Well, it’s the week of Valentine’s Day, which means chocolate and decadence are absolute requirements for my baking agenda… plus, I had a Costco-size jar of Nutella that’s been metaphorically screaming at me to make these Nutella mini tarts with candied hazelnuts.
Deceptively simple and marvelously rich, these little beauties have provoked some very emphatic responses from my testers. There were superlatives involved. The words “one of the best things I have EVER had in my life” were thrown around. These nutella tarts are no joke, y’all.
These mini tarts consist of what is essentially a Nutella ganache nestled in a buttery cookie crust, which make for a really nice combination of crunchy and creamy textures. Adding in some lightly candied hazelnuts takes them from yummy to really impressive and also provides an opportunity for that little bit of decorative flair that takes them a long way in terms of looking classy.
I rediscovered these mini tart pans about a month ago. They were definitely an impulse purchase… five? six? years ago that and had never made their way out of the packaging. Having finally released them from their prison, I have to say – I’m pretty sold on these things! It’s entirely likely that more mini tarts will be making their way into the repertoire.
If you don’t have a set of six mini tart pans lying around, this could definitely work as a single tart. Just keep in mind that you’re going to want to slice it thinly. Even these 4 inch “single” servings are really more of a “eat it in stages” kind of dessert. Definitely enough for half today and half tomorrow – and they’ve kept really well for several days in the fridge.
Ingredients are listed in the order they appear in the recipe and anything that requires prep is in bold. Ingredients are bolded in the directions when you first encounter them and the quantity required is included. Time estimates are bolded and italicized. I also include notes about any special equipment you’ll need.
Nutella Mini Tarts with Candied Hazelnuts
(Adapted from The Perfect Pie)
Easy Buttery Tart Crust
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tablespoon of butter
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped (and preferably already skinned)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
Nutella Ganache Filling
- 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) Nutella
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (5.25 ounces) heavy cream
- 3 ounces dark, bittersweet, or semi-sweet chocolate – either chips or chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Required equipment: 6 mini tart pans (4″) or one 9″ or 10″ tart pan, ceramic pie weights or a pound or so of dried beans. You have to blind bake the crust and need to weigh it down to ensure the dough stays in place.
First, make the crust.
Prep work: melt the butter. Heat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease your tart pans with vegetable oil spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add the 14 tablespoons melted butter and stir together until dough forms.
Divide the dough into six equal portions (approximately 92 grams each when I made them) and place in the prepared pans. One at a time, press the dough into an even-ish layer around the sides and bottom of each pan. Try to get it relatively smooth and even, and press firmly at the seam between the sides and the bottom to try and avoid a really thick corner.
Once you’ve pressed the crust into each pan, line the top of each with a double layer of aluminum foil, covering the edges to prevent burning. You also want to shape it down into the pan so that is sits snugly against the dough. Fill each lined pan with either ceramic pie weights or dry beans. Place the lined pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges are golden – about 25 minutes.
Once the crust has started to turn golden, take them out of the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights. Return the uncovered tarts to the oven for 5-10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and firm to the touch. (Be careful as they can brown quickly. I left mine in for 10 and almost over baked them.) Remove from the oven and let cool completely – probably about an hour.
While the crusts cool, candy the hazelnuts.
Prep work: chop the hazelnuts. Line a baking sheet with either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt the 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the 3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts and stir with a silicone spatula until lightly toasted – about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the nuts and stir to coat. Continue to heat, stirring constantly until nuts begin to turn a golden amber color (they are caramelizing) – about 3 minutes. Pour the candied nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out with your silicone spatula. Allow to cool while you do some dishes and get ready to make the ganache.
Finally, make the filling and assemble the tarts.
In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the Nutella ganache: 1 1/2 cups Nutella, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, 3 ounces chocolate, 3 tablespoons butter. Melt over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and glossy – about 5-7 minutes.
Sprinkle about one-third to one-half of the candied hazelnuts in the bottom of your cooled tart crusts. Then carefully pour the warm ganache over the top, filling them completely.
Refrigerate the filled tarts for 15-20 minutes, just enough to set them slightly. Then, remove from the fridge and decorate the tops with the remaining hazelnuts before returning to the refrigerator to set fully – about 1 1/2 hours.
Once the filling is set, you can remove the outer ring of the pans and carefully remove the bottom. You may need to wedge the tip of a knife (or a fingernail) between the crust and the metal disc. Just be careful not to hurt yourself! (Or the crust).
Tarts will keep well in the fridge for at least four or five days – if they last that long!
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