Every year I anxiously await February 5th to break open my giant tub of Nutella and celebrate with fellow hazelnut-chocolate addicts in what many feel is the year’s sweetest occasion. But don’t be fooled into thinking I only eat Nutella on this date. No. I consume indecent amounts of Nutella, eaten straight off my finger all year round, and guilt never factors in any of these episodes.
A big grazie from the Nutellaholics of the world goes to Michelle from Bleeding Espresso and Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy for annually hosting my favorite blog party at World Nutella Day, and providing us with many creative tributes to the dreamy spread.
As this year’s contribution, I made crostata. Calling it an open-top tart is offensive, mainly because baked Nutella tends to dry out and burn. At least in my crazy oven. The cookie-like crust is pastafrolla–which is the Italian version of shortcrust pastry, or the French pâte sucrée–and the filling is usually jam, sliced fruit or custard with pine nuts.
I love the appealing chewy crunch of coconut and the enveloping, sexy embrace of Nutella, it was only natural the two should become one in my flaky crusted, sliky smooth
Crostata Cocco & Nutella ~ Coconut and Nutella Tart
350 g (1 3/4 cups) flour
150 g (3/4 cup) coconut flour
200 g (1 cup) confectioner’s sugar
300 g (1 1/2 cups) salted butter
4 egg yolks
A pinch of salt (only if you're using unsalted butter)
The star ingredient, Nutella
Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).
Shortcrust pastry is somewhat of a challenge. If the dough is overkneaded and too cold, it will be too firm to roll; if too warm and soft, the dough could fall apart during baking. Temperature is key, so work away from the hot stove, possibly on a marble surface and using chilled bowls and utensils. I run my hands under the cold water before kneading the ingredients together. Ready?
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the regular flour and the coconut flour. Add the sugar and, using two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Roll up your sleeves, remove any rings and bracelets, and get in there pinching and breaking up the butter chunks further with your fingers until the texture resembles coarse oatmeal, and the butter pieces are no larger than peas.
Drop in the yolks, and knead just until the dough pulls together. You want to obtain a silky texture, so don’t be tempted to add flour.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Butter and dredge a 12-inch tart pan (or you can line it with parchment paper like I did). Lightly dust your rolling pin with a suspicion of flour, and roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch in thickness. Use a paring knife to cut away excess dough, and save extra bits for decoration or cookies.
Blanket the tart pan with the flattened dough, push well into the edges of the pan, and poke with the tines of a fork, so it will not deform during baking. Another way to avoid forming of uneven air pockets in the crust is to cover the raw dough with parchment paper and use weights to keep it from rising. I scatter two fistfuls of dried beans to cover the entire surface, but I’ve heard of many other weights, like marbles, uncooked rice, bearing balls, or washed pebbles.
Pop the crust plus any spare bits in the hot oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden (my oven bakes it in just under 10 minutes). Remove weights and let the crust cool briefly.
Enter the diva. Warm the jar in a pot of hot water before liberally slathering a generous layer of Nutella on the baked crust (don’t be afraid to overdo) and decorate with leftover dough shapes, if you like. Licking the instruments clean is greatly encouraged.
Cut large slices, serve with champagne and field marriage proposals as needed.