Ivan Pavlov, world renowned physiologist and Nobel Laureate, is remembered the world over for his work in highlighting the link between conditioning and involuntary reflex actions. It was Pavlov who famously explored the gastric function of dogs by proving that, using only the external stimulus of a bell, the hungry hounds could be conditioned to salivate on cue.
While Pavlov's experiments with dogs are widely known - hence the expression Pavlov's dog - not everyone is aware that he conducted the same experiments with children too. I, for one, am not surprised that he came up with the same results.
Let's put Pavlov's theory to the test right now.
Boiled …. cabbage.
Feel your saliva glands start working?
I didn't think so.
Let's try again.
I'm guessing you're feeling nothing at all.
Let's bring in the big guns.
Fererro …. Rocher … chocolate …. Hazelnut …. tart.
Now we're talking or, more accurately, now we're salivating.
At least, I am, as I know only too well what this utterly delicious dessert tastes like.
You'd have to have a severe nut allergy, or be living under a rock, not to know that Ferrero Rocher truffles deliver a nut-studded chocolate wafer shell containing chocolate cream with a hazelnut core.
This decadent dish has the same name as it, too, offers a chocolate hazelnut wafer base topped with creamy, dreamy chocolate cream and whole toasted hazelnuts.
But don't just take my word for it. I strongly suggest that you don't let another week go by without tasting it for yourself.
Think of this baking experiment as a tribute to our friend Pavlov who died precisely 76 years ago.
Hey….any excuse will do.
FERRERO ROCHER CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TART
250 grams vanilla or chocolate wafer biscuits (basic wafflim if you're in Israel)
1 cup hazelnuts, roasted if possible
70 grams melted butter (or margarine for parve)
220 grams dark chocolate, chopped*
Pinch of salt
125 ml cream (non-dairy cream for parve)
60 grams butter (margarine for parve) 50 ml cold milk (water or orange juice for parve)
1: Place hazelnuts on a tray in the oven at 180 C for 8 minutes, remove and place in a dish towel or paper towel and rub off papery skin when cool**
2: Process wafers to make coarse crumbs. You can also simply crush them in the packet with a rolling pin, and place in a bowl.
3: Process hazelnuts till just chopped. Reserve a few whole nuts to decorate top of tart and add to crumbs together with melted butter.
4: Pat into a 24 cm springform tin and bake at 180 C for 12 minutes.
* I simply smack the chocolate with a meat mallet or rolling pin while still in the wrapping as it is far easier than chopping.
** Don't worry if all the skins don't come off the nuts, as this is not vital. If you buy ready roasted hazelnuts from kiosks then you can rub off skins without toasting.
1: Heat the cream and a pinch of salt in a small pot, but don't allow it to boil.
2: Add the chopped chocolate and butter and stir till completely melted.
3: Allow to cool very slightly, then stir in cold milk.
4: Pour into base and refrigerate for 4 hours and serve decorated with reserved nuts.
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