Two weeks ago I received an invitation to be a guest at the dinner table of Chef John Collura from Cibe e Vino restaurant. Of course I accepted but let's just say I was a tad nervous. My head was filled with questions: What will I bring? What will I serve it on? Oh and what if he hates it?
After much deliberation I narrowed it down to dessert. I love baking and from our previous conversations I gathered dessert was something Chef Collura most likely wouldn't be preparing that night.
I kept telling myself that I wasn't nervous, but in reality I was. I wanted to make something extra special; I wanted it to look perfect and taste delicious...so why you ask, didn't I make something that I'd made before? That would've been too easy, and I love a challenge. Plus like I told my husband it needs to be something new so I can write a blog post about it!
I toyed with several cake ideas but they all seemed to heavy once I heard what Chef Collura was cooking up. I finally decided on the Hazelnut Mocha Tart from Francine Segan's, Dolci Italy. I have made several of her cakes in the past with great success so I was pretty confident about this one.
The tart, which is actually a no bake freezer dessert came together quite easily. I used deZaan gourmet chocolate to make the custard and was very pleased with the results. The silky smooth coffee infused custard paired well with the slightly sweetened hazelnut crust. I am happy to report that all my worrying was for nothing....Chef Collura loved the tart and even kept some for later.
Moral of the story: Have faith in what you can do. Know where your desires lie and realize that people appreciate your talent and efforts, no matter how basic they may be.
Hazelnut Mocha Tart
(courtesy Francine Segan)
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups (7oz.) blanched whole hazelnuts
6 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 oz dark chocolate, plus more for decoration
3 1/2 oz milk chocolate
4 tablespoons freshly brewed strong espresso
1 large, beaten egg
1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces) heavy cream
raspberries for garnish
Lightly butter the ring of a 7-inch springform pan (you only need the ring part of the pan to keep the ingredients together as they firm up in the fridge, you won't be using the bottom part of the pan). Butter a serving platter or cake stand that is wide enough to hold the ring, and place the ring on the platter.
In a food processor, combine the hazelnuts and 4 tablespoons of the sugar and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and process until combined. Press this mixture firmly and evenly onto the serving plate, within the borders of the springform ring, and set aside.
Put the dark and milk chocolates in a small bowl and melt them, either in a microwave oven or over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Add the espresso and stir until well combined. Beat in the egg and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat the cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until firm peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and spoon the mixture over the hazelnut crust. Refrigerate until firm, at least 5 hours. When ready to serve, remove the springform ring and garnish with grated dark chocolate and raspberries.