The recipe can be found in his new cookbook, and was passed out as part of the demo, but the real treat was getting tidbits of wisdom from Nick while he prepared the tart. I wanted to pass along some of the best tips.
For the dough:
- Cold butter is a must, and will be better incorporated into the dough if very small pieces are used.
- If rolling the dough, shoot for about 1/8” thickness – not thinner. Roll from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock, then 2 o’clock to 8 o’clock, and finally from 10 o’clock to 4 o’clock. Be careful to not hit the edges during the rolls.
-Another approach involves dividing the dough into thirds. Take two thirds, and press into the bottom of a floured tart pan. Take the remaining thirds, and divide into three equal pieces. Roll each into strips about the length of about the diameter of the pan, then press in along the edges. This is a neat mathematical trick that uses the fact that pi is 3.14159, so three strips the same length of the diameter of the pan can be stretched and molded to fit the entire pan edge. Of course, this is a tart, not a pie (woka woka woka – nice joke, Nick).
To skin and chop hazelnuts:
- Bake on a cookie sheet at 350° F for 12-13 minutes. You want to see wisps of smoke and cracked shells.
-Rub the hazelnuts with a towel to remove the skins.
- Hazelnuts are round, and therefore can’t be chopped with a knife. A food processor is one approach to chopping them, another is to use the bottom of a saucepan to break them up.
For the filling:
- Be sure to let the chocolate sit in the hot sugar mixture for a few minutes before whisking to ensure that an even chocolate melt is achieved.
Final result: a dressed-up pecan pie with a buttery, crumbly crust. The filling is very sweet, with the chocolate taking a bit of a backseat to the sugar and hazelnuts, and is well-complimented by a crust that has minimal added sugar.