Chocolate Tart with Hazlenut Crust

When I was growing up, my mother was very health conscious.  She learned it from my grandmother who was also very health conscious.  My grandmother was "organic" way before it was cool.  I mean, she ordered a magazine specifically so she could teach herself yoga in the 60's, way before yoga was trendy.  What I wouldn't give to have Meemaw around now to pick her brain!

So my mother learned from her mother and as a result, we ate whole wheat everything.  For breakfast we sat down as a family every morning for homecooked eggs, grits, toast (whole wheat, naturally), etc.  The menu varied, but it was always healthy and always homemade.  My point?  It was always a big deal on our birthdays when we got to pick out a box of . . . wait for it . . . sweet Cereal!  On our birthday any kind of cereal was fair game.  Fruit Loops.  Fruity Pebbles.  Anything.  Once a year.  I still vividly rememer the year I picked out:

Photo from here
Y'all. Chocolate chip cookies in a bowl with milk? For breakfast?  My 10-year-old dreams had all come true! 

It's probably a good thing we only had birthdays once a year.  (And it's also a good thing I had four sisters so one box of sweet cereal really translated into about 2 days' worth of chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.)  With seven birthdays to celebrate throughout the year in one family, my mother had to be creative about how to make our birthdays special to us.  Forget a birthday party.  Birthday parties were secondary to a box of sweet cereal.  We loved it.  And to this day I'm a birthday person. 

Birthdays are a huge deal to me.  (The hubs, bless his heart, has learned how important a birthday is to me and this year he gave me a present, albeit a small one, every day for the week of my birthday.  Pretty sure I win the husband contest.  But yes, all of you out there reading this can print this post and accidentally leave it sitting around your house.).

My birthday is on July 5.  July 5 is one day after July 4.  Obviously.  It's also six days after my mother's birthday.  My parents live about 30 minutes away from me, and this year one of my sisters was in town for my birthday (and 4th of July and my mother's birthday) with her husband and six children, as were my uncle and his family.  So we had a big weekend with lots of celebrating.  I was on tap for the dessert and I knew it had to be something really good. 

Let me just tell you.  This dessert is just that.  Really, really good.  Maybe even better than a box of sweet cereal. 


For the crust
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (I didn't have enough coconut milk on hand so I used half coconut milk and half cream)
9 ounces (about 1 3/4 cup) dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate glaze
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut milk 


For the crust
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 10-15 minutes, until fragrant and lightly toasted.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool wrapped up in a clean towel for about five minutes. Shake the towel to help remove the hazelnut skins.  Your towel will likely look like this after you're finished, so plan on doing laundry.

Don't worry if some of the skin stays on the nuts.  No biggie.  Place the hazelnuts, flour, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until the hazelnuts become finely ground and everything is combined. (Be cafeful not to mix until smooth or you will end up with nut butter: slightly coarse is better.)

Place the hazelnut mixture in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (Note:  I didn't have a tart pan so I improvised with a spring form pan, which worked fine).  Press evenly across the bottom and about one inch up the sides of the pan. Place in the oven and bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the filling
Place the chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low to medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes until the chocolate has melted, then stir until smooth.

Meanwhile whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt. Slowly pour, while whisking, into the chocolate mixture.  Pour the chocolate mixture into prepared crust.

Bake until the filling is set 3 inches in from the edge and the center is still wobbly, about 20-25 minutes. It will puff up slightly, but once cool it will recede. Allow to cool completely before adding the glaze to the top.

For the chocolate glaze
Place the chocolate and coconut milk over a double boiler and heat until melted. Pour the glaze over the cooled tart and garnish with extra chopped hazelnuts or chocolate curls.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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