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Happy Birthday to Me = Hazelnut and Chocolate Ganache Tart

happy birthday indeed!

This post has been sitting on my back burner for way too long. I originally made this tart (and took the pictures) when I visited my folks up in the forever gorgeous Door County, WI for my birthday. That was over labor day weekend. I suppose we have been pretty busy, you know, work, life, growing a baby. I kind of get a little forgetful, what with preggo-brain and all.

Then I made the tart again last night when we had some friends over to belatedly celebrate me getting older, and I remembered it, sitting on the back burner, waiting patiently, fending off any attacks of mold or vermin. (Really, you shouldn’t leave food on the stovetop for as long as I’ve neglected this blog, or it’ll turn into a science experiment.)

So without further ado, I bring you:


hazelnut and chocolate ganache tart

Happy Hazelnut and Chocolate Ganache Tart

It sounds so fancy (well, okay, it tastes quite fancy, too), but it’s rather quick and easy. (The hardest part is getting the skins off the hazelnuts, and that’s more tedious than it is difficult. You’re not diffusing bombs, here folks, so it’s nothing to be afraid of!)

Adapted from Real Simple.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, plus 1/2 cup if you want to make homemade whipped cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, plus 1 tsp for whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 TBSP sugar, for whipped cream

Directions:

russian cups

Heat your oven to 350°F and gather together all your ingredients. Aren’t these Russian Nesting Doll measuring cups just adorable! They were a present from my parents, and I find they make cooking and baking all the more delightful!

Spread out the hazelnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the oven, shaking the pan occasionally, until the skins are very dark, 10-20 minutes. Once they are fragrant, and the skins are dark (but not burnt!) pull them out of the oven. Using paper towels or a clean dishtowel that’s dark in color or you don’t care about (because the skins can stain the towel) immediately start rubbing the hot nuts together in the towel to remove the skins.

remove the skins with a towelso easy

ingredients

You’ll discard the skins, but don’t worry about removing every spec; 75% of removed skin is just fine! It might feel like it’s not working but before you know it, they’ll be bald, or mostly balding, little hazelnuts sitting in a nest of flakes. The key is to keep rubbing them against each other and to get ’em while they’re hot. (As in, don’t wait until they’re cool. You can still remove the skins at that point, but not as easily.)

pulse the hazelnuts

Bust out that handy-dandy food processor and finely grind 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts. (The remaining 1/4 cup we’ll use later for a garnish.)

Add the crushed cookies and melted butter, and pulse until fully combined.

chocolate wafers

Using the bottom of a flat ramekin or measuring cup, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Place the pan on the same rimmed baking sheet we used earlier and bake until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the crust puffs up during baking, you can press it down with the back of a spoon or metal spatula.

press down the tart use

Once it’s done baking, let it cool on a wire rack and start making the ganache! In a medium saucepan (heavy-bottom is best, but regular will work too), heat 1 1/2 cups cream until it’s ALMOST boiling. (Be sure to stir or whisk or swirl or something; just don’t let it sit there while it’s heating so the milk doesn’t scald on the bottom.)

add the chocolate chips

Once it’s reached that point where it’s steaming hot but not yet boiling, add the chocolate chips and 1/2 tsp vanilla and remove the pan from the heat. Now just keep whisking until it looks like chocolatey silk.

whisk the gancheso silky smoothpouring the ganache into the tart

Pour the ganache into the cooled tart shell; smooth out the top as needed with a spoon. Don’t let any of that ganache go to waste; make sure to lick that spoon clean! Put it in the fridge for about an hour, longer if preferred. (It’ll keep for several days, if it’s not devoured first.)

Now to make it fancy!

You could just skip this next step and buy whipped cream in a can, but homemade is so stinkin’ easy, and no chemicals, and no weird film on the roof of your mouth feeling.

Get out your standing mixer or hand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (hopefully not the hand-crank kind, unless you’ve got muscles like Popeye, or my friend Stefanie who once worked at a place where customer service was unparalleled, and they happened to be out of whipped cream, so she had to make it by hand).

Pour the remaining half cup of heavy whipping cream into the bowl of your mixer, along with the sugar and remaining vanilla. Turn up the speed full blast and let that good old electric motor do all the work. Keep an eye on it, as the cream will only take a few minutes to set. Stopping to scrape down the bowl (with a spatula, not your fingers – I know, so tempting!) is a good idea, as you can check if it’s done while scraping those sides. We’re looking for stiff peaks here, folks. But seriously, don’t walk away from this baby, or you may end up with sweet vanilla butter instead.

Chop the remaining 1/4 cup nuts. Remove the cooled tart from the fridge, and pop it out of the pan. Artistically sprinkle those chopped nuts and sea salt on the tart, however your pretty little heart desires. Garnish with some of that fresh whipped cream. Oh. My. Yum.

IMGhazelnut and chocolate ganache tart

so fancy! hazelnut and chocolate ganache tart

Go Pro Tip: Use a really sharp knife and run it under hot water between slices. This tart is insanely rich. Like Bill Gates rich. So a small sliver goes a long way. Top with whipped cream, serve, and try not to die of ecstasy.


Printer Friendly Directions (you know the drill; to copy and paste):

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, plus 1/2 cup if you want to make homemade whipped cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, plus 1 tsp for whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 TBSP sugar, for whipped cream

Directions:

1. Heat your oven to 350°F and spread out the hazelnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast them in the oven, shaking the pan occasionally, until the skins are very dark, 10-20 minutes. Remove from oven when they are fragrant and the skins are dark. While still warm, rub the hazelnuts together in a towel to remove the skins.

2. In a food processor, grind 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts along with the chocolate cookies and melted butter until finely ground and fully combined.

3. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the back of a large metal spoon to repress if crust puffs up. Let cool on a wire rack.

4. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 cups of the heavy whipping cream. Do not boil; whisk frequently. Once hot, remove the pan from heat and add the chocolate plus 1/2 tsp of the vanilla, whisking constantly until well combined.

5. Pour into the cooled tart crust; transfer to the refrigerator to set, about an hour.

6. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add sugar and remaining vanilla. On high speed, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

7. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup nuts.

8. Remove the cooled tart from the pan. Garnish with chopped nuts. Just before serving, sprinkle each slice with sea salt and top with whipped cream.