Hazelnuts are the forgotten nut, for me at least. While almonds, cashews and macadamias feature frequently in my kitchen, the humble hazelnut usually misses out. I'm not sure why this is - hazelnuts are a good source of Vitamin E, and some species are also known by the adorable name of filbert nut. 'Filbert' might even be the star in Ferrero Rochers, correct me if I'm wrong.
This recipe for Pear and Hazelnut Torta was found in the May 2009 issue of delicious magazine (the Italian issue) and it's by Belinda Jeffery. Printed in large type on the page were the words 'quick', 'easy' and 'dessert in a hurry'. That's for me, thanks!
The torta brought back memories of my pear frangipane tart - it even looks similar. But the hazelnuts in the tart have a completely different flavour, and I think this tart/torta is much better, tastewise. So, hello Filbert, welcome to my kitchen.
Pear and Hazelnut Torta
Ingredients• 100g toasted hazelnuts (skins removed)
• 1/2 cup (125g) caster sugar
• 1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• Pinch of salt
• 2 free-range eggs
• 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 80g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
• 20g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
• 2 ripe beurre bosc pears
• Icing sugar, to dust
1. Preheat oven to 170C.
2. Lightly grease a 26cm round tart pan or a ceramic flan dish.
3. Place hazelnuts, caster sugar and 1 tblsp flour into a food processor and mix until hazelnuts are finely ground but not too much that they form a paste. Pour mixture into a large bowl.
4. To the nut mixture, sift remaining flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and whisk until well combined.
5. Beat eggs in a separate bowl until just frothy and then whisk in milk, vanilla and cooled melted butter. Pour the egg mixture into the nut mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
6. Peel and core the pears and cut into quarters. For each quarter, slit the pear into 5mm-thick slices but do not cut all the way through. Press down gently on the quarters with the palm of your hand, so the pear fans out. Using a knife, slide it under a quarters and carefully transfer it onto the batter. Do likewise for the remaining quarters. Dot with small chunks of the chilled butter.
7. Bake the torta for 25-30 minutes until it becomes a little puffy on top. If it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil.
8. Remove from the oven and sift the icing sugar thickly over the top. Let it cool and sift more icing sugar on the torta before serving.
Recipe adapted from delicious (May 2009)
l-r from top left:
hazelnuts, sugar, flour in the processor; after mixing, Filbert becomes a fine meal; putting baking powder into the flour; whisking the eggs, vanilla and milk; tart is dotted with butter, ready to bake
Note: I used my regular flan tin, which has a perforated loose bottom. This is good for rolled pastry tarts, but not very good for batters like this one (small leakage problem).
Dust over icing sugar after taking the torta out of the oven.
Note the dark spots on my tart - the oven is playing up and burning things it has no right to burn. Oven repairman may need to make a return visit.
Verdict: This is a delicious tart (from delicious magazine!). Well worth making.