Although I am not hosting Christmas dinner this year, I am helping cook it with my son, who has decided that herb-rubbed and roasted beef tenderloin served with creamy mashed potatoes and root vegetables will anchor the menu. We haven’t discussed desserts yet, but I know what I am going to suggest– a scrumptious hazelnut and coffee tart that can be baked a day ahead. And, it is also easily transportable by car.
I first sampled this special tart a few weeks ago when my friend, Sigi Schutz, served it at a dinner. One bite and I was smitten. Of course, I asked for the recipe, and was surprised to learn how simple it was to prepare. She didn’t specify ingredients for the crust so I used a favorite dough of mine, first baking it blind (without the filling) as she directed. For the filling, toasted and coarsely ground hazelnuts are combined with melted butter, sugar, strong coffee, and eggs. Then the tart needs about 30 minutes in the oven where the filling sets nicely, turning a rich brown from its subtle hint of coffee.
What I like about this dessert is that it is not overly sweet. Only a half cup of sugar is called for, making it a perfect follow-up to a rich holiday feast. Served with dollops of whipped cream, it is also absolutely addictive so you might one to make more than one!
From my table to yours, happy holidays to everyone!
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Sigi’s Hazelnut and Coffee Tart with Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
7 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp heavy or whipping cream
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted (See cooking tip)
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp powdered instant espresso dissolved in 3 tbsp boiling water
Small pinch kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
12 whole hazelnuts, either toasted or untoasted (either way is fine)
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream whipped until just firm
Confectioner’s sugar, optional
Equipment: a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom
1. For crust, place flour and salt in the bowl of food processor and add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles oatmeal flakes. With machine running, gradually add egg and cream through the feed tube, and process until a roughly shaped ball of dough forms. Remove and knead dough several seconds. Shape into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 11-to 12-inch circle and then lift and mold it into the tart pan. Trim overhanging dough to 3/4 inch above rim and then press overhanging dough in to reinforce the sides of the tart, being sure that the sides rise 1/4-inch above the rim of the tart. Prick bottom with a fork. Refrigerate 20 minutes. (Tart shell can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with foil and refrigerate.)
3. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights, dried, beans, or dried rice. Bake 15 minutes. Remove beans and foil and bake 10 minutes more. Remove tart, but retain oven temperature.
4 For filling, while tart shell is baking pulse hazelnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Remove and set aside.
5. Heat butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. When melted, stir in sugar, and then ground hazelnuts, dissolved espresso, and salt. Stir a few seconds until well blended, and then remove from heat. Stir in the eggs until combined. Pour filling into pre-baked tart shell. For the garnish arrange 12 whole hazelnuts equidistantly around the edge on top of the filling.
6. If the top sides of the tart shell are well browned, carefully wrap the rim of the crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent it from burning while the filling bakes. Bake tart until filling is firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Check after 25 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature. (Tart can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover, and leave at room temperature.)
7. Serve tart with a bowl of whipped cream and, if desired, sprinkle top of tart with confectioner’s sugar. Serves 8.
Cooking Tip: To toast hazelnuts, spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a preheated 350° F oven until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Watch carefully so nuts do not burn. Remove and place nuts in a kitchen towel and rub off as much of the skins as possible.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2018