Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart
My girl Martha S. was right once again. This crispy crust made from ice cream sugar cones is the perfect match to the velvety chocolate mousse. I am hesitant using Martha’s baking recipes mainly because she is such a pro and intimidates the cake out of an amateur like me. But, besides my husband, hazelnut is my favorite nut and I had to give it a try. I can tell you with confidence that this is the hands down best tart I ever made; ignoring the fact that it is also the first one I ever made.
For the crust:
18 Sugar Cones, coarsely crushed
½ teaspoon coarse Salt
2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4) stick unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
For the topping and filling:
1/3 cup peeled raw Hazelnuts (if you can’t find peeled hazelnuts, use unpeeled and see the tip below on how to peel them)
¼ cup Granulated Sugar
¼ teaspoons coarse Salt
1 ¾ cups Heavy Cream
5 oz bittersweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar
½ cup Nutella – chocolate hazelnut spread (optional)
Make crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a food processor, combine cones, salt, and sugar; process until fine crumbs form. With machine running, slowly pour butter through feed tube and process until mixture resembles wet sand. Press crumbs in bottom and up the side of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Bake until crust is golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
It really helps to read the recipe entirely before starting to bake: I bought the first tart pan in sight without paying attention to the size. I came home with an 11-inch pan and thought the tart would turn out too thin. Since I was in the middle of preparation, there was no time for another run to the store. I took the chance of ruining the tart while mumbling some profanities directed to myself. It turned out perfect and I wonder now if I would have too much filling if I had the right size pan. If you try this recipe with the 9-inch, please, PLEASE let me know how it turned out!
Meanwhile, make topping: In a small saucepan, combine peeled hazelnuts, granulated sugar, salt, and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Strain hazelnuts and spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until nuts are toasted and shiny, 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely.
TIP that you won’t get from Martha: to peel hazelnuts, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1 ½ spoons of baking soda – the water will foam up. Add nuts to the boiling water and boil for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice cold water. Remove nuts with a slotted spoon and immerse them into the ice water. Peel the skins away with your fingers. It works like a charm.
Make filling: In a medium saucepan, bring ¾ cup cream to a simmer; remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes; whisk to combine, and then cool to room temperature. If you prefer, you can now add Nutella to the chocolate and whisk to combine. I liked how Nutella added a delicate hint of hazelnut flavor without overpowering the filling.
In a large bowl, whip 1 cup cream with confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in chocolate mixture until combined. Pour filling into cooled crust and refrigerate until chilled and completely set, about 1 ½ hours. To serve, top tart with hazelnuts and whipped cream if desired.
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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