Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Just before I met my husband I resigned myself to a life of singleness. I was 36 years old and pretty doubtful that I would meet someone. In the time I was single though I never let the time pass by while pining for a suitor. I did quite a bit of traveling and moving to different cities much to my Mother's chagrin. (Now that I am a Mother, I completely understand). My motto was always, live and do things while you can. Looking back I am so grateful for that. One place I wanted to go to was Italy. I was actually in the beginning stages of planning a trip there. My idea was to go with my parents and brother (who was divorced at the time). I started the inquiry process but that is about as far as it got. In walked Italy to my life.

A strappingly handsome dude who is a little over seven years younger than I. The first time I looked at him and saw his eyes, I was sold. The first time he ate my pumpkin muffins he was sold. Just kidding. It helped the process, the muffins, but he fell for me that first night too.

I continue to be intrigued by Italy. Dont get me wrong there are a hundred other places I want to go to: Greece, Spain, Japan, France, Argentina... just to name a few.

All this to say that I wanted to make my dear husband a birthday treat that was very Italian. What is more Italian than the classic hazelnut/chocolate combo? Gianduja. Yum. On my to do list.

So around his birthday I had asked if anyone knew of a great dessert that combined chocolate and hazelnut. I have made cakes before but I wanted something unique. Shelly of This Old Farm to my rescue. She emailed me a recipe for chocolate hazelnut tart. I was sold. I know it has been some time but I am finally getting around to posting it. I did not do the glaze or the vanilla sauce because I felt it was just what I wanted with the mousse and the pastry. Besides I just plum ran out of time. It was delicious Shelly. Thank you for taking the time to type it all and send it. I fully appreciate the effort. There was a lot of moaning around the table that night as we treasured each and every bite.

Bittersweet Chocolate Terrine with Vanilla Custard Sauce
Bon Appetit, October 1989

A rich chocolate mousse with a hazelnut pastry bottom, all encased in a bittersweet chocolate glaze.
12 servings


12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large egg yolks

8 large egg whites, room temp
3 tablespoons sugar


2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
3 teaspoons (about) whipping cream


6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate , chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Cognac

12 toasted hazelnuts

Vanilla Custard Sauce (see recipe)

For mousse:
Line 9x5-inch rectangular loaf pan with 2 pieces of parchment extending 1 inch over long and short sides. Melt chocolate with butter in top of double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from over water. Cool 5 minutes. Whisk in yolks 1 at a time.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold half of whites into cooled chocolate to lighten. Gently fold in remaining whites. Pour mousse into prepared pan. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

For pastry:
Finely grind hazelnuts in processor. Blend in flour and sugar. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture has a sandy texture. Blend in yolk and enough cream to form dough that just begins to come together. Gather dough into square; flatten into rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough out between sheets of parchment to 9x5-inch rectangle. Peel off top sheet of parchment. Transfer dough on parchment to cookie sheet. Bake until pastry is firm and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Cool pastry on sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour.

For glaze:
Melt chocolate and butter with corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Scald cream with Cognac in heavy small saucepan.
Pour into chocolate; mix well. Cool slightly.

Carefull place pastry atop mousse. Place cake rack over terrine. Invert terrine onto rack. Peel off parchment. Using serrated knife, carefully cut away any excess pastry around base of terrine. Place terrine on rack over cookie sheet. Pour lukewarm glaze over terine, spreading gently to coat top and sides. Arrange nuts down center of terrine. Chill until glaze sets, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Run small sharp knife around base of terrine to loosen. Transfer terrine to serving plate. Cut into slices using warm knife. Transfer to plates. Spoon custard around each piece and serve.

Vanilla Custard Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

2 cups half and half
2/3 cup milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Combine half and half and milk in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Bring mixture to simmer. Remove from heat.
Cover and let steep 40 minutes.

Whisk yolks, sugar and salt in medium bowl to blend. Bring half and half mixute
to boil again. Gradually whisk some into yolks. Return mixture to saucepan and
stir over medium-low heat until custardthickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 8 minutes; do not boil. Strain into bowl. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.(Sauce can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.)


Shelly said...

One of my all-time favorite desserts...loaded with special memories of the first time I made it, so happy that it was a hit at your house as well.
Sure wish I had that in my fridge right now, dinner is finished and oh how I would loooove some dessert!

regina di roma said...

We have two things in common, a love of pumpkin muffins, and Italy :)
Keep up the great writing, I'll be following!

vibi said...

Mmmmm... I'll be going to your place next time, instead of paying hundreds for a plane fare to Rome! LOL

Beautiful, Lori... very European looking.

Chocolate Shavings said...

That dessert sounds delicious - and what a beautiful love story!

Lucy said...

Wonderful dessert, just decadent, and lovely story of you & your DH!!

My last trip to Italy was for 21 days.. something I must do again, soon!

kat said...

Oh my gosh that looks so amazing!

Mary said...

What a wonderful dessert and what a lucky guy. I loved hearing a bit of your story. I can't wait to try your dessert.

Marta said...

Our list of places to visit is very similar, but I too was instantly seduced by Italy upon my first visit! I love this post, and I'm trying those pumpkin muffins on a certain man for sure! hahaha
This tart looks amazing, light and heavenly!
Thanks for sharing it :)

Grace said...

i plan to woo my future husband, whomever he may be, with my cooking skills. :)
great dessert, by the way--the crust is stellar!

Anonymous said...

what a sweet story about you and your hubby...I can't believe you were out of hope in the love dept! Not fair!!! Glad that changed. I haven't heard of or tried this dessert but it looks perfectly divine!

Maria said...

I LOVE Italy, I've been once, but could live there. It is my favorite. Great post!

oneordinaryday said...

Wow. What a gorgeous dessert!

Tessa said...

I love tarts and I love chocolate and hazelnut! What a great combination! I dream of traveling to Italy one day, too.

Lori said...

Shelly- thank you again!

Regina- salute!

vibi- your welcome anytime!

Chocolate Shavings- thank you.

Lucy- Now that is a perfect amount of time. A week is far too short.

Kat- thank you.

Mary- thanks for reading my story.

Marta- something magical about those muffins.

Grace- I just know whoever that man may be he will be a lucky man.

One shot beyond- that is when you find love they say wehn you give up.

Maria- I dream of living there too but I would miss here as well.

One ordinary day- thank you.

Tessa- thank you!

Bunny said...

Oh this looks sinful Lori! That's why I want it!!

Ingrid said...

Yum! That looks great. I've never had chocolate or hazelnut together. My sitter loves those flavors together I said I'd make her a cake that combined them.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

What a great story and good for you, i.e. "In the time I was single though I never let the time pass by while pining for a suitor."

The dessert looks lovely too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing a bit of your story. He is lucky to have you and it sounds like you have been blessed with him as well :)

Temperance said...

This looks better everytime I see it.

chocolatecup said...

this sounddds awfullly awfully yummy:)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.