Torte (cake like). But I have to skin my hazelnuts. You are lucky. I will post the recipe once I make it.
    I never realized that Oregon is a large hazelnut producing area until we visited this fall. We saw a lot of hazelnut groves in the Willamette Valley area. Who knew?

  2. extremely delicious!

  3. Your recipe is really sinful and it looked so delicious too! If only I could hold those tarts right now, I'm gonna eat that immediately. It's really nice for us to taste sweets like this but, too much sweets will cause damage to our teeth. That's why as for me, I regularly visit some of my dentists (Aiken area) and these dentists (Aiken, SC) are doing a job well done in making me have a healthy smile.