Do you know Abby Dodge? NO? You should. She was the inspiration behind my all time favorite cake, a Chocolate Espresso Cake but I didn’t know Abby then. I got better acquainted with Abby as a recipe developer when I noticed her name again as the force behind this amazing Peppermint Meringue cake and I found her website and wrote to her; we loved it that much. She sent me such a nice reply; I was surprised not just to hear from her but she shared some ideas even then for how I could ‘switch’ it up! Now that Abby was becoming a familiar name; I noticed that she was also responsible for the recipes in the Williams Sonoma ‘Dessert’ cookbook I love. Next was Twitter and @abbydodge and we started to tweet where she was not just gracious and warm, she was downright funny and really; just one of the gang.
I won’t deny I was thrilled that she hired my company, Kinetic Webs, to bring her website and blog over to WordPress. I think it might have been more my begging her to let me, I so wanted her to have something that better represented what an amazing talent she is. Visit her site for all sorts of Abbyness! Her latest? She has wrapped a whole bunch of us up into a challenge of sorts; a Twitter group where we will all #baketogether. Like friends in real life…the relationships we develop on Twitter have many of us longing for that opportunity and this is a great virtual response to our needs. Thanks Abby!
This challenge, to do whatever we feel calls us to make a Chocolate Truffle Tart our own, is so easy. Not just the recipe…but everything about the event. We’re given little directive except to (in Abby’s words) ‘switch it up’ a bit. She likes that idea; her cookbook, ‘Desserts 4 Today’ offer fabulous desserts with four ingredients and a whole bunch of ‘switchins’ to either change the recipe a bit or in some cases to pump up the volume. We can post anytime in the month up until the middle of June so even scheduling has been made easy and then Abby will do a wrapup on June 15th of all the delicious chocolate pies and tarts and who knows what else that her
rabid followers fans have done.
I had just recently received a whole box of chocolate bars from my friend Jenn who now lives in Switzerland and has a Gluten Free blog at Jenn Cuisine. I am hiding those chocolates from myself but last week had one that had a hazelnut filling and that was it…that was what I was going to do. I loved the combination of milk chocolate and hazelnuts so I knew one thing I would be ‘switchin’ up. While I love dark chocolate with a nice Cabernet or Port for desserts like this I prefer something a bit lighter; more on the milk chocolate side.
My version, like so much of what I do, was brought about by abundance or the lack thereof. I was at the local Sunflower Market a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that they carried hazelnuts. They are almost impossible to find in the regular grocery store and I wanted some for granola so I bought a container of them. Way more than what I needed for a recipe of granola. I love hazelnuts and even more so, hazelnut liqueur. It tastes fabulous and really…is there any cuter bottle than that bottle with the cord belt like a monk. I don’t think so!
Sadly the abundance of hazelnuts did not translate to an abundance of hazelnut liqueur and I have to admit, I just didn’t hesitate at the price at the first small liquor store I went to; I just couldn’t do it. Had hazelnuts gone the way of pine nuts in the past couple of weeks or something? I’m glad I thought to check one more place on the way home. Ten DOLLARS difference in the cost for a 750 ML bottle…that equated to almost 50% more. I’m not sure what the word ‘Discount’ meant to that first place except maybe a small discount from charging double!
I chose to use a combination of both dark chocolate and white chocolate because
- I had plenty of both
- I had no milk chocolate
The result was lighter but still with the richer taste of dark chocolate; sort of perfect actually.
A rich chocolate pie flavored with hazelnuts and Frangelico hazelnut liqueur.
For the crust
- 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
For the filling
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 6 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 2 ounces (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 Tbsp Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch table salt
For the topping
- 1 package (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 375°F and have ready a 9-inch glass pie plate
- In a food processor, mix until thoroughly ground, the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and hazelnuts.
- Dump the mixture into the prepared pie plate and press evenly onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Bake until fragrant and slightly darker brown, 8 - 10 minutes and set pie plate on a rack to cool.
- In a medium metal bowl set over simmering water, melt the dark and white chocolate, half and half, and butter.
- Remove from the heat and add the Frangelico, vanilla and salt.
- Whisk the mixture until well blended. Set aside, whisking occasionally, until room temperature and slightly thickened, about 1 hour. (See Notes for faster cooling option).
- With a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the crust and spread evenly. Let cool completely and refrigerate until the filling is set, about 4 hours and up to 1 day before adding the topping.
- In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar, Frangelico liqueur, sugar and vanilla.
- Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat on low speed until smooth. Increase speed to medium high and beat until cream is thick and holds firm peaks.
- Decorate the top of the pie using a decorator tip or by using a small metal spatula; spreading the whipped cream over the chocolate filling leaving lots of swirls and peaks.
- Cover loosely and refrigerate up to 8 hours.
- Serve with shaved chocolate on each serving.