Chocolate hazelnut tart. When dessert has to be chocolate, this recipe will knock your socks off. Decadent, rich, smooth, and chocolaty with a hint of orange. All of this, and gluten-free. Merry Christmas everyone.
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
Thinking over my Christmas menu, I wanted something chocolate for dessert. Something rich and beautiful. A dessert that would elicit “oh wow” comments from my family and friends. Something that would send them into chocolate heaven. I’ve had this idea for a chocolate tart for some time and I am thrilled to share my new recipe just in time for Christmas.
Nut Flours for Gluten-Free Crusts
Whether you eat gluten-free or not, you are bound to love this crisp, cookie-like crust. It’s easy to make. No dealing with rolling out pastry. Just press the simple dough into a 9 1/2″ tart pan with a removable bottom. They are inexpensive, available at kitchen supply stores and online.
The crust is made of hazelnut flour and coconut flour, melted butter and just 2 tablespoons of natural organic brown sugar. If you eat dairy-free, I am sure it would work with Earth Balance sticks.
If you’ve never made a tart crust like this, don’t be intimidated. It really is easy and only takes a few minutes – about 12 to be exact. The photo below is made with almond flour. The hazelnut flour is darker in color. For complete directions and “how-to”, read this post.
Chocolate is the star player in this tart, so choose a high quality, bittersweet dark chocolate, around 70% – 72%. There are many good chocolates available. I like Theo, Guittard, Scharffen Berger, and Valhrona. You can find them at better markets and online. Buy the best available to you.
For online ordering, try ChosoSphere.com. I’ll order a few pounds at time and get a good price. Chocolate stored in a cool pantry lasts for a long time.
Tip – For accuracy, weigh the chocolate on a scale. A digital scale is a great addition to your kitchen tools.
Secret Richness | Coconut Milk
This filling is a take off on something called a French ganache, usually made with heavy cream. I’ve used whole coconut milk instead. It’s rich and smooth with absolutely no taste of coconut. I buy Native Forest, which is organic and comes in a BPA-free can. You can find it at most stores and online (Amazon’s price is great for a case).
Vanilla & Orange | Supporting Flavors
The rich chocolate filling is laced wtih vanilla extract and orange oil. Use real vanilla, not the artificial stuff. I buy strong vanilla, called double vanilla, for full, rich flavor.
Orange and chocolate have a wonderful affinity for each other. For the orange flavor, I use orange oil, not orange extract. Oil has a stronger, purer flavor than extract. Find it at cooking stores, restaurant supplies and online. If all you can find is extract, it will work fine, but it may not be as strong.
How to Melt Chocolate
Chocolate is best melted slowly and gently in a double boiler (or it can get grainy instead of stay smooth). Place a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Just a few inches of water will do. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Place chocolate bits, wafers or finely chopped pieces into the bowl and allow it to melt. Stir occasionally until smooth.
After chocolate is melted, turn off the heat, remove the bowl from the pan and let the chocolate cool a little. You don’t want the eggs to scramble when being added to the chocolate. Add coconut milk, beaten eggs, vanilla and orange oil. Stir until smooth.
One more note – chocolate and water are enemies. If you get water (or steam) into the chocolate it might seize or harden up, so be careful.
Pour the filling into a pre-baked tart crust and bake for 20 minutes at 350º.
Cool, chill and slice to serve. If you want, top with a dollop of whipped cream, either coconut or dairy. The tart holds well refrigerated and wrapped for a few days, so save time and make it ahead.
A note on wrapping for refrigeration. Do not place plastic film right on top of the tart surface as it will stick. When you try to take it off it will mess up the pretty, smooth surface. If you do, you can always cover with whipped cream. Place a large piece of parchment or waxed paper over the top first to cover, then wrap in plastic film (after tart has cooled).
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
Hazelnut Tart Crust
- 1 1/2 cups hazelnut flour 5 1/2 ounces
- 1/2 cup ounces organic coconut flour 2 1/4 ounces
- 2 tablespoons sucanat raw light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 9 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate 70%-72%
- 10 ounces whole coconut milk do not use low fat
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla I use double vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon orange oil optional
- Pinch of salt
- Whipped coconut or dairy cream as garnish optional
- 9 1/2 inch tart pan with removable bottom
- Rimmed baking sheet optional, half sheet size
- Silpat silicone mat optional
- Make the tart crust using the directions in this post . It takes 10-12 minutes to mix and press into the tart pan and another 18 minutes to bake at 350ºF. The tart crust can be baked ahead, wrapped tightly and keep at room temperature for a day before filling. To bake it right away, leave oven set up 350°F. Allow the tart crust to cool before filling and baking
- To make the filling, set up a double boiler. Place a medium pan filled with a few inches of water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low, place a medium bowl over the top of the pan of simmering water. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Add chocolate. Allow chocolate to melt slowly. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then stir in coconut milk, eggs. vanilla, orange and salt. Tip – do not put the eggs into hot chocolate or the eggs could scramble. Stir until smooth, then pour into the baked tart crust.
- Bake tart on a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat (to prevent sliding) approximately 20-22 minutes or until the chocolate filling is set and fairly firm. Remove tart from the oven and allow to cool completely, then refrigerate.