Each one in our family has a sweet tooth. So, I make brownies, tarts and cakes usually when we have people over or I take them with me when we are invited over to someone's place.
Although, I must say that with a clingy toddler and a 4 year old who wants to help me cook, the kitchen usually looks like it was hit by a tornado by the time I have finished cooking. Pots and pans, kitchen towels, spoons, and the bottom two shelves down from the pantry are usually scattered on the floor. With all this commotion, it certainly has been hard for me to cook with high speed or efficiency. The time I enter the kitchen to cook a simple meal is a lot longer and time consuming, so we don't entertain as much as we used to. But occasionally we still do have people over.The last time we had guests, I made this chocolate hazelnut praline tart. My friends absolutely loved it and wanted the recipe right away.
For the PASTRY:
- 140g/5oz Butter
- 100g/4oz Golden caster sugar(I used regular caster sugar)
- 225g/8oz Plain flour
- 50g/2oz Almond meal or ground almonds
- 85g/3oz Blanched hazelnuts (I didn’t blanch, I used store bought chopped hazelnut)
- 50g/2oz Golden caster sugar, plus 4 tbsp
- 200g/8oz Dark chocolate (70% cocoa) – (I used Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate bars)
- 100g/4oz Butter
- Splash of Frangelico liqueur or brandy – I didn’t use any
- 1 Egg, plus 3 Egg yolks
Make the pastry. Cream butter and sugar, and then add flour and almonds. Bring everything together with the egg. If the pastry is very soft, chill it for 20 minutes or so. If not, roll out to fit a deepish 23 cm fluted flan tin, if the pastry breaks, press scraps of pastry into the gaps, leaving a light overhang. Chill for 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 400F/200C/fan 180C/Gas 6. Line the case with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans and cook for another 10 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, toast nuts in a pan until starting to brown. Scatter over 4 tbsp of sugar; cook until it caramelizes, then tip nuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment. Leave to cool, then roughly chop. Over a pan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate, butter and alcohol (if using) together, and then set aside to cool slightly. Over the same pan, use a hand blender and beat the egg, yolks, and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Take off the heat, and then fold in the chocolate mix.
When case is cooked, remove from oven and turn the heat down to 320F/160C/fan 140C/gas3. Scatter most of the hazelnuts over the base, then tip in the chocolate mix, pressing it down slightly. Cook the tart for 15-20 minutes until chocolate has almost set. Leave to cool, the serve scattered with remaining nuts.
NOTE: Use cold ingredients for the pastry. The tart can be made up to 1 day ahead.