Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gianduja Creme Filling

When it comes to cravings, the women around here (including myself) simply refuse to ignore the call of the cocoa bean. In particular, my sister and I adore the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate - her, in the form of the classic Nutella spread, while I lean towards the more bittersweet forms of gianduja like this spread. That said, until recently (when my hazelnut allergy developed), I was hard pressed to pass up any confection where the words "chocolate" and "hazelnut" appeared in the description. 

Now that eating them (or even handling the nuts without gloves) is not an option I've become even more obsessed with creating treats with those flavours. Call it a sad form of self-torture, but I just can't stop myself! Luckily, I have lots of willing taste-testers on hand to make sure my goodies pass muster... When it came to this smooth, thick and dark chocolate-hazelnut creme filling, I was lucky to come out of the kitchen with any left to actually fill chocolates with! I can certainly understand, though - while the base recipe is essentially a modified ganache (cream, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, chocolate-hazelnut extract and Frangelico), it truly morphs into a thick, velvety "custard" of sorts  with the addition of guar gum. 

Gianduja Creme Filling

Usually reserved for gluten-free baking in my kitchen, I've since discovered it's handiness for thickening sauces and purees (it has saved my vegan, gluten free stir-fry sauces more than once). Adding even a smidge more than you really need in a dish can drastically change the texture, and by looking at how much is technically required to thicken x amount of liquid I was able to figure out just the right quantity to add for my runny chocolate sauce to become a smooth, pipeable creme. What didn't get eaten right away, I stashed in a freezer container for filling chocolate shells later on - given the amount of Nutella fans I know, there still won't be enough to go around!

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Gluten Free Fridays

Gianduja Creme Filling
Makes ~2 cups, 32 servings
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup half-and-half cream
1 1/2 cups chopped bittersweet couverture chocolate
2 tbsp Frangelico
1 dram (~1 tsp) super strength chocolate hazelnut flavour (i.e. Lorann's), optional
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp guar gum
  1. Combine the creams in a measuring cup or small pot and heat until vigorously steaming.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream overtop. Let stand 3 minutes, then stir to melt the chocolate.
  3. Cool 20 minutes, then whisk in the Frangelico and chocolate hazelnut flavour.
  4. Mix together the cocoa and guar gum, then whisk into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated and beginning to thicken.
  5. Cool to room temperature, then chill (covered) until use.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 66.4
Total Fat: 4.4 g
Cholesterol: 4.9 mg
Sodium: 2.9 mg
Total Carbs: 5.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 0.7 g