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Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by a huge jar of maple syrup I recently received from the CSA I run (Paisley Farm - Tivoli, NY). This maple syrup has a special place in my heart, because I helped tap some of the trees that went into making the batch, and I knew I wanted to celebrate it in creating this tart. Hazelnuts seemed like a natural choice to give the crust depth, aroma, and winter hardiness. The pomegranate flavors I used to finish the tart also give a nod to the season (as well as my obsession with Persian cuisine).
My recipe for the Hazelnut Tart Dough was adapted from Alice Waters's recipe for Pate Sucree; I adapted Martha Stewart's Pastry Cream recipe for my Maple Pastry Cream. —karollu
Hazelnut Tart Dough
- 1 cup finely ground roasted hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add the ground hazelnuts, kosher salt, cinnamon, and egg yolk, and mix until well incorporated.
- Gradually mix in flour until dough begins to form, and there are no more dry patches.
- Remove dough from mixer (will be crumbly) and place onto a long sheet of plastic wrap. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.
- Wrap dough tightly in the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Unwrap the dough and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll into a disk approximately 1/4" thick.
- Press dough into an 8" tart pan (there will be leftover dough). If dough breaks upon transfer, simply piece the dough together into the tart pan like a puzzle. Poke holes on the bottom with a fork.
- Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown and dry on the bottom.
- Allow to cool before filling.
Maple Pastry Cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup + 1/2 cup set aside
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 handful fresh pomegranate seeds
- In a saucepan, mix together milk, 1/3 cup maple syrup, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt.
- Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a simmer over low-medium heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch. Very gradually incorporate the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Once combined, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, whisking constantly until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat immediately and whisk in 1 tablespoon butter until the cream is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refridgerate for at least 2 hours with plastic wrap pressed against the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
- While the pastry cream is chilling, combine the 1/2 cup maple syrup with 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses in a small saucepan over low heat until almost simmering. Allow to cool, and set aside.
- Once the pastry cream is chilled, whisk it once again until smooth and pour into the 8" hazelnut tart crust. Smooth and level the top with an offset spatula.
- When ready to serve the tart, garnish each slice with fresh pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of the pomegranate syrup. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Late Winter Tart (Sweet or Savory)