Posted on March 8 2012

Tartine Baking Project: #47 Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

It’s one thing to bake something knowing I am going to share it with people, and quite another thing to bake something for an event.  My good friend Bill requested this chocolate hazelnut tart for his birthday when I started this project in September.  I love birthdays, and everyone knows how dessert plays a pivotal role in any birthday celebration.  I didn’t want to mess it up for him, and all signs in the kitchen today pointed towards a real flop.

I got up early to bake the tart shell, only to find I didn’t have any of the ingredients.  (Didn’t think to check that yesterday?)  There are two types of tart shells in this cookbook.  I’ve only made the flaky tart shell thus far in my Tartine endeavors, and today was my first venture into the world of the sweet tart dough.  I thought it was strange that you were to put the flour in immediately, and I was wondering why it was not getting a creamy consistency, as it was supposed to do.  Oops.  I messed up the order of operations in this one.  It’s like subtracting before you’ve even divided or multiplied!  Who does that?!  PEMDAS!  A minor hiccup, I just crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be too detrimental to the end product.

I thought the shells recovered after my minor misstep, until I started rolling them out.  The consistency was strange, dry, and continuously falling apart.  I may have screamed and made up some new swears.  Then I took a deep breath and retrieved another round of chilled dough from the fridge.  It worked out.

Well, that is until I baked the shell and it shrunk like mad.  Cue the sad trombone.  I debated on trying another one, but I just didn’t have the time and figured I could make this work.

One of the greatest annoyances was taking the skin off the hazelnuts!  I struggled with this dilemma when I made the biscotti months ago.  I followed the instructions and roasted the nuts and rubbed them in a towel, but it didn’t really work well.  I came across a tip that suggested you boil them in baking soda then shock them in cold water.  I imagined the skin would just basically disappear or something.  Boiling them got more skin off than the roasting method I’d tried before, but there was a lot of frustrating time spent taking the skin off of each and every hazelnut.  I knew I was doing something wrong.

Since the tart shell must have had an unfortunate encounter with the electromagnetic shrink ray from “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” I had some extra filling, so I filled up two tiny ramekins.  Extra dessert!  Here’s to looking on the bright side of things!

At this point, I realized this cooling chocolate hazelnut tart was rather sad looking.  I FORGOT TO ROAST THE HAZELNUTS AFTER I BOILED THEM TO GET THE SKIN OFF!  They looked like naked, raw hazelnuts – and not too appetizing.  I then resorted back to the roasting method found in this cookbook.  Turns out, I just didn’t roast them long enough the first time.  Finally, success.  So I topped it off with those little gems and a little dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

There was a serious kitchen hex today.  I asked Dan to put the eggs into the ceramic farmer’s egg crate as I was telling him about the list of things gone wrong.  He then dropped the eggs on the ground.  As I was rolling out the tart shell, Jack was making Bill a birthday card and decided to make himself the birthday card.  I really thought there was no hope of this actually being a tasty, successful dessert.  But it was.  There were so many layers of flavor, without it being too rich.  I didn’t ruin Bill’s birthday.


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  1. NicoleD says:

    You get major props for not hiding in a corner after the first mishap. It looks lovely, though!

  2. Stephanie says:

    So glad that it turned out!! I’ve had kitchen days like that before. I once tried to make a wreath out of gingerbread men ala martha stewart. It was one annoyance after the other. Two burnt wreaths and then finally a good one.

    Then I tied a ribbon on it, hung it on the door where it broke and fell on the floor and shattered. Later I dropped an entire serving bowl of homemade pudding on the floor (that I had made to make myself feel better)

    so much fail. At least yours ended with some win!

  3. Kasey says:

    I hardly ever commit myself to getting hazelnut skins off…truth be told, a little skin is not so bad! Hazelnut + chocolate = my favorite combination…probably ever. I need to make this tart pronto!

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