Over the last month I have been harvesting, roasting, grinding, bottling and baking with the final fruits of the season. Last month I made a lovely chocolate and hazelnut cake with a few of the hazelnuts that had fallen right outside our house. However, the cake used just a handful of nuts and in reality I’d gathered up the most enormous bowlful of these otherwise ignored (and mostly getting run over!) foraged treasures.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Hazelnut Butter recipe from my River Cottage Everyday book seemed like an obvious solution. It’s dead easy to make and unlike homemade garlic pesto very cheap on ingredients as well, assuming your hazelnuts are free – just foraged nuts, a couple of spoonfuls of honey & sunfllower oil, and some salt. There is only one challenge to this recipe…
How long can you withstand cracking hazelnut shells? 200 grams worth? I had a couple of finger nicks to show by the end of it! It’s a Radio 4 Afternoon Play sort of job.
The results are worth it though. I don’t have a proper blender so my hazelnut spread isn’t quite as creamy as the one in the book, but even so the honey and salt give it a wonderful tang, and I decided that chocolate and banana pancakes would be the perfect ‘accompaniment’. Hard life blogging about food, isn’t it? It doesn’t seem quite so bad looking at the picture, but the problem is that I also ate all the other pancakes I cooked in the batch… and layered on the rest of the chocolate too. Waste not want not! I’d better get running again.
Hazelnut Butter Recipe.
200g nuts, 3-4 tablespoons sunflower oil, 1-2 spoons of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt.
Pulse the nuts in a food processor until quite fine, then add oil and keep blending until you have a creamy paste, before finally mixing in the honey and salt.