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For a long part of my life, I thought I didn’t like hazelnuts. That was because I didn’t like the ever-popular processed chocolate hazelnut spread, so I assumed I didn’t like hazelnuts themselves. Once I tried a homemade version of chocolate hazelnut butter, I fell in love with the toasted, nutty flavor of the hazelnut, particularly when it’s paired with chocolate—but nothing too milky or overly sweetened. This tart highlights the flavor of hazelnuts with a hazelnut meal crust and a chocolate filling that’s made in part with homemade chocolate hazelnut butter. The decadent chocolate filling is topped off with fresh strawberries, which help cut through the richness of the chocolate, and chopped hazelnuts for a little crunch.
For the Crust: Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with coconut oil. In a mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the crust. When the dough comes together, press it evenly into the prepared tart pan, making sure to press it up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate to firm it up while you make the filling.
See also Vegan “Buttery” Double Crust
For the Filling: Put the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-proof mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk just to a boil. Pour the hot coconut milk over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for about 1 minute, then stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chocolate hazelnut butter (see below) until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared crust in an even layer. Garnish the tart with strawberries and hazelnuts. Refrigerate the tart for at least 2 hours to set and cool completely. Slice and serve. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
For the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter: Put the roasted hazelnuts in a high-powered blender (I use a Vitamix) or bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process at medium-high speed for 5 to 8 minutes, scraping down the sides of the container as necessary until smooth and fluid. Your processing time might be shorter if you’re using a high-powered blender, and could take a little longer and require more scraping in the food processor. Once the hazelnuts have broken down completely and formed a smooth, fluid nut butter, add 3 tablespoons of the coconut sugar, the cacao powder, and salt. Process again for another 30 seconds to break down the coconut sugar and make sure everything is well incorporated. Taste and add the extra sugar, if desired. You can also add more salt, to taste. Transfer the nut butter to a 12-ounce glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the pantry for up to 1 week or in the fridge for about 1 month.
See also 5 Ultra-Healthy Nut Butters
Tips: If you prefer more tartness, substitute raspberries for the strawberries, or you can leave the berries out of the recipe for an extra-rich and decadent treat.
Hazelnut meal can be bought at the store, but you can also make it yourself by pulsing hazelnuts in a blender or food processor until fine and flour-like.
Excerpted from Bakerita © 2020 by Rachel Conners. Photography © 2020 by Rachel Conners. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.