The hills surrounding the town of Alba are known as the Langhe, and their outstanding crop of hazelnuts forms the basis for Turin’s gianduja, a delicious hazelnut chocolate, and numerous hazelnut desserts. The rich hazelnut- chocolate pudding below calls for raw eggs; if you are concerned about salmonella in raw eggs, separate the whole egg, then heat the 2 egg yolks to 140°F (60°C) and maintain them at that temperature for 5 minutes, and heat the egg white to 160°F (70°C) to instant-kill bacteria.
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 extra-large egg yolk
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
6 butter cookies, crumbled
2. Spread out the hazelnuts on an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet; toast in the oven for 12 minutes, or until fragrant and golden. Rub them in a kitchen towel to the remove skins, then chop the nuts coarsely.
3. With an electric mixer, beat the cream with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form; add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Clean the mixer bowl and the whisk. Beat the egg, egg yolk, and the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar for 5 minutes, or until thick and pale. Beat in the cocoa; the mixture will be very thick. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped hazelnuts, crumbled cookies, and all but 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Spoon into six 6-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
5. Top the ramekins with the remaining 1/2 cup of whipped cream, piping it through a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip, and serve.
Recipe © 2002 Micol Negrin. All rights reserved.