hazelnuts

For Lucia: gianduja and salted hazelnuts crostata

I instagrammed and FB'd the picture of a tart a couple of days ago and my beloved friend Lucia asked for the recipe.

Enjoy, Lucia and by the way, here's where you can buy gianduja chocolate.

 


Crostata al gianduja con nocciole salate

Gianduja tart with salted hazelnuts

 

for a 9" tart pan

Crust

2 cups (270 grams) flour

½ cup (115 grams) sugar

½ cup (135 grams) butter

4 egg yolks

pinch of salt

grated zest of a lemon

Filling

2/3 pound gianduja chocolate

1/2 cup roasted salted hazelnuts

1/3 pound heavy cream

1 pat butter

 

Prepare the pasta frolla: place all ingredients in the mixer with a paddle attachment, work on medium to high speed until they start coming together.

Empty on top of a piece of plastic wrap and press together with the tip of your fingers, then form a flat round ball with the palm of your hands.

Wrap tightly with plastic and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

If using a food processor, pulse until the ingredients start coming together, and then proceed as above.

Roll the pasta frolla to about 1/4" and line the tart mold with it. Cut off excess crust and keep it to make cookies. Prick the bottom and return to the refrigerator.

In the meantime, chip the chocolate and place it in a stainless steel bowl.

Chop the hazelnuts.

Heat the cream to the boiling point and pour it over the chocolate. Whisk until you have a smooth silky mixture.

Stir in the butter.

Keep the ganache runny by placing the stainless steel bowl over a pot of warm water, whisking occasionally to keep from separating.

Line a 9" removable bottom tart pan with parchment paper.

Roll the pasta frolla to about 1/8" and line the tart mold with it. Cut off excess crust and keep it to make cookies. Prick the bottom and bake in a 350˚F pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until it starts turning a slightly golden beige with darker edges and the smell of sugar cookies is wafting to your nose.

Cool the crust and gently transfer it to the tray from which you will be serving it.

Pour the ganache into the tart shell and let set in a cool dry place until it is firmly creamy. If you are pressed for time, you can put it in the refrigerator, away from strong smelling foods.

When it is set, scatter the hazelnuts on it and serve.

NOTE:

  • If you can't find roasted toasted hazelnuts, make them yourself as follows: toast the nuts in a 325˚F oven just until you smell them. Rub them in a dry kitchen rag to remove the skins. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and place back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Camping greens

I didn't know, until I moved to California, that people go camping for fun. I still am not sure why, but at least I have learned enough by now to come out relatively unscathed from a yearly weekend of excess nature, sun burns, caked in dirt and grit in my teeth. My child and his best friend at the camp site (photo by Gianni Neiviller)

That's what I did last weekend, and while my back is just beginning to recover, skunks are just leaving my nightmares and the loft is finally rid of dust, what matters most is that it was great family time, spent making lasting memories with beloved friends.

While walking along the beach, my inner forager detected wild fennel and a very cute little rabbit.

The rabbit must have read my mind because it quickly retreated, so I settled for the fennel, which I used to the campsite's acclaim.

I don't have any pictures of the food as I was too busy keeping my jeans clean and fighting off raccoons, so I hope you will be happy with flowers, a landscape and some children.

Enjoy these improvised greens. Next year I will be going for that rabbit.

   

Wild fennel

Camping greens

3 to 4 good handfuls of the wild fennel that grows so generously all along our coast 1 sweet yellow onion 1 handful of hazelnuts (you can substitute with any nuts and or seeds you have: walnuts, almonds, pecans, flax or pumpkin seeds) salt and pepper to taste

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (yes I go camping with a tin of olive oil, extra virgin and from Tuscany, no less) 1 bag pre-washed cooking greens (I had baby kale, but any greens will work) 1 lemon

Wash and roughly chop the fennel. Slice the onion in paper thin half moons. Chop the hazelnuts.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet on your camp stove or fire and soften the onion with a pinch of salt. Add the nuts and toast for 2 to 3 minutes.

Now add the fennel and cook until the stalks have softened. Lastly, add the greens and braise down until everything comes together softly and is ready to enjoy with whatever you are putting on the grill that night.

Adjust salt and pepper and serve with lemon wedges.

Beautiful California coastline

Wild geranium