Where do you draw inspiration from? When I’m cooking or baking I’ll usually browse through a number of cookbooks or call my Mom and ask for a recipe. Sometimes I’ll search the web for great ideas or check out other blogs. Honestly, I’ve never looked to an iconic chocolate for inspiration. That is, until a day or two ago. I was fortunate enough to be invited as a guest of Ellie to the launch of Ferrero’s Festival of Light which was held infront of the Customs House in Sydney. The event was hosted by Charlotte Dawson and was officially launched by Rocco Perna from Ferrero Australia. What a great way to kick start the Christmas season than with a spectacular light show!
Drawing inspiration from Ellie’s beautiful Ferrero macarons, I decided to make a Ferrero Tart and Verrine, both desserts are perfect when you are looking for that additional extra to entertain during the holiday season and are made from the same components, just served differently. In true Ferrero form, this dessert is made with a chocolate tart, hazelnut mousse and topped with crushed candied hazelnuts enrobed in a chocolate and hazelnut ganache.
Tart Base (adapted from Matt Moran)
- 60 grams cocoa powder
- 150 grams cold butter, diced
- 75 grams caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 320 grams flour
- 5 grams baking powder
- pinch of salt
- Place the butter, caster sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor and pulse until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the eggs, flour and baking powder and process until the mixture just comes together.
- Lay the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead into a disc measuring around 2 cm in height.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to rest.
- Once the dough has rested, place the dough back on to a lightly floured surface and roll out until around 2 mm thick. Cut the dough such that it is at least 1 cm wider than the tart shell (which will form the wall of the tart).
- Place the cut dough in the tart shells and allow refrigerate for another 1 hour.
- When ready, blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes in a pre-heated fan forced oven at 180c. Once done, bake for another 5 minutes (this time, do not blind bake).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Hazelnut Mousse (adapted from Baking and Pastry, Culinary Institute of America)
- 375 grams milk
- 75 grams caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 37 grams cornflour
- 80 grams hazelnut praline (or nutella)
- 250 grams cream
- 5 grams gelatin (titanium strength)
- Mix the sugar and cornflour into a bowl and slowly add the eggs. Ensure that this is well mixed, removing and lumps.
- Bring the milk to the boil. Once the milk is boiling, pour the milk slowly into the bowl with the egg mixture.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pan and cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the custard becomes thick.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- When the custard has cooled, place the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water to soften.
- In the meantime, mix the hazelnut praline (or nutella) with the custard using a whisk.
- Semi-whip the cream.
- Remove the gelatin from the water and heat in a microwave proof container for 15 seconds on high. Mix the gelatin with the custard.
- Fold the custard into the semi-whipped cream.
- Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Chocolate Hazelnut Thing (adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku Cookbook)
- 55 grams hazelnut praline paste (or nutella)
- 55 grams gianduja or milk chocolate
- 1/4 teaspoon grapeseed oil or any neutral oil
- pinch of salt
- 10 grams smallish pieces bittersweet chocolate, ideally 70% to 72% cacao range
- 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons crushed caramelized hazelnuts
- Place all the ingredients in a microwave proof bowl and microwave in 20 second intervals on high until the chocolate has melted.
- Add the caramelized hazelnuts until ready to use.
- 100 grams sugar
- 50 grams water
- 200 grams toasted hazelnuts
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a heavy based pan and let the temperature reach 115c (using a candy thermometer)
- Add the toasted hazelnuts and take the pan off the heat.
- Mix the nuts until the texture changes to become sugary like and bring back the pan on the heat.
- Mix carefully until the sugar turns into a golden caramel colour and place on a silpat or baking paper to cool.
To assemble the tarts, pipe some hazelnut mousse on to the chocolate tart shells and then top with the Chocolate Hazelnut Thing and a few caramelized hazelnuts.
To assemble the verrines, crush the chocolate tart shells and spoon into a clear glass. Pipe some hazelnut mousse and then spoon some more crushed chocolate tart shells and top with the Chocolate Hazelnut Thing. Finally, add a few caramelized hazelnuts.