My friends and family know I have a slight major Nutella obsession!
It started young when our Italian neighbors in Dublin, Ohio let me enjoy my first taste of this chocolatey hazelnut goodness. It quickly became one of my favorite treats. Years have passed since that day and I still love Nutella. I put it on anything and everything. I host an annual event in celebration of Nutella Day. Even the year I joined the Public Relations Bateman Competition in college, the product happened to be Nutella. It was obviously a product I could get behind!
I always knew the French loved their Nutella on toast and in pastries. They do it well so I thought there was little competition. But when I first visited Italy, I realized that Nutella’s homeland took it to a whole other level. During our 2-week journey, we spent 3 nights in Alba, Italy. Yes, the home of the Nutella factory. The factory is very secretive so no tour (sad face) but walking the streets to the smell of chocolate-hazelnut was divine.
During this trip, my husband and I were museum-bashing Florence and needed a recharge so we ducked into a small café for a macchiato and treat. Little did I know I would come face-to-face with a dessert that I still dream about, the crostata alla nutella. A sweet shortbread-like dough with a thick Nutella layer. Utterly sinful and delicious! Served with a thick, strong macchiato and it’s a match made in heaven.
In an attempt to recreate this delicious food memory, I have scoured the internet translating Italian recipes, comparing Italian-American recipes and taste testing several versions (yes, it’s a hard job!). This recipe is a mix of all the research and the closest I’ve come to the “real thing”.
Crostata alla Nutella
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups powdered (icing) sugar
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 large jar (750 g) Nutella
Powdered (icing) sugar, for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 Celsius). Butter and flour tart pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine cold butter cut into cubes with a little over 2 cups of all-purpose flour until it resembles sand. You can use pastry blender or your hand.
Dump the butter and flour mixture onto a large working surface and make it into a mound. Add a little over 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar on top and make a well in the middle.
Into the well, add four egg yolks and a dash of vanilla. Slowly begin to incorporate the egg yolks and vanilla into the sugar, butter and flour mixture. This process will take awhile so be patient. Continue mixing and kneading until the mixture resembles firm cookie dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for two hours.
Flour your working surface and roll the dough into a circle large enough for your tart. You will want the dough to be thicker, approximately ¼- ½ inch thick. Use extra dough to create decorative strips for the top.
After the dough is in the pan, use a fork to poke several small holes so it doesn’t bubble while baking. Take the jar of Nutella and dump the whole thing into the tart pan. Note: I have used less and it’s fine. I actually prefer a higher pasta frolla-to-Nutella ratio.
Place tart in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes. The pasta frolla seems to brown too quickly so I usually lightly cover with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove and let the dough get golden brown and the Nutella will turn a dark brown.
Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving.
Note: Nutella can be swapped for marmalade. I used homemade mikan orange marmalade one time and everyone really enjoyed it.