My mum doesn’t like chocolate. Stop. WHAT? Yep, I used to think there was something wrong with her too. Well, frankly, I still do. I can’t imagine not loving chocolate. Now, though, I mostly think it’s a bonus. More chocolate for me (sly grin). I tend to use chocolate A LOT when making desserts for special occasions. So I have to put on the chocky blinkers when making something for my fabulous Mamma. It’s all I can do to stop myself from adding it as a decoration. So, this recipe is a chocolate free zone. Not that it wouldn’t add a certain …
This week my mum celebrated 60 years since her arrival, by ship, to Australia (from northern Italy). That’s some serious migrant mileage, both to get here (it took 40 days and she was seasick every minute), as well as clocking up time here in her adopted home. Her anniversary is on the 6th January and this year she started mentioning it well before the New Year chimed in. Definitely an occasion worth celebrating. I know she’d choose a tart over the most elaborate gateaux any day. Given the beautiful summer berries and stone fruit we have in abundance now, it just seemed right to make something light and fruity. Plus I know she loves praline. She does indeed like her praline.
The fruit and nuts in this tart are a sublime combination. Fresh, sweet and tart, with a hazelnut praline crunch, and a smooth creamy filling. Ricotta and crème frâiche are a revelation. The raspberry coulis strip in the centre gives an extra fresh burst of fruit. Perfect for a summer evening dessert.
The instructions are long, but it’s very easy to make. Yes, it really is.
Plus we got bonus treats from the extra pastry. Little hazelnut sablés topped with chocolate pastry cream and leftover hazelnut praline. Oh dear, it seems I worked the chocolate in without realising it. See? Can’t help it.
Serves 6 – 8
115 grams hazelnuts*
50 grams sugar
200 grams plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
125 grams unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
* You will need 50 grams hazelnuts to make the pastry; the rest is used for the praline below.
65 grams roasted hazelnuts (from pastry recipe above)
65 grams sugar
10 grams glucose syrup (optional)
15 millilitres water
Raspberry Coulis Gelés
5 grams leaf gelatine (2 ½ leaves)
200 grams raspberries
25 grams icing sugar
20 millilitres Framboise liqueur
Ricotta Cream Filling
130 grams fresh ricotta
275 millilitres crème frâiche
30 grams sugar
20 millilitres Frangelico liqueur OR Le Sirop de Monin – Noisette**
2 yellow peaches
**Hazelnut syrup available at specialty stores
Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes until starting to colour.
Remove from the oven and tip on to a clean tea towel. Rub the skins off using the towel while the nuts are still hot. Pick out the skinned hazelnuts and set aside to cool.
Place 50 grams of the hazelnuts into the bowl of a food processor with the sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground and no nut pieces remain. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder, and pulse to combine.
Cut the butter into cubes and add to the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process only until the dough comes together in a ball.
This dough is quite soft, almost like cookie dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
Line the base of the tart tin with non-stick baking paper if required. I used an oblong tart tin measuring 35cm x 12.5cm. This was enough to serve 6 – 8 people.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 2mm. Line the tart tin with the pastry, patching if necessary.
There is enough dough in the recipe to allow for a lattice crust. I use this for other tarts as well. This time I used the extra pastry to make little hazelnut sables (see below). It’s always nice to have an extra surprise treat and the pastry is so delicious, it’s worth doing. Form the remaining dough into a disk, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper and baking weights. Bake blind at 190ºC for about 20 minutes, until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven. Carefully remove the weights and baking paper.
Return the pastry case to the oven and bake a further 10 – 12 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until ready to fill.
Use the reserved 65 grams of hazelnuts from the pastry recipe above. You can chop the hazelnuts, as this will make it easier to spread the praline on the baking sheet. I left them whole for this recipe, as I wanted to decorate the tart with whole praline hazelnuts. Do it whichever way you prefer. I think the hazelnuts look pretty left whole .
Make the praline as per the instructions in the Pistachio Praline Paste recipe. When you tip out the praline on to the lined baking sheet, work quickly to spread the praline in a single layer as much as possible. It’s not critical, but makes it a little easier to break off single hazelnuts later. Set aside to cool and harden completely. No grinding to a paste this time.
Raspberry Coulis Gelés
You will need a frame or tin that measures about 30cm x 7cm to make the strip. Don’t have one? Neither do I, but I am looking for one . If you have one that measures about 7cm in width but is a few centimetres shy of 30cm, don’t worry. It will do fine! If not, use individual loaf tins that are at least 6cm – 7cm wide and about 10cm long. You’ll need three. You can then line them up to make one long strip. Crisis over.
If using silicon, you won’t need to line it (or them). If not, line with cling film. This will allow you to remove the strip easily as well as easing it into the pastry case if making one large strip.
Puree the raspberries with the sugar and sieve to remove the seeds. Stir the Framboise through the coulis.
Soften the gelatine leaves in cold water. Drain off all the water. Melt the gelatine completely in a bain-marie (a bowl placed into another bowl of hot water). Stir until the gelatine liquefies. Pour the raspberry coulis into the gelatine and stir to dissolve the gelatine completely. Pour the coulis into the mould(s), cover and refrigerate until set and ready to use. You can also place it in the freezer (great in summer).
Ricotta Cream Filling
Whisk together the ricotta and sugar until smooth. Add the crème frâiche and the Frangelico or Noisette syrup and whisk until combined and lightly thickened. Set aside. Cover and refrigerate, if making the filling ahead of time.
Spread half the ricotta filling into the pastry case and smooth the top. Carefully place the raspberry coulis strip in the centre of the filling. If using several strips, line them up in the centre. Add the remaining half of the ricotta filling and smooth the top of the tart with an offset spatula or flat knife.
Cut the peaches into thin wedges, about 1cm at the widest point. You will need about 20 – 24 wedges (I got about 14 per peach so a few extra for me!). Arrange the peach slices in the centre in an overlapping strip, as shown in the photo.
Break off whole hazelnuts from the praline so that you have individual toffee covered hazelnuts. You will need about 12 – 16 for the sides and as many as you like to place on top of the peaches. Arrange the raspberries and praline hazelnuts in an alternating strip along each edge of the peaches. Pop extra hazelnut praline on top of the peaches along the top of the tart.
I purposefully did not glaze the fruit. It was so perfect, it would have been a shame to gild the lily. I also think it tastes and looks better without it.
So, what did I do for those little extra treats?
Bacio Sablés (hazelnut + chocolate = bacio!)
Leftover Hazelnut Pastry
Leftover Praline Hazelnuts
Chocolate pastry cream flavoured with Frangelico or Noisette Syrup
Roll out the remaining hazelnut pastry to a thickness of about 2.5mm and cut out into rounds with a cookie cutter. You could even make miniature tartlet cases that can be filled. I made them as plain sablés as I thought they’d look lovely and a bit different.
You could also use ganache instead of the pastry cream. I felt like making pastry cream. I used Valrhona Araguani couverture as it has a lingering taste that is nutty and warm so goes really well with the hazelnut. And the pastry cream was really rich without being heavy.
Pipe the pastry cream in swirls on to each sablé and top with a praline hazelnut. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve. Fabulous with an espresso as a petit four. Fanfare …