Consider the hazelnut, or filbert if you prefer. A little package of flavor that God gave us to make our coffee worth drinking. In its humble shell you'll find all sorts of delicious nutrients for your health. But Satan, always trying to manipulate God's perfection into unimaginable atrocities, whispered into an unknown chef's ear "Think how much better this recipe would be if that hazelnut was skinned." From then on, for no reason at all, (Except some claim the skin is "bitter." Grow some, you wussies!) from then on, chefs and bakers the world over have added countless hours to their already busy lives attempting to de-skin the common hazelnut.
Yesterday I made the Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from the cookbook Great Cakes by Carole Walter and submitted by this month's host Chris from Mele Cotte. It took a long time, it was mostly enjoyable and I completed the Daring Bakers' Challenge. But holy crap! Skinning 3 1/2 cups of hazelnuts is something that should only be sentenced to those convicted of crimes against humanity. Seriously. It was only through sheer willpower that I kept going. I felt my sanity waning. I had thoughts of sitting behind bushes and pelting people with half-skinned hazelnuts. I dreamed up plans of training an army of hazelnut-skin-eating chipmunks with those collars around their necks that wouldn't allow them to swallow an entire nut. I almost cried.