Friday Flowers: Fuchsias and Hazelnut Praline Nutella Pie
When I was growing up — in the time before Nutella was sold almost everywhere — my friend Tanja always brought jars of it home from her visits to family in Germany. She introduced me to this creamy, oh-so-delicious party in a jar! Nutella will always bring my mind to Tanja’s kitchen . . . and digging right into the jar with a spoon!
Chocolate and hazelnuts are one of the most delicious culinary combinations imaginable. I think Nutella is a perfect, brilliant product, and this is by far the most exciting dessert I’ve ever made with it! The crust crumbles perfectly, the praline crunches sweetly, and the filling has a silky, smooth, creaminess that’s beyond belief.
And yes, it’s Friday, so I’m also sharing flowers!
For as long as I can remember, Fuchsias have been hanging in baskets in the front yard at my parents’ house. I’ve always thought they were so sweet, beautiful, fun, and exciting. Just like this pie! (And they’re blooming like crazy right now!)
Whatever entertaining you decide to do this weekend, the pie is a must! Just do it! I promise you’ll be thrilled — as will anyone who’s lucky enough to eat it with you!
Hazelnut Praline Nutella Pie
For the praline:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the crust:
34 Oreo cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted, unsalted butter
For the filling:
2 cups Nutella (1/2 of this will be spread directly on the crust)
1/2 cup Hazelnut Praline
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur)
6 Ferrero Rocher candies, each one cut into fourths
- To make the praline, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and place the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, roast the nuts for approximately 12 minutes. They should be very aromatic and the skins should be cracking. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes, then they can be rubbed together in your hands or in a dish towel, and the skins should flake away. Some skin will remain, and that's okay. Now cover the baking sheet with foil and coat it with the butter. Place the roasted nuts on the buttered baking sheet.
- While the nuts cooling, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. Watch carefully but do not stir and cook until the sugar is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Immediately pour this evenly over the nuts and let stand for at least 20 minutes. It will quickly harden as it cools. Break the praline into smaller pieces and add them to a food processor. Blend just until the praline is in small pieces. (You don't want to blend them too finely -- they should be roughly chopped.) Set aside.
- To make the crust, add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and blend into very fine crumbs. In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter with the cookie and then pour the mixture into a 9-1/2-inch pie plate. Use your hands to gently form the crust, keeping it an even thickness on the bottom and sides. Place the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- To make the filling, add the cream to a small mixing bowl and whip it just until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine 1-1/2 cups of the Nutella with the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Blend until very smooth. Now use a rubber spatula to fold in the whipped cream and Frangelico. Set the filling aside while you further prepare the crust.
- Spread an even layer of the remaining 1/2 cup of the Nutella over the crust. Then sprinkle about 3/4 of the praline mixture on the Nutella. The praline should evenly cover the bottom and sides.
- Now add the filling and smooth the top with a small, off-set metal spatula. Sprinkle the remaining praline on top and decorate with the quartered Rocher candies. Let the pie refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Ferrero Rocher candies are a delicious blend of creamy milk chocolate surrounding a whole hazelnut within a crisp wafer -- all covered with more milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts.
Since I try to keep our home gluten-free for my son with Celiac Disease, I make my crust with Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies. They are essentially a gluten-free Oreo, and they're great! (And if you're gluten-free, beware of the wafers in the Rocher candy!)
To save time: You can make the praline up to four days ahead, keeping it covered in a cool, dry place. The crust can be made up to two days ahead. (Cover it with with plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer until you're ready to assemble the pie.) And you can assemble the pie the night before you plan to serve it, keeping it refrigerated and very loosely covered with foil.
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