The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine 



    November 7, 2003    PAGE FIVE      
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 News & Product of the Month
 You Mean I Can't Be Perfect?
 When Frustration Sets In
 Jo Cordi's  Lifestyle Series
 The Joy of Hazelnuts
 Going For Broke
 Great Autumn Recipes!
 Welcome to Your Niche
 Cooking with Jarret Hughes
 Fighting Fat at Work


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      The Joy Of Hazelnuts!

                                          "Never eat more than you can lift."
                                                                 
Miss Piggy

What's the difference between a hazelnut and a filbert? They're basically the same nut... but not exactly. Technically, the hazelnut is raised in Oregon and Washington on a bush that produces the nuts in late October. No where else on earth is a commercial hazelnut crop grown.

The filbert is a cousin of the hazelnut. The name filbert was used because the nut is found in Turkey, Greece, and Italy all Mediterranean countries and all tied to Christianity. The filbert bush blooms in February on St. Filbert's day (from an early Christian martyr known as St Philibert,) and the name "filbert" was a local term for the plant. The name was extended to the nut and over 90% of the world crop of filberts/hazelnuts is grown in these countries and exported throughout the world.

The filbert is a smaller nut and many bakers in other countries grind them up to use as a powder ingredient for breads and pastries when the almond prices are high. In 1995 the official name "hazelnut" was given to allay confusion on the world market.

One ounce a generous handful delivers a mere 4.7 grams of carbohydrate, more than half of which is fiber. Hazelnuts are also rich in vitamin E. And their protein gets high marks, since it's loaded with the amino acid arginine, which protects arteries from injury and stops blood clots from forming. Its fat, alpha-linolenic acid is converted in the body into omega-3 fatty acid, the same kind that's in fish oil. This is one healthy nut, and versatile too, since, like almonds, pecans, and macadamias, it can be ground to make an excellent fine "flour" for low carb baking and cooking. Add butter and sweetener to hazelnut flour and press into a pie plate to top with cheesecake, cream pies, or whatever you dream up!

Hazelnuts are usually packaged whole, though some producers are now also offering them chopped, and even ground a real timesaver. Hazelnuts have a sometimes bitter brown skin that is best removed, usually by heating them at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes, until the skins begin to flake. By placing a handful of nuts at a time in a dish towel, then folding the towel over the warm nuts and rubbing vigorously, most of the skin will be removed.

Here's one of my favorite hazelnut recipes!

          

Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Cheesecake

This makes a huge cheesecake and is an excellent choice for a dinner party or holiday.
  • 6 8-oz. Packages Regular Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 3/4 cup erythritol or maltitol
  • 3 Tablespoons Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 1 1/2 cups Raw Hazelnuts, chopped
  • DaVinci Gourmet Sugarfree Orange or Raspberry Syrup (optional)
Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Cheesecake Place oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 375F. Set aside a 9-inch springform pan and a large roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil for the water bath.

Meanwhile, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add sweeteners until combined. Blend mixture on high speed until light and fluffy, (7-10 min.) Reduce speed to low and add cocoa slowly until blended. Stop and scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure the mixture is completely combined.

With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Remove mixer from bowl, and fold in orange zest and hazelnuts.

Pour batter into the springform pan. Set roasting pan on even rack, set the springform pan in it, and pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the perimeter of the cake is set but the center slightly jiggles when pan is tapped, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (If the top begins to darken too much, cover lightly with foil and finish baking). The cheesecake may rise above the springform rim but will settle when cooling.

Remove from oven to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap. You may need to insert 2 to 3 toothpicks in cheesecake to keep the plastic wrap from touching surface. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least four hours, preferably over night.

Serve each slice in a pool of DaVinci Gourmet Sugarfree Orange or Raspberry Syrup. This cheesecake is also excellent topped with a melted low carb chocolate bar, spread thin.

Makes 26 servings — 6.5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

          

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