Since I had permission to be out of action for the 2nd half of the day, due to my left eye infection, I was home just slightly after lunch hour and decided that with nothing else better to do, I shall bake! Baking is good as it helps me to destress. Not surprising, one of the reasons the doctor cited for my sudden eye infection was stress. Yes, work has been stressful for the past couple of days. Some consultant ruined my Monday. But last night was good. My sweetie and I celebrated 9 whole months of togetherness. Th0ugh the ride has not always been smooth but I'm so glad we made it this far. For the special occasion, we enjoyed good food at Restaurant Ember (review to follow soon, promise!) and each other's company for a few hours.
Anyway, I decided to make Nutella Tart by Pierre Herme today, because I had always failed to make it in time to buy the chocolate tarts sold over the deli counter of Hotel Intercontinental during this promotional period. So I had mentally already decided on some sort of chocolate tart and since I had kept the Nutella Tart recipe for quite some time now (courtesy of Emily), I decided to go for it now.
I did not use the sweet dough recipe that accompanies it mainly because it required too much of a resting time and I had no patience to wait. So I just used a basic one as posted below. I think my tart pan is a bit too shallow for the entire recipe although I managed to use them all, but that just means I have less room for my filling. Mistake, as you will read later. You can see my par-baked tart shell here:
parbaked tart shellOooh, I also finally got to tear open my pack of Valrhona chocolate! I had bought a kilogram block of 70% chocolate a while back but haven't had the chance to use it until now. I wanted to use the finest ingredients for this love project see?
Ok, more on the technical issues. I actually had 2 problems making this. Hopefully you will be able to enlighten me with possible reasons and solutions?
1) Since I made the entire recipe for the filling and don't wish to waste any, I poured in every single drop of it. The filling seemed rather runny and I was sort of expecting it to overflow. But what I hadn't expect was oil overflowing the tart shell! Why did oil, which I presume it's from the melted butter I added to make a chocolate ganache, separate out? Could it be a temperature (of melted butter) problem? Too much butter? But I followed the recipe! Anyway, I ended up with a slightly oil crust as a result, nothing good old paper towels could not fix, but asethically, not really the best thing to happen.
2) Oh did I mention that getting the skins off the hazelnuts is such a pain? I toasted them whole and when they were done, I rubbed them between my palms but only about 20% of the nuts were "clean". I had to peel the remaining ones individually. Too much trouble for a otherwise simple recipe. Yes, the Skinny Epicurean is also the Lazy Epicurean ;-)
Although the tart came out of the oven looking like a disaster, it redeemed itself after I drained off the excess oil (phew, not as many calories now!) and dapped off the oil from the top of the tart. As it cooled, the filling also firmed up. The filling had a mashed-up tofu sort of consistency, or sort of like melted mousse. But it was soo good! My tart shell was slightly thick but complemented the sweetness of the filling quite nicely. The hazelnut flavour was amazing and came through right away! Such an indulgent late night snack, but all forgotten because I ate it with my love.
The leftover slices were refrigerated and as expected, the filling had hardened slightly more, sort of truffle-like so each bite left a bite mark (as seen below). It was also very
sinful delicious in a different way (as compared to eating it fresh at room temp), like eating a thick slab of soft hazelnut chocolate on a shortbread biscuit. How wonderful!
Sweet Tart Dough
(for a 10" tart shell)
200 g all-purpose flour
100 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
60 g granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Chill the small cubes of butter while getting the rest of the ingredients ready.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour in, and add in the sugar and salt. Whisk to mix.
Add in the butter and using the rubbing-in method, integrate the butter into the flour to create small breadcrumbs.
Add in the egg and mix with a fork. Try to form a dough ball. If ball doesn't form, add in ice water, a teaspoon at a time, until you get a dough ball.
Dough will be sticky at this point. Put the dough into the center of your tart shell and press to line, using your fingers. After the tart is lined, chill the tart pan in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat your oven to 180C. Bake the tart shell for 18 to 20 minutes. In between, periodically check that the dough does not rise too much. But if dough is naughty, just open the oven and use the back of a large spoon to press the dough down.