This is all that’s left of the Nutella tart I’ve been wanting to make for so long. I finally made it last night after weeks of thinking about it. This tart was created by Pierre Hermé (of Fauchon fame) for his wife to indulge her love for Nutella. And I can see why.
This dessert is just that, purely indulgent. This tart is richer than rich–it’s fabulously stinking, filthy rich (Okay, this is not how I really speak in real life but I’m trying to make a point). On top of a deliciously flaky crust you get a smooth layer of silky Nutella topped by a thick chocolatey ganache that’s made of, what else, eggs, butter and bittersweet chocolate. See what I mean? If you like this kind of over-the-top cacao goodness–and I do–this dessert is for you, but before I give you the recipe, let me tell you a story…
See the uneaten tart above? Notice anything about it besides the poor quality of the image (I snapped the picture quickly last night right before serving it)? Notice the crust and how uneven it is? I blame that on caffeine deprivation and the common sense-dulling fog that’s been hanging around between my ears for the last couple of days. Darn this cold.
After I baked the crust and removed the parchment paper, I noticed that some grains of uncooked rice (used to weigh the crust down) stuck to the crust. I don’t know what possessed me to tip over the tart pan instead of just picking off the grains, but I did just that. Can you guess what happens when your tart pan has a removable bottom and you have a still warm, flaky crust attached to it?
Yes…it fell apart. The soft crust hadn’t set yet and it collapsed as I tilted it. I was so disappointed! I’ve been so looking forward to trying this. Well, I couldn’t just throw the crust away (all the pieces stayed in the pan, after all) so I treated it like a jigsaw puzzle and proceeded to put it back together.
I was so happy that I did this for when I baked the Nutella and the ganache over it the final product wasn’t compromised at all. My Nutella tart couldn’t win a beauty contest but my taste buds were happy just the same. Eaten right out of the oven or allowed to cool completely, this tart was a pure delight to eat.
For the Sweet Tart Dough (this makes more than you need for this recipe):
- 2 1/2 sticks, 10 ounces, unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup, 3 1/4 ounces, lightly packed finely ground almond powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean pulp or pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Note: You will only neeed 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough that this recipe makes for an 8 3/4 inch tart pan. The book states that making a large quantity of this dough yields the best results. I saved the rest in the freezer for another use.
Using a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the butter and process, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Process until the butter is creamy. Add the sugar and blend well. Next, add the almond powder, salt, vanilla and process until the mixture is smooth, again scraping when necessary. Add the eggs and process just until blended. Add the flour and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together. Stop as soon as the dough forms moist curds and clumps and starts to gather into a ball. It is very important not to overwork the dough. The dough will be very soft and pliable if you’ve done this right.
Shape the dough into a ball and divide it into 3 or 4 pieces: 3 pieces for 10-inch tarts, 4 for 9-inch tarts. Or, you can shape it into one large ball and cut off as much as you need. Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days before rolling and baking. The dough can also be wrapped and frozen for up to a month.
Butter a tart ring and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. Fit the dough onto the bottom and sides of the ring and cut of the excess. Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill for at least 3o minutes in the refrigerator. I skipped this stepped without adverse consequences.
When you are ready to bake the crust, fit a circle of parchment paper or foil into the crust and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes , until it is just lightly colored. If it needs more time in the oven, remove the rice/beans and the parchment paper and bake for another five minutes, or until golden. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool.
For the Filling (Intended for a fully-baked 8 3/4 inch tart shell)
- 2/3 cup Nutella
- 4 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 7 tablespoons, 3 1/2 ounces, unsalted butter
- 1 large egg at room temperature, stirred with a fork
- 3 large egg yolks at room temperature, stirred with a fork
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup hazelnuts toasted, skinned and cut into large pieces (I used chopped, toasted almonds instead)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spread the Nutella evenly over the bottom of the crust and set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter in separate bowls over simmering water or in the microwave. Allow them to cool until they just feel warm to the touch, about 104ºF.
Use a small whisk to stir the egg into the chocolate, gently and taking care not to agitate the mixture. You don’t want to beat air into the ganache. Stir in the egg yolks a little at a time, followed by the sugar. Stir in the warm butter. Pour the ganache over the Nutella in the tart shell. Scatter the nuts over the top.
Bake the tart for 11 minutes. The center of the tart will still be a little jiggly. Remove the tart from the oven and slide onto a rack. Allow the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes (I didn’t do this so the ganache was still runny) or until it reaches room temperature.
Serves 6 – 8