One of my favorite Instagram accounts recently is Majachocolat. Maja is a confectioner and food photographer who prepares beautiful desserts and photographs them with minimalistic, breathtaking styling. One of her specialties is beautiful pies and tarts, and that’s what made me fall in love with her forever. Her tarts are creative, always perfectly decorated in a completely modern way, and they always make me wanna get into the kitchen and bake endlessly.
The talented Dana Barzak shares with me this endless love for beautiful tarts and Maja’s account. So when we met a few weeks ago to bake something together, the inspiration was clear from the beginning. As two tart lovers (and both barely take a bite from the cake at the end!), we decided to make pie inspired by Maja’s Instagram.
One of the flavor combinations that I will probably never get tired of is chocolate and nuts. It allows countless variations of all kinds; dark chocolate, milk or white chocolate with so many types of nuts – diversity options are really endless. The huge amount of nuts I had at home when Dana visited made us create this chocolate and nut pie in a modern design.
It is made of a golden, buttery crust filled with almond praline cream and a dark chocolate ganache for decoration. But what makes this pie especially gorgeous is its decoration. You cut the pie into 8 equal slices, and each slice is patiently arranged with nuts of one kind. The resulting look is really cool and modern and also not so complicated to prepare (but brace yourself – you will need to be patient while decorating, especially with pistachios).
Modern Chocolate Nut Pie
For short crust pastry:
- 150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp.) all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (1 stick) cold butter cut into cubes
- 40 grams (4 tbsp.) icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp. cold water as needed
For almond praline cream:
- 100 grams (1 cup) almond meal
- 70 grams (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
- 75 grams (3/4 stick) cold butter cut into cubes
- 100 grams (3 tbsp.) praline paste available at baking specialty stores
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 30 grams (3 tbsp.) all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 30 ml. (2 tbsp.) Amaretto liqueur or brandy
For chocolate ganache:
- 200 grams dark chocolate at least 60% cocoa solids
- 250 ml. (1 cup) whipping cream
- 100 grams peeled roasted pistachios
- 100 grams roasted pecans
- 100 grams roasted whole almonds
- 100 grams peeled roasted hazelnuts
Crust: in a food processor with a steel blade put flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and process until mixture is crumbly.
Add egg yolk and continue to process just until large clumps of dough form. If the dough is not setting, gradually add a little water.
Transfer the dough chunks on a lightly floured work surface and form a disc-shape with your hands.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
Roll out the dough on a floured work surface about 3-4 mm thick and line the pie pan. It is important to create a right angle between the sides and the base of the crust, which will ensure the edges remain high when baking.
Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork. Freeze the crust for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
Blind baking: put a sheet of heat-resistant plastic wrap or baking paper on the frozen crust and fill with dry beans or special weights for baking.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes.
Remove the weights and the plastic wrap and continue to bake the crust for about 10-12 minutes or until it is lightly golden.
Cool completely at room temperature.
Almond praline cream: in a food processor with a steel blade place almonds, brown sugar, butter, praline paste, salt and flour are processed at high speed until a crumbly mixture is obtained.
Add egg and liqueur and continue to blend until you get a uniform thick cream.
Pour the cream on the half-baked crust and straighten the top.
Return to continue baking for 10-12 minutes or until the cream is golden and set at the edges but still slightly soft in the center.
Cool completely at room temperature.
Chocolate ganache: chop the chocolate and put in a bowl.
Add the cream and melt together in a microwave or over double-boiler until everything melts and the mixture is smooth.
Pour the ganache over the baked almond praline cream and straighten the top.
Cool the pie for about an hour in the refrigerator until set.
Cut the tart into 8 equal slices.
Garnish each slice with one type of nut.
- The pie is at its best a day or two after the preparation, but it can be kept in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.
- You can use any type of nuts you like, omit and add other nuts to your personal taste.
- It is important that nuts be roasted but not salted. I roast the nuts in a preheated oven to 180c degrees for 8-10 minutes, until golden.
- It is recommended to serve the pie at room temperature and not cold from the refrigerator, so it has the best texture.
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