03 March 2008

Caramel Hazelnut Tartlets

I am a bit finicky when it comes to desserts, it's true. I love breads, I devour pastas. I have main dishes I love so much I pretty much make them weekly. But desserts? Desserts are lovely and I sure do crave the sweet stuff occasionally, but I'm always looking for something different or new. It is rare for me to say there's a dessert out there that I couldn't get enough of.

And then I made these tartlets. And I'm afraid I'm going to be in big, big trouble.

The recipe is very easy. And yet, so so good: The crust turned out perfectly, like probably the best tart crust I've ever made. It was sturdy and came out of the pan easily, and yet when you bit into the tartlet it was a soft, crumbly, just-sweet-enough confection. The caramel was dark but very good as well - then again, I've never met a caramel I didn't enjoy. But then the hazelnuts give it a great crunch and in these tartlets, give an almost toffee-like flavor. And a drizzle of chocolate on top, ahh. Perfection. I halved the recipe below when I made them, and still usually Hubs and I eat a small bit and give the rest away. This time? We scarfed down all 15 tartlets by the end of the day, it was absolutely tragic. Lots of time doing crunches/cardio after that, but oh so well worth it.

Caramel Hazelnut Tartlets
(from Bon App├ętit, October 2007)

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 Tbsp. (or more) chilled whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. hazelnuts, toasted, husked (or use chopped, like I did)
1 1/3 c. (packed) golden brown sugar
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. whipping cream
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Butter 30 metal or silicone mini muffin cups. Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 5 Tbsp. cream and vanilla and blend, using on/off turns, just until mixture begins to clump together, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Press 2 teaspoonfuls dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of each prepared mini muffin cup. Pierce tartlet crusts all over with fork. Freeze crusts 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake frozen crusts until golden and baked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool crusts in muffin cups 10 minutes. Carefully loosen crusts from muffin cups. Transfer crusts to rimmed baking sheet and cool completely. Place 2 to 3 hazelnuts (or equivalent of chopped hazelnuts) in each crust.

For caramel filling: Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, 2 Tbsp. water, and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to boil, then boil 2 minutes without stirring (mixture will bubble up and thicken slightly). Remove pan from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); stir until smooth.

Pour caramel into 2-cup measuring cup; cool 10 minutes. Spoon caramel over hazelnuts in crusts, filling crusts almost to top. Refrigerate until caramel begins to firm up slightly, about 1 hour.

Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate over top of tartlets. Chill until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Nemmie - These look really yummy! Don't you hate when you make something, thinking you will have some restraint, and you totally don't?! I really like the last picture at the bottom.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nemmie, it's not a surprise to me hearing that you and hubbs ate them all... They look so delicious! I'd not share these, either. :)

Julie said...

Those look awesome! Two questions-could I do this in a reg size tart pan? I dont have a mini-tart pan & second-where do you find/buy hazelnuts?

Nemmie said...

Gretchen and Patricia - I'm going to have to bury this recipe, because honestly they were that good. I mean terrible (trying to forget about them...).

Julie: I used a mini cupcake pan to make the tart shells, it worked great. I'm sure you could make it in a regular tart pan, but it'll probably be really rich. And: I bought pre-chopped, toasted hazelnuts in the grocery store (Hyvee I believe), they had them with all the other nuts in the baking aisle. Hope that helps!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Those looks soo cute and delicious!!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty much drooling at my desk...jeez those look good!

Emily said...

I'm quite familiar with the cardio/crunch-ing after you eat dessert. Welcome to my life.
Eat a big fabulous fattenin dessert...go work out for an hour.

These are beautiful. I MUST remember to make them

Muffin said...

Those look completely delicious and amazing. I love 'em!

michelle said...

Caramel and hazelnut? Mmmmm....

Is it impolite to lick my screen?

Helene said...

I don't think I'd be able to use restraint and manners if faced with these! They look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Can I freeze these tartlets?

Jenn's Baking Chamber said...

This is just the recipe I was looking for! but I was wondering if I can make the dough by hand using a pastry blender instead because I don't have a processor. Thanks for the yummy post!