Chocolate hazelnut tart – crostata di cioccolato e nocciole

I love Rosa Mitchell. I always feel terribly privileged when I go to Rosa’s Kitchen, her restaurant in Punch Lane, Melbourne and see her there, behind the counter, cooking her fabulous Sicilian inspired dishes with incredible energy. I have written about her cookbook, My Cousin Rosa before and the recipe I am posting today is again from the book. Her recipes are simple and from the heart.

hazelnut and chocolate tart-italy on my mind

I took a piece of the crostata di ciccolato e nocciole that I made to my mother on the weekend. I love taking over food that I made to her. She cooked for me for so many years, I am so happy that I can give a little back. And she LOVED this tart – she stopped several times whilst eating it to exclaim – “ma che bon che’l xe” (“how good this is” in dialect). Now I can’t wait to show her the photos that are on this post – they were taken by a talented young photographer, Natalie Grosso. Natalie has just stated her business OAK Art & Design and came over and spent the afternoon taking photos whilst I cooked. Natalie did a great job of the photos – she caught the afternoon light on the cake beautifully. View a selection of the photos she took on that day here.

cropped hazelnut chocolate cake-italy on my mind

The filling of this delicious tart combines chocolate, roasted hazelnuts, orange zest and Marsala. This combination is perfect for the countless people who love the combination of chocolate and orange (as I do). And of course there is Marsala in both the pastry and the filling – which gives it that distinctly Italian taste. This tart will keep in the fridge for five or so days after baking and is lovely served with a bit of double cream on the side.

Crostata di cioccolato e nocciole

Pastry:
200g (7 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
140g (5 oz) chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 orange, zest only
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Marsala

Filling:
280g (10 oz) roasted hazelnuts, ground
65g (2.3 oz) each dark chocolate and milk chocolate, roughly chopped then ground to the same size as the hazelnuts
90 g (3 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
125g sugar (4.5 oz)
1/2 orange, zest only
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Marsala

To serve:
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Extra roasted hazelnuts

Grease a 25 cm (10 inch) tart tin with a removable base with butter and set aside. Place the flour, butter, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes, so that it is a fine crumb. Drop in the egg and Marsala and beat until it just comes together. Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead quickly until smooth. Line the prepared tart tin and press well into the sides. Prick the base multiple times with a fork and place in the fridge to chill.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). To make the filling, beat the butter, sugar, Marsala and orange zest for several minutes until light and creamy. Drop in the eggs and the flour and beat for a few more minutes. Now fold in the ground hazelnuts and chocolate. Pour the filling into the chilled based and flatten with a wooden spoon.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling feels firm to touch. Allow to cool then dust with cocoa powder and decorate with chopped roasted hazelnuts before serving.

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