Now that Thanksgiving is officially over and we’ve moved on from all talks of turkey and pumpkin, I think it’s the right time to start talking about Christmas desserts. Usually around this time of year it’s the cookies that get all of the spotlight, and while this will inevitably happen here soon, I think it’s a good time to talk about these Chocolate Hazelnut Tarts. I’ve partnered with my friends over at GO BOLD WITH BUTTER, to bring you one of the easiest and tastiest desserts you’ll have all holiday season. If there were ever two ingredients that just belong together until the end of time, it has to be chocolate and hazelnut. I don’t think I even need to say anything more. Just make these tarts soon, you’ll be glad you did. Trust me.
Let’s start by making the quick shortbread crust. I like this because it’s quick, as previously stated, and because the food processor does all the work for you. To make the crust, place the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse a few times to evenly combine.
**Note: You can also do this by hand, if you don’t have a food processor, or with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.**
Add the cold diced butter and process until the dough comes together in clumps. It might appear to be sandy, but it should clump together when you grab a handful and press it!
Divide the dough evenly among the greased tart pans and then press down evenly on the bottom and up the sides of each individual tart pan.
**Note: You can make one large 9-inch tart or six 4-inch individual tarts. Either way, I recommend using tart pans with a removable bottom because it makes it easier to remove the tarts later on. I like this set from Amazon the best!**
Prick holes on the bottom of each tart, with a fork, and then bake in a preheated 425°F oven until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes.
**Tip: I highly suggest freezing the tarts before baking for at least 15 minutes because it will prevent the crusts from shrinking during baking!**
Remove the crusts from the oven and immediately brush each tart with the egg wash. Set aside to cool completely.
**Tip: Brushing the crusts with a beaten egg white (with a splash of water) while they’re still hot prevents the crusts from getting soggy, once you add in the filling!**
While the crusts cool, let’s focus on the chocolate filling. To make the filling, combine the cream, hazelnut liqueur (if using) and the vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Set over moderate heat and bring to a slight simmer.
**Note: Keep a close eye and make sure that it doesn’t boil over or burn, because you’ll have to start over again!**
In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, butter and espresso powder. Pour the hot cream into the bowl, over the chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth and glossy.
**Tip: The tiny bit of espresso powder in the filling really helps to bring out the flavor of the chocolate and really deepen it. I always recommend adding a bit of coffee or espresso powder or even cinnamon to all chocolate recipes!**
While the ganache cools slightly, you can focus on roughly chopping the hazelnuts. Preferably you’ll want skinned hazelnuts for this, but if you can only find some with skins (they are cheaper) then I recommend toasting them in a skillet or oven on a baking sheet and then rubbing the skins off.
Carefully spoon the chocolate filling to the cooled crusts, filling up to the top of each. Sprinkle each tart with the chopped hazelnuts and a pinch of coarse sea salt.
Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and a half, or overnight, to set before serving. It will make the tarts easier to eat as well. You can either serve just as is, or if you’re feeling decadent, try them with a scoop of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
If you want to really bring out that chocolate hazelnut flavor, you can also whisk in a few tablespoons of Nutella into the filling as well. It won’t harm anything.
I love this recipe because aside from the crust, it really doesn’t require much cooking, and the filling sets in the fridge without having to worry about baking it a second time. It’s also a very versatile recipe, in that you can swap out the hazelnuts for cashews, peanuts, pecans, or even macadamia nuts!
These are quite decadent as is, and so you might not be able to polish off one whole tart in one sitting. Any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic or stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can allow to come to room temperature before eating or eat them cold. Give them a try and let me know what you think below!
**Thank you for your continued support of the occasional sponsored post on this site. They help keep the blog going, allowing me to continue to share my recipes with you on a weekly basis. I never want my sponsorships to feel forced, which is why I only partner with companies I feel very passionate about and actually use on a regular basis.**
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1 egg white, whisked with a splash of water
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 ½ cups toasted and skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease six 4-inch tart pans (with removable bottoms) with cooking spray and place on a large baking sheet, set aside.
- To make the crust, place the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse a few times to evenly combine. Add the butter and process until the dough comes together in clumps. Divide evenly among the prepared tart pans and then press the dough evenly on the bottom and up the sides of each pan. Freeze for 15 minutes. This will prevent the crusts from shrinking. Prick holes on the bottom of each tart and then bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately brush each tart with the egg wash. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make the filling, combine the cream, hazelnut liqueur (if using) and the vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Set over moderate heat and bring to a slight simmer. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, butter and espresso powder. Pour the hot cream into the bowl, over the chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth and glossy.
- Carefully spoon the chocolate filling to the cooled crusts, filling up to the top of each. Sprinkle each tart with the chopped hazelnuts and a pinch of salt. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and a half before serving.