Milk chocolate gianduia mousse:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, regular or alkalized
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup Nutella brand hazelnut-chocolate spread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Chocolate hazelnut crumb crusts:
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs, or 24 chocolate wafer cookies
1/3 cup skinned hazelnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Shaved bittersweet chocolate or chopped hazelnuts
1. Make mousse: In medium saucepan whisk cream and cocoa together; bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat; stir in milk chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in Nutella and butter until melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl; cool to room temperature.
2. In a small, heavy saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook until sugar syrup registers 234°F on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, place egg whites in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Once sugar syrup passes 220°F, begin to beat egg whites. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. With mixer running at medium speed, carefully pour hot syrup down side of bowl. Increase mixer speed to high; beat meringue until it has cooled to just warm. Fold one-third of meringue into chocolate mixture to lighten it; gently fold in remaining meringue. Cover surface of mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 5-6 hours.
3. Make chocolate-hazelnut crumb crusts: Position a rack at center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Place chocolate cookies or crumbs in a food processor with hazelnuts and sugar; pulse until mixture is finely chopped. Add butter; pulse to combine. Divide mixture evenly among four 4" x 1" round tart pans with removable bottoms, a generous 1/3 cup crumb mixture each. With your fingers, press mixture onto bottom and up side of each tart pan. Place tart pans on a baking sheet; bake for 8-10 minutes, until crust is set. Cool tart shell completely before continuing with recipe.
4. Assemble tarts: Place one-half of chilled mousse into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe mousse into prepared shells. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with shaved bittersweet chocolate or chopped hazelnuts, if desired.
Next Article: Jamocha Chocolate Sorbet