This post honors the 2010 World Nutella Day – in spirit, at least :)
This is a coming out.
I am one of those posh, unbearable persons who will turn their head with a disgusted look at people who choose to eat something with Nutella. I will always order my crêpe with real chocolate, or crème de marron, or butter and sugar, rather than having a crêpe with Nutella. When in a hotel, at the breakfast buffet I’d always leave there the little Nutella boxes in favour of.. pretty much anything else.
It is not that I can’t eat it. It is just too cheap and … now I am going to admit it… not very good.
Too sweet, too fatty.
Before you start throwing stones at me, I need to finish my confession.
Whenever I do have a Nutella pot in the neighborhood, it is gone. Blink your eyes and I have eaten the whole lot. I don’t know what kind of drug it contains, it is just addictive. I’d just have a bit of a spoon and then another bit and then some more and then… no more Nutella, ups. it is an ultimate comfort food, though it normally just makes me feel fat and a bit queasy and definitely mad at myself for not being stronger. I’ve always blamed the texture.
However Nutella(tm) is not the only chocolate spread I cannot resist. Give me any. I’ll finish it soon. Luckily enough for my figure, though, I need to eat much less of the stuff when it is quality stuff. The darker the chocolate, the more I like it, and the less I eat of it, albeit the comfort effect is all there and maybe even stronger. I also feel much more grown up and decadent in eating an expensive crème chocolat: I know, I am an incredible posh person when it comes to food. When I was a child, my parents would never buy Nutella, but they will as a special treat allow us to have the much more expensive Supra by Caffarel, which does not contain any hazelnuts though (their gianduja is more Nutella like and is also very good, but milk chocolate was scolded in my family). Unfortunately, with the years, the quality lowered and it is today not as good as it was twenty years ago. However you can get very good dark chocolate artisanal spread. My favourite one to date is made by Pfatisch in Turin, and I make sure to grab a pot whenever I go there. Weirdly enough, now that I am so close to Belgium, I have not tried any chocolate spread yet. I’ll probably not need to.
The main point of all this idle chatter is that I do love chocolate and hazelnuts in spreadable form, and I wanted to try and make some Nutella inspired spread. I had to include hazelnuts and cocoa, of course. I decided to include real chocolate because, well, can you ever go wrong by including chocolate? and then some fat and sugar, like most recipes out there. Then I thought I wanted something with a bit more consistency. I decided to try and adapt lemon curd to Nutella. Kind of crazy idea, but it worked! The result is so amazingly good, I am already at my second batch in a few days. The flavour is very rich, the consistency is very good, and it is incredibly easy to make. I also made it very, very, very dark and bitter. if you are not a huge dark chocolate fan, I’d increase the amount of sugar or leave out the cocoa powder, and possibly swap the bitter chocolate for a milk one.
I’m not sure whether the spread will keep, because mine didn’t survive 24 hours, but if it does, this is great gift material. If there is more than one chocolate lover in your house, I’d double the quantities, just in case. One warning: I started with real whole hazelnuts, I brought from Calabria. They are extremely flavourful, so I would not want to swap them with anything else, but you’ll have little hazelnut bits in your spread. If you want to have a smooth one, I’d substitute hazelnuts with an equal weight of some store-bought hazelnut paste. You can find them in health shops, they should contain nothing but hazelnuts.
Very Dark Chocolate Nutella Curd
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
40 gr granulated sugar
30 gr toasted peeled hazelnuts
40 gr good quality chocolate, with 70% cocoa
30 gr unsalted butter
20 gr flavourless vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
15 gr (1 tablespoon) good quality cocoa
40 ml full fat milk
Using a food processor, or if you don’t have it, like me, a hand blender – or a mortar, if you are really brave – chop the hazelnuts together with the sugar, as thinly as possible (see above if you want a very smooth consistency).
Put chocolate, roughly chopped, butter and oil in a small bowl, immerse it in very hot water, and let it melt, stirring occasionally.
Add the cocoa powder and the milk to the chopped hazelnuts.
Put eggs in a smallish pan with a good thick bottom. You can either cook it directly on the flame, or use a bain-marie: I went for the first method, but this cream is more delicate than a curd, so if you don’t want to go wrong, go for the bain-marie. Either way, mix the eggs with all the other ingredients, and put them on moderate heat. Keep stirring until the cream thickens, but don’t let it boil as you would with a lemon curd. The problem here is that the chocolate tends to burn. If you have a thermometer, when it is about at 80 Celsius you should turn the fire off.
Pur the cream in a pot, and cover it or it will form a film on the surface. Eat at room temperature, or colder for a thicker consistency.