Monday, May 10, 2010

Hello Filbert! Pear and Hazelnut Torta

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
serves 8

• 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.


  1. mmm hazelnuts are tasty and lol im quite drawn to that pic with the scattered cubes of butter mmm butter

  2. Yuummm this sure looks and sounds delicious! I really like ur first shot!

  3. Hazelnuts would have to be my fave nut to use in the kitchen (equal only to pistachios). I have a soft spot for hazelnut and chocolate.

    Consider this recipe bookmarked! I have a lot of pears that I need to offload :) Thanks for sharing it.

  4. La torta pere e nocciole non l'ho mai provata, e la tua proposta mi ispira molto...le nocciole dalle nostre parti sono buone, sopratutto quelle del Piemonte e quella di origine Campana "nocciole di Giffoni" le varietà Italiane più pregiate.
    Quindi questa tua torta veloce e pratica è da provare perchè sarà sicuramente anche buona.

  5. Great recipe. Thanks for road testing it. The finished product looks really nice and tasty. I think I would serve it with a big pot of whipped cream.

  6. Aww Bel. Your singing a song to my heart when you make this yummy torte.

    It looks delicious. Delicious Magazine Rules!

  7. penny aka jeroxieMay 10, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Bookmarked. Love it. I think I am swinging towards baking these days.

  8. My brain is exploding. This looks yummmmm!

  9. I'm not a huge fan of nuts which is why I don't know much about them, but hazelnuts bring only one thing to my mind- nutella! =] The torta looks delicious! Especially after it's sprinkled with sugar....

  10. This looks looks really, really delicious and I do love Belinda Jeffrey's recipes. Gorgeous combination.

  11. this looks amazing...pear and hazelnut together...just yummy :)

  12. This looks perfect! I was just thinking about pear desserts... thanks for the recipe :)

  13. Quick easy desserts are for me too! Thanks for sharing - I'm going to bake this delicious torta this weekend. Love pear tarts!

  14. OMG that looks damn fine! And I'm loving your little wooden dish

  15. Beautiful Torta, Belle! I have a tray of pears begging to be baked.

  16. Ahh love that final dusting of icing sugar on top! It looks perfect for Winter! :D

  17. Personally I love hazelnuts. I have a similar pan with a perforated base and have had leakage issues too!

  18. I'm too much of a Nutella fan to ever let hazelnuts be too far from my grasp!

    Great way to use some of the delicious pears around right now. Delicious^2!

  19. Mmmm, got any left? =D Yeah hazelnuts... Nutella, Fererro... that's pretty much what I think of when I think hazelnut. Definately understated nut me thinks.

  20. Nuts and fruit - that's perfect, especially if it's quick and easy!

  21. Hey Bel, this looks and sounds so enticing to me right now. And, oddly, the pears around here look great. They are from somewhere else though, somewhere pears are in season!

    By the way, I want another photography post when your'e feeling inspired. I need help, girl! Seriously...

  22. Pear and frangipane *droool*
    This looks just like the fancy pear tart I used to get from a fancy-pants patissier. Beautiful!

  23. oh yum!!! I want to eat this right now!! Almonds can get a little boring, so I like changing things up with hazelnuts sometimes.

  24. this tart looks absolutely deeelicious. I love the pear and hazelnut combo.

  25. What an impressive looking tart! I have an excessive amount of macadamias to get through.. Might give this a shot with macadamias instead :)

  26. hi chocolatesuze - cubed butter? Of course you are drawn to it!

    hi FFichiban - thanks, glad you like it.

    hi Karen @ Citrus and Candy - can't wait to see what you do with those pears. It's bound to be spectacular.

    hi RicetteAmoreFantasia - grazie! Sono felice di conoscere più circa questa ricetta meravigliosa.

    hi Mark @ Cafe Campana - haha, just out of shot is also... a big pot of whipped (double) cream!

    hi Amy @ cookbookmaniac - so, are you a delicious magazine maniac as well as a cookbook maniac, lol?

    hi penny aka jeroxie - yes, I think it's the cooler weather that makes baking more bearable.

    hi [Rhiannon][Wretchdz] - ooh, hope it wasn't too painful!

    hi Von - yes, Nutella is made from hazelnuts, too. I wonder how a nutella tart would taste (yum, I bet).

    hi Jo - Belinda Jeffery recipes are always reliable, a bit old-fashioned but good.

    hi M. - you're so right - pear and hazelnut do go together!

    hi Betty @ The Hungry Girl - I do love pears, esp. when they're moist and sweet. I think they're particularly good now, so go for it!

    hi foodwink - let us know how the torta goes, can't wait to see photos of it!

    hi john@heneedsfood - thanks, that little wooden tray has featured a lot in my photos lately; it's from Target!

    hi Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - thanks, Ellie!

    hi Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - what I like is that there is a layer of icing sugar when the torta comes out of the oven, then another layer before serving :)

    hi mlle delicieuse - thank goodness it's not just me - I had a feeling it might leak with the batter but didn't realise until it dripped onto the oven floor... :(

    hi Conor@HoldtheBeef - you know, I've never really liked Nutella on its own, but when it's cooked, it's much better.

    hi Angie Eats to Live (and Cook) - I'm going to try and find more things to do with hazelnuts from now on. They are too yummy to ignore!

    hi Arwen from Hoglet K - quick and easy is why I like this recipe! By the way, aren't there hazelnuts in Cadbury Fruit and Nut? Hmmm, yum again!

    hi Stella - I'm so glad you like the photos, though I'm no expert by any means! I loved your pictures of the tomato, by the way.

    hi Emma @ CakeMistress - they have similar tarts at David Jones, though they're quite pricey. Even more reason to DIY!

    hi Maria@TheGourmetChallenge - I know what you mean about almonds. Hazelnuts do have a wonderful flavour.

    hi linda - thanks so much!

    hi Forager - oh, I love macadamias! They'd go so well with pears, too.

  27. mmm..i love pears and love hazelnuts - will give this recipe a go. otherwise, i have the same baking tin as you!

  28. I accidently added 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 cup of flour and it seems to have done no damage. Even better, the slightly thicker batter didn't leak out of my loose bottom flan tin. It was so yummy I proceeded to eat almost the entire thing straight from the tin. This recipe is definitely a keeper.