I first encountered Nutella while traveling in Europe but fortunately the product is now found in most grocery stores. Nutella is chocolate and hazelnut spread made from roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa. In addition, Nutella has no artificial colors or preservatives.
Nutella was created in the 1940s by Mr. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company. At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. So Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy (northwest), to extend the chocolate supply.
I usually buy Nutella to smear on apple slices as a lunchtime dessert. Some folks like it on toast, but Nutella is surprisingly versatile and easy product to work with.
I recently received a copy of a new cookbook entitled Nutella: The 30 best Recipes by Jacqui Small. The book is cleverly shaped like a jar of Nutella and each recipe comes with a full-color photograph of the treat. The ingredients for creme brulee sound downright sinful, but honestly each one of the recipes looks like a winner.
I wanted to try Nutella macaroons (my favorite cookies) but honestly didn’t have the time for the more complex preparation. Instead I decided upon the Pear and Nutella crumble, adding diced green apple to my concoction.
The preparation was easy- I simply cut apples and pears into cubes and placed them in the bottom of a baking dish. I then added a few dollops of Nutella. The cookbook suggested warming the jar to make spreading easier, but I simply stuck the dish into a 350-degree oven for a few minutes, then removed and stirred.
I followed the directions for the crumb topping, sprinkling it on top of the fruit mixture and baked for about 30 minutes. YUM. I admit, cobblers and pies are some of my very favorite desserts, but this presentation was outstanding. You could add vanilla ice cream to the warm dish or whipped cream if you serve it cold.
I would be proud of make it again and offer it to guests. (I’d be a little more careful about cleaning up the dish before baking!)
Get yourself a jar a Nutella and be creative, or buy the new cookbook and you will surely be inspired.
Nutella: The 30 Best Recipes
by Jacqui Small
Also available as an ebook