Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie

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Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie

Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie

This Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie is OUTRAGEOUS!   If you are a caramel fanatic like me, you will be in a dream state from the very first bite.  It’s as easy as pie to make too.  It just requires a little patience.  Patience because you will be learning to make a caramel sauce, which is one of my favorite techniques to teach students.

Mother and Son, Beth and Adam showing off their pies in our Pie Cooking Class.

Mother and Son, Beth and Adam showing off their pies in our Pie Cooking Class.

My 11-year old student, Adam was mesmerized by watching the caramelization process in our November Pie class.   The magic of turning sugar and water into something as delicious as caramel is sort of mind blowing.  Take a look.

Sugar Syrup boiling.

Sugar Syrup boiling.

Start with simply sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.  Mix it once, turn the heat on to medium high and DO NOT STIR AGAIN.  PATIENCE!!! Watch it boil.

Sugar is Caramelizing

Sugar is Caramelizing.  Take off the heat when it looks like this.

After some time, the sugar will begin to caramelize and it will look like this.  If the color looks uneven, you can swirl the pan to mix it, but DO NOT STIR.  You must be diligent about watching your simple syrup turn a dark brown color.  It takes some time, but be patient.

Stand back and add the butter.

WARNING: Stand back TO AVOID BURNS and add the butter.

Then just at the right moment, remove the pot from the heat and add in the butter. WARNING:  STAND BACK TO AVOID BURNS because the mixture will bubble and spurt.  Once the butter is incorporated, add the milk.  You’ve completed the most difficult task, which Adam thought was pretty cool.   The rest of this recipe is so easy.

Ingredients for Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut pie

Ingredients for Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut pie

Of course, your  ingredients and prebaked pie shell will be in place (Mise en Place) and prepped before you begin the caramelizing process. The hazelnuts will be toasted and loose skins removed.  The butter, milk and chocolate will be measured.  Use your favorite chocolate in this recipe.  At home, I decided to use up the Nutella I had on hand, which was fairly thick (a hazelnut-chocolate spread) .  To adjust for the milk in the Nutella, I measured 4 ounces of evaporated milk instead of 5.

Chop Hazelnuts in a zip bag with a meat tenderizer/hammer

Chop Hazelnuts in a zip bag with a meat tenderizer/hammer

Chop the hazelnuts so they are still recognizable in your pie.  Add the chocolate and hazelnuts into the caramel mixture.  Pour it into your pie shell and bake for about 10 minutes until the center is bubbling.  Watch the oven, since the edges of the pie crust tend to burn at the high heat.  The original recipe suggests baking the pie at 475º, but I changed that to 450° to prevent the crust from burning.  You could also cover the crust edges with some foil if necessary.

Set the pie aside to cool.  Leave at room temperature until serving.

A small slice of Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie served with a slice of Pumpkin Kahlua graced our Thanksgiving table.

A small slice of Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie served with a slice of Pumpkin Kahlua graced our Thanksgiving table.

Now you are ready to indulge.  Cut small slices of this pie, since it is decadently rich.   All of a sudden it will be quiet, because your guests will be in a dream-like state.

Caramel Choc Pie plate IMG_8432Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie won’t last long at your party.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie

I found this recipe in a charming cookbook called the Artful Pie,  Maria Cunningham painted a picture of the Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Pie in Lisa Cherkasky’s book.  It is as beautiful as it is delicious.  If you cannot find hazelnuts, you could use another type of nut – almond, walnut, pecan.

  • 1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1 1/2 cups  sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 5  ounce evaporated milk
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups hazelnuts, skinned and coarsely chopped

1. To remove brown paper skin of hazelnuts, first toast them in a 400° oven for 5 to 6 minutes.  Let them cool and then roll them in a kitchen towel.  Don’t worry about getting every last bit of the skin off the nuts, only what is loose.  Strain out the skins, chop the nuts coarsely.

2. Prepare the pie shell, add foil and pie weights and blind bake at 375 ° for 7-8 minutes, just until the pie pastry is set. Do not let the pastry brown at all.  Let cool.

3. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar and water.  Set the saucepan over medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR THE SUGAR!!!!  Let the sugar come to a boil and continue to cook until it is a golden  brown.  If it browns unevenly, you can move it around by swirling it in the pan.   When the sugar is a rich golden brown, remove it from the heat, stand back and add the butter.  Stir it in with a wooden spoon, then the evaporated milk until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes and stir in the chocolate.   Set the filling aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then stir in the nuts  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450°.

4. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for 10 minutes or until the edge is very brown and the center is bubbling.

Servings: 12   400 calories per serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes    Cooking Time: 45 minutes     Inactive Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Oven Temperature: 450°F

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