AlphaBakes challenge turned out to be the letter I. This is a really limiting letter - I didn't find any ingredients beginning with I and the only entries in the indexes of most of my books were 'icing' or 'iced'. I decided to follow the advice of this month's host (Caroline of Caroline Makes) and think geographically. I also decided I would only pick a recipe if it was labelled with the country of origin in it's name eg I wouldn't choose tiramisu, and then post it as Italian tiramisu, or make an Irish Guinness cake.
After much studying of my cookery books I found a recipe called Italian Pine Nut Tart with Chocolate Spread in my Green and Black's book of chocolate recipes which looked really tasty. It is described as a cross between a biscuit and a tart, and can be filled with almost anything, but a book of chocolate recipes had to go with a chocolate filling - a lot of chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella).
310g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
300g chocolate hazelnut spread
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
50g pine nuts
Sift the flour and baking powder and rub in the butter, as for pastry.
Mix in the sugar, then add the beaten eggs and the water if needed, to make a soft dough. Knead gently until dough is smooth, then wrap and chill for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 23cm(9") loose-based fluted flan tin
Roll out 3/4 of the dough on a floured surface and use to line the tart tin. The dough is soft and difficult to work with but any holes can be patched up easily.
Spread the chocolate spread evenly over the pastry, and roll the remaining pastry to make a lid. Press the edges of the base and lid together, to seal.
Mix the egg yolk and milk, and brush over the tart, then sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden, watching the tart carefully towards the end of the cooking time, as pine nuts can burn easily.
This was a delicious tart. The pastry was crumbly and buttery - like a soft shortbread. The chocolate hazelnut spread was a thick enough layer to really taste and the pine nuts gave a crunchy, slightly bitter topping. Definitely one to make again!
We tried to think of other fillings which would work well, and came up with several - marzipan, creme patissiere, thick fruit compotes, chocolate ganache for nut avoiders, mincemeat, dates cooked to a purée. Other flavours could be added to enhance the tart - cinnamon or citrus zest in the pastry, for instance, would go well with a creme patissiere or marzipan filling.
AlphaBakes is the brainchild of Caroline of Caroline Makes and Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker. They take turns to host the challenge, and the randomly chosen letter must be used either as the main part of the recipe name or as a main ingredient eg N is for Nuts or Nanaimo Bars. The host for the month posts a round-up of entries at the end of the month.