the appetizer:

Holidays and chocolate naturally go together and Marcel Desaulniers' I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas, shows you how with recipes like Hungarian Chocolate Walnut Roll, White Chocolate Kisses, and Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Cigars.

I Love Desserts

Hungarian Chocolate Walnut Roll

Hungarian Chocolate Walnut Roll

Serves 10

If you'll like getting "Nuttin' For Christmas" as long as the nuttin' is the nuts from our Hungarian Chocolate Walnut Roll. The tender pastry of this confection enrobes a filling that bursts with chocolate and walnuts. The sensation that you have eaten liquid fudge will have your mouth feeling chocolaty good.

Tender Pastry Dough
Liquid Fudge Filling
Make the Tender Pastry Dough

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium- low heat; remove from the heat. Add the milk and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Keep the mixture at or below 110 degrees F; otherwise, it will kill the yeast. Add the egg and yeast and stir with a whisk until the yeast has mostly dissolved. Add the sugar and salt and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the 1-1/2 cups flour, and stir with a rubber spatula until a dough forms.

2. Lightly flour your hands and a clean, dry work surface with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Transfer the dough to the work surface. Knead the dough into a smooth ball, flouring your hands as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking; this should take no more than 40 seconds or so. Place the dough in a medium bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Make the Liquid Fudge Filling

3. Place the sugar, 6 tablespoons of the milk, the egg yolks, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped walnuts, then the chocolate.

Assemble the Nut Roll

4. Preheat the ovento 350 degrees F. Place an 18 X 18-inch sheet of aluminum foil on a flat work surface. Lightly flour the foil with some of the 1/4 cup of flour.

5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and uncover. Place the dough on the foil. Dust a rolling pin with some of the flour and roll the dough into a 16 X 10-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Pour the filling onto the dough, and use a rubber spatula to spread it to within 1 to 1-1/2 inches from the edges. Begin rolling the dough; start with the longer side and roll away from you. Make a tight roll and pinch the ends as you roll to prevent the filling from squirting out. Continue to roll to the opposite end, then tuck each end under the roll. Transfer the dough by lifting the sheet of foil onto a baking sheet. Fold any excess foil under the baking sheet. Cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

6. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the dough with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon milk. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes, until light golden brown (rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking time). Remove from the oven, and cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Use a serrated knife to cut the nut roll into 1-1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve immediately with a scoop of Vivacious Vanilla Ice Cream or with unsweetened whipped cream.

The Chef's Touch

Walnuts need not have an exclusive with this dessert. Pecans, hazelnuts, and even rich macadamia nuts would each lend their own specific character. A mix of nuts would create a delightful concert of nuttiness.

The reason for rolling out the pastry dough on a sheet of aluminum foil is twofold: First, it makes it easy to transfer the dough from the work surface to the baking sheet. Also, since the filling may ooze out of the dough, the foil makes cleaning easier.

Individually wrapped slices of Hungarian Chocolate Walnut Roll may be kept in a tightly sealed plastic container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. The sliced nut roll can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. It is best eaten warm, so heat the slices in a 300 degrees F oven for a few minutes before serving. You can also heat the slices individually in a microwave oven. Times will vary depending upon the wattage and power settings of your microwave oven; don't overdo it—ours were perfect after only 10 seconds.


Toasting Nuts

Always purchase unsalted nuts for recipes. I prefer purchasing whole raw shelled nuts when available, or shelled nut halves, rather than nut pieces, because

the quality of the nuts is superior when whole or halved rather than prechopped. Since nuts are perishable, store them in the refrigerator or freezer (bring them to room temperature before using). Always toast nuts before using them in a recipe. Toasting accentuates the flavor of nuts and dissipates any moisture the absorbent nut flesh may have acquired during storage. We toasted all the nuts (with the exception of dry roasted peanuts) before using them in the recipes in this book.

Once toasted, nuts should be completely cooled before chopping, especially if chopping is done in a food processor; otherwise the nuts may end up as nut butter. When a distinct size of chopped nut is needed for a recipe, I recommend hand-chopping the nuts rather than using the processor.

For best results toast nuts at 325 degrees F.

by Marcel Desaulniers
Toasting Nuts Chart
Nut Toasting time at 325 degrees F
Almonds, sliced 10 minutes
Cashews, whole 12 minutes
Hazelnuts, skinned 12 minutes
Macadamia nuts, unsalted 18 minutes
Pecan halves 12 minutes
Pistachios, shelled and skinned 10 minutes
Walnut halves 14 minutes

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This page created December 2007