Last year our squirrel family must have found alternative lodgings, as we did not see them all year, and we enjoyed eating our own nuts. This spring our squirrels returned, so the hazelnuts have long been harvested! I know/suspect it is the same family, as one of them always builds this above my balcony…
He doesn’t live there, but seems to take an afternoon nap there in winter occasionally when the sun shines on it!
At our autumn market a few weeks ago (how time flies!) I bought some hazelnut flour/meal. The smell when I opened the packet was delectable! This would be a wonderful choice for Christmas cookie dough, instead of ground almonds.
However, there’s plenty of time yet till Christmas cookies are on the agenda, and I had plans for pastry. I like experimenting with pastry, and this tart crust was absolutely delicious – aromatic and hazelnutty – and from now on I will definitely use hazelnuts in pastry more often!
Hazelnut Pastry Mushroom and Leek Tart
Here’s the pastry recipe, and the recipe for the leek and mushroom filling too.
- Grease a 28cm/11 inch flan dish. Preheat oven to 200°C/425°F.
- Sieve 100g (7/8 of a cup) plain flour, 50g (2/5 of a cup) wholemeal flour, and 50g (2/5 of a cup) hazelnut flour/meal (or very finely ground hazelnuts) with a pinch of salt. Cut 115g (1 stick) cold butter into the flours and rub in with fingertips until crumbly. Add a twist of nutmeg. Stir in just enough cold water to form the dough into a smooth ball. Do not kneed it, but try and handle it as little as possible. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll out to a circle large enough to fit your flan dish. Press into dish and prick base with a fork. Bake blind for 5 minutes.
- Thinly slice 2 leeks and sauté in a little butter or oil until very soft. This can take about 20 minutes. Add 400g (14 oz) sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. In a bowl, mix 2 eggs, 150ml ( 3/5 of a cup) crème fraîche, 2 tbsps milk, 1 tsp mixed herbs (I used bear’s garlic), salt and lots of black pepper. Pour the leek mixture into the tart and cover with the creamy mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Look at that lovely crust!
(P.S. I had a tiny bit of pastry left over, which I used to try a sweet filling: nutella, bananas, chocolate etc. Very nice BUT – I couldn’t taste the hazelnut pastry with all that sugary sweetness! I therefore suggest sticking to savoury fillings!)
Conversion Tables: http://www.traditionaloven.com/tutorials/conversion.html