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Simply put, I love food. I revel in everything about it: taste, texture, preparation, presentation, etc. The most favored aspect for me is the social aspect of food…learning to cook from one’s mother, preparing food with friends, grilling out, potlucks, dinner parties or simply meeting for dinner. I light up watching the people I love eat the food that I create. It still truly amazes me how food brings us together. So a little about me. Now in my early 30s, I’ve learned all I know about cooking from my mother and grandmothers. My Midwestern roots are definitely reflected in my cooking style and the recipes that I choose as I am very “meat and potatoes” centric and heavy handed with the butter sometimes. More later, but for now Happy Nomming!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nutella Tart

I had never tried Nutella until a couple of months ago. I KNOW!!! I clearly had no idea what I was missing. Since my recent awakening to all that is this hazelnut chocolate spread, I have felt the need to spread to on various things (bread, pancakes, apples, my finger) and shove it into baked goods.  My first trial with Nutella was a Banana Nutella Swirl Bread.  This was unarguably a fan-favorite among my female friends.  No offense guys, but you just don't see to 'get' Nutella. It's like you are immune to its delicious charms.

In search of the perfect tart, I was forced to combine two of my favorite recipes into one glorious Nutella filled concoction.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dutch process cocoa
1/2 healing cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
10 Tablespoons butter, cubed and at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant espresso)

Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, egg yolks and vanilla until fluffy. Combine butter mixture with dry ingredients.  Press dough into a 9" fluted tart pan, evenly distributing over bottom and sides.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prick crust all over with a fork and bake for approximately 15 or until cooked through.  Cool on wire rack.

Whisk together 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Set aside.  In a small saucepan, combine remaining inerd ingredients and whisk in cornstarch mixture. Heat to a slow boil over low heat. Whisking frequently.  As the mixture begins to thicken, remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

Top crust with inerds and bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes (if you can stand it that long).  Sprinkle with hazelnuts. And face plant into it with wreckless abandon!

I chilled my tart overnight to serve at a party the following day.  I sprinkled it with hazelnuts and pressed them into the inerds with wax paper and served it at room temperature.  Still delicious!

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