Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

What A Girl Wants… March 3, 2010

I have said before, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and there was a time I thought I didn’t like chocolate.  I know, shocker!  What woman in her right mind doesn’t like chocolate?  First off, I never claimed to be in my right mind and secondly, it turns out I do like chocolate, just not milk chocolate.  I discovered this at work.  I was taking care of a patient whose mother was from Paris.  She was raving about the chocolates her parents had brought with them from France in celebration of the new arrival and I mentioned that I didn’t like chocolate.  I swear, she let out an audible gasp.  She told me she was sure I did like chocolate, just not the overly sweet “American” chocolate.  She insisted that I try one of her chocolates.  I did and whoa boy!  It was everything women are supposed to feel when they eat chocolate, better than mediocre sex, for sure!  She told me to try dark chocolate and don’t be afraid to buy the good stuff.  I have loved chocolate ever since.  I just don’t feel like it needs all the sugar and milk to make it divine.  The divinity is in the slightly bitter, lightly sweet richness.

Now that I’ve written that I dislike milk chocolate and don’t really like overly sweet items, here comes the exception.  I love Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  That crisp wafer, a whole hazelnut, ganache and chopped hazelnut is just perfection.  I have been looking for a recipe for a dessert reminiscent of the Rocher that I love.  I have browsed recipes for cakes, cheesecakes, ice cream, etc., but none of the recipes ever blew my skirt up, so to speak.  Then one day I was browsing through my Epicurious app on my iPhone and came across this recipe.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Yes!  This is what I’m talking about.  I couldn’t wait to try it and share it with you!  Well, share the recipe with you, anyway.

Dark Chocolate-Caramel Tart With Hazelnuts and Espresso

adapted from Bon Appétit, February 2010

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) ice water

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked and coarsely chopped

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate covered cacao nibs
  • additional chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Preparation:

For the crust:

Add flour, powdered sugar, and salt to a food processor bowl and pulse to combine.

Add butter, pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal.

Add 1 tablespoon of ice water; process just until dough begins to clump together, adding more water by the teaspoonful if dry.  Transfer dough to a 13 3/4 x 4 1/2 inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom (works equally well in a standard round tart pan).

Press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Freeze the crust for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the crust on the center rack until it is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

Filling:

Stir the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until the syrup is medium amber, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cream.  Be careful, the mixture will bubble up and spit a little.  Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until caramel bits dissolve.  Add butter, vinegar, and salt; stir until butter melts.  Remove from heat and stir in hazelnuts.

Spoon the filling into the prepared crust.  Chill for about 30 minutes, until set.

Topping:

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth and glossy.  In a separate saucepan, combine cream and espresso powder.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to incorporate the espresso powder.

Once cream is scalded, add it to the melted chocolate mixture; stir until smooth.  Spread the chocolate mixture over the caramel.  Sprinkle with chocolate covered cacao nibs and chopped hazelnut; chill in refrigerator until set, about 1 hour.  Remove from tart pan and slice.

While it doesn’t taste like a Rocher, it is a delicious blend of lightly salted caramel, buttery cookie and deep, dark, delicious, desirable chocolate.  And it’s just exactly what this girl wants!

Notes:

The original recipe called for milk chocolate in the topping, instead of dark, so you can definitely substitute.

The cacao nibs are in little tins under the name Sweet Riot and are available at Whole Foods.

The espresso powder was also purchased at Whole Foods, but is probably available at most grocery stores.

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3 Responses to “What A Girl Wants…”

  1. OMGosh this is gorgeous and looks incredibly YUMMY!!

  2. txmomof3 Says:

    Too gorgeous to even EAT. I’m just like you, used to think I didn’t like chocolate until my mom brought me back that exact same kind from Paris. MMMMMmmmmm. Nothing else like that.

    I envy you able to make these amazing things. Keep up the good work.

  3. Eileen Says:

    Sigh


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