Is anyone else out there as excited about next Thursday as I am?! BRING. IT. ON!!! I’m ready to eat myself into a macaroni and cheese stupor. Speaking of Mac and Cheese, I’m going to post my mom’s recipe for it in a couple days. Friends, make it!! It’s seriously the best thing I’ve ever had in my entire life.
To keep our mouth watering until the big Mac and Cheese reveal, I have a dessert I came up with last year to share with you. This is incredibly rich. Knock your socks of good, just really rich. Apparently I’m into heavy desserts here lately. The little pumpkin pies I posted not long ago will make you pucker too. This tart is just a bigger version of richness. As much as I love the standard pecan, apple and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, it’s always nice to mix it up. This tart will move you through Thanksgiving and on into the Christmas season as well. The chocolate crust is intensified with a tiny kick of coffee, but is balanced out with the sweet, creaminess of the mascarpone layer and then topped off with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and toffee bits. Drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce and you see why I say this is will put lead in your pencil. This makes a big tart, but it serves twice the amount of people you’d think it would because you’ll want to cut the slices into slivers. That’s about all you’ll be able to handle after a big Thanksgiving meal. You ‘ll love it though! It might even become a staple on your holiday table.
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
- 1 box of chocolate wafer cookies
- 1 heaping Tbsp of instant coffee
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup of melted butter
- 3 Tbsp of sugar
- 1 container of mascarpone cheese
- 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of caramel sauce
- 1/4 cup of melted milk chocolate (can be chocolate chips or other chocolate that melts well)
- 1/4 cup of crushed toffee bits
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, toasted
- *special equipment: 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom, parchment paper
For the crust: Place the cookies in a food processor and crush until they become fine crumbs. Pour them into a medium size bowl and add the coffee, sugar and melted butter. If the mixture is too crumbly, add the full 1/3 cup of butter.
Remove the bottom of the tart pan and trace a circle of parchment paper out with it. Return the bottom of the tart pan to the pan and place the parchment circle on the bottom as a liner.
Dump the crumb mixture over the parchment and spread them out with your hands, working it up the sides of the pan. Being VERY CAREFUL not to push the bottom of the pan up, place it on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 for about 10 minutes, just until it’s set. Allow it to cool completely before filling it.
For the filling: While the crust is cooling, spoon the mascarpone in a small bowl and add the powdered sugar and one tablespoon of the caramel sauce. Stir until smooth and combined.
Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them at 350 just until fragrant and slightly browned. About 7-10 minutes. Watch them closely so they don’t burn. It’ll happen fast.
Let the hazelnuts cool for a minute and then turn them out on half of a kitchen towel. Fold the other half over the hazelnuts and rub the towel over them releasing the toasted skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in increments, just until it’s drizzleable. That’s a word, right?;)
When the crust is completely cooled, spread the mascarpone mixture over it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the mascarpone and then the toffee bits. With a fork Drizzle the caramel sauce over top and then the melted chocolate. You can cover this and place it in the refrigerator until its set. Just bring it up to room temperature before serving it.
To serve it, gently press the bottom of the tart pan up, releasing the sides. Run a knife between the parchment paper and the bottom of the tart pan. Slide the tart onto a cake stand or other serving platter. Cut into slices.