ImageOh Olympics, I wish I knew how to quit you!  You nearly made me miss my train!  But don’t worry, I blamed the “traffic”, I would never blame you.  Your men’s volleyball team strangely has cheerleaders in striped onesies, your gymnastics gym is decorated in magenta – for both men’s and women’s! (way to exaggerate the stereotype!) And you have a sport called “trampoline!”.  (Or the Tramp for all of you stick it fans).  And can anyone explain to me why Dressage is even a sport? Horses aren’t humans!

I have cancelled plans for you, and stayed home eating macaroni & cheese from the pot just to watch you like a true addict.  I have dealt with the racist jokes of the NBC staff, and the time delay that causes Us weekly magazine to ruin the results (even though I am only on Us Weekly.com to hear the updates on the Trampire gossip), but I still cannot stop watching you!

But on the day I made this dessert, you disappointed me Olympics.  Spain lost to Honduras in men’s soccer! Spain lost! Unbeweevable! The Olympics are supposed to be where dreams are made! Spain has nothing- no economy, and the good restaurants are closing; all they had was soccer! And yeah yeah, it was the under twenty-three team, so not a huge surprise, but where was Bojan? Maybe Bojan could have saved you?

So although this dessert was made in honor of my mother, I dedicate this Hazelnut Pudding to Spain.

Hazelnut Pudding with Chocolate Ganache

(Adapted from Food52)

This dessert can also be made into a Nutella pudding by mixing in the chocolate ganache at the very end prior to chilling.

Supposedly this serves 8, but in my family, that means 6.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean
6 extra-large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1 large pinch salt
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool. When cool, put in a clean towel and rub vigorously to remove skins (you can also just use your fingers). It’s okay if some skin is left on — you’re going to strain later.
  2. Chop the cooled hazelnuts to a coarse crumb in a food processor. (Sharoni note: I just used a knife)
  3. Make the hazelnut-infused cream: Put the milk and half and half in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both the bean and seeds to the milk. Add the hazelnuts and heat to scalding over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for minimum 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a large bowl until thick and pale yellow.
  5. If making Nutella pudding, rather than just hazelnut pudding: In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  6. Strain the milk-hazelnut mixture into the egg yolk mixture, half a cup at a time, whisking after each addition until you’ve added about a cup and a half. Then strain and whisk in the rest of the milk. Return to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the custard is thick and starts to bubble, about 3 minutes.
  7. Strain the thickened custard into a clean bowl. (If making Nutella pudding this is when yo would stir in the melted chocolate butter mixture) .
  8. Optional, but highly recommended: Scrape the entire pudding into a blender or food processor and process for about 30 seconds, until silky-smooth.
  9. Spoon the pudding into small ramekins or dessert cups, cover with plastic wrap and chill, overnight if possible. (I topped the hazelnut puddings with a thin layer of the chocolate butter ganache to seal them)
  10. Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
  11. Eat and enjoy!
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