I love this new trend where everybody’s re-discovering ancient grains and flours and also experimenting with new ones, as an alternative to wheat. Ragi, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, coconut flour, banana flour, and so much more just waiting out there to be used to redefine food as we know it now!
Baking is where things get tricky, because all-purpose flour is the natural darling of all things sweet or savoury that come out of an oven. While I’ve used plenty of different flours to make breads, my own experiments using alternate grains/nuts to make desserts has been limited and may I add, not very successful. After a completely fail coconut-flour cake I made not so long back, I decided to give another nut-based dessert another try, in another form. We live, we learn!
With my new-found love for tarts and pies, I thought why not make my favorite hazelnut praline mousse in the form of a tart filling. And since we were thinking alternate flours, I decided to go the whole hog, going flour-free for the crust as well.
Surprisingly, looking for a flour-free hazelnut crust recipe turned out a lot harder than I anticipated, and it took several hours reading many many recipes to finally put together a combination that I thought had some shot at coming together well. And it did.
Thankfully, I had less thinking to do with the filling since I was just using something I’ve done many times before, albeit with a few modifications. So let me tell you right here, this hazelnut praline filling is the BEST hazelnut-chocolate ganache you’ve ever had in your life. No, seriously. Like your mind is about to be blown with the flavors you’ll taste and knowing that this right here, is going to become your favorite frosting/icing/filling for years to come. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
Hazelnut Praline Tart
For the Crust
- 125 g Hazelnuts
- 80 ml* Coconut oil
- ¼ cup Caster Sugar
- 1/2 cup Oats flour (make your own by processing rolled oats till it resembles coarse flour)
- 1 cup* Rolled oats
- ¼ tsp Baking powder
For the filling
- 50 gms Hazelnuts
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- 140 gms Dark Chocolate
- 400 ml Heavy Cream
For the Crust
- Prepare a 9 inch round pie tin by greasing it with a little butter. Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- In the bowl of the processor, pulse your hazelnuts till they become a fine crumb, like sand. Add coconut oil (or melted butter), sugar, baking powder, oats flour & rolled oats. Pulse a few times till the entire mix comes together. The rolled oats need not become flour-y at this stage. We want them to break a bit but still have some texture. If the mix feels too loose*, add some more oil and pulse one more time.
- Upturn the entire mix into the greased pan. Spread and press lightly on the bottom and sides to form an even layer of crust. Press firm making sure to not leave any gaps. Transfer to an oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes till the crust starts to acquire a golden/brown color. Remove and cool on a rack.
For the filling
- Roast the hazelnuts in an oven for 8-10 minutes (150 degree C).
- Line a baking tray with parchment. Keep aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, add 1/4 cup of the sugar and let it melt over medium-low heat. Stir using a wooden spoon till it melts and becomes a light golden color.* Immediately add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, stirring and let the entire mix melts and acquired a golden color. Turn off the flame, and throw in all the hazelnuts at once and stir to coat them all with the sugar. Transfer to the lined tray and spread in a single layer. The praline will cool and harden. At this stage, it should resemble chikki.
- Once the praline has cooled, break it up into chunks and add it to a food processor. Grind till it becomes a super fine consistency.
- Melt the chocolate on a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the micowave, make sure to stir at 30 second intervals so as to not burn the chocolate.
- Add all of the prepared hazelnut praline into the liquid chocolate. Itf it appears grainy, don’t worry.
- Now, bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate-hazelnut mix. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge for an hour.
- Once the ganache has thickened, pour into the prepared crust. Smoothen the top. Garnish with chocolate curls, white ganache or anything else that you like. Let this set for atleast 4-6 hours or overnight if possible.
- Coconut oil lends fat and flavor to the crust. If you don’t like it, feel free to substitute with other forms of solid fats such as melted butter or olive oil, but the texture and flavor may differ a bit.
- Take a little mix and press to bring it together with thumb and forefinger. If it just crumbles and falls away, it’s too loose, if it binds a little, you’re okay.
- Caramelizing sugar is a slow, beautiful process. Do not try to rush it, do not turn up the heat, do not use a steel spoon, do not get too close to the pan.
- For measurement conversions to grams and ml, refer the conversion guide here – Measurements Conversion Guide