1/2 cup Hazelnuts; lightly toasted, skinned and roughly chopped
3 large Egg Yolks; discard whites or save for another use
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 pinch Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Optional: Frangelico or Hazelnut Flavored Liqueur
2 tablespoons Optional Powdered Sugar for dusting
Sift flour, 1 – 1/2 T. sugar and baking powder into a medium sized bowl. Add salt.
Add the chilled butter and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with clean dry hands until the butter is the size of small peas.
In a small bowl, combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Make a well in the middle of the flour/ butter mixture and pour in the cream mixture. Mix together with a fork or wooden spoon until the ingredients are combined. (Don't over mix.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board and knead 6 or 7 times to bring it together. Shape into roughly a 6-inch by 4-inch rectangle about 3/4 of an inch to 1-inch thick.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Pat reserved sugar onto top of shortcake. Cut dough into 6 uniform pieces and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet leaving about 2 inches between shortcakes.
Place shortcakes into preheated oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Cool on wire cooling rack.
Make Creme Anglaise
Reserving 2 T. of hazelnuts for garnish bring the heavy cream and remaining hazelnuts to a simmer in a small saucepan. When mixture reaches a simmer, cover and remove from heat. Let steep for 15 minutes and then strain to remove hazelnuts. Discard hazelnuts.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Whisk in slightly warm infused cream and then pour mixture back into small saucepan. (Have a strainer set up over a small bowl or container.) Cook mixture over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon making sure that your are stirring quickly and covering the entire surface of the bottom of the pan.
Sauce will begin to thicken after a few minutes on heat. There is a fine line between thick enough and curdled so take care not to overcook. Do not let mixture boil! A good test for doneness is to remove wooden spoon from sauce and swipe your finger through the sauce that has adhered to the spoon. If your finger swipe remains without the sauce running back into it the sauce is ready to strain. Immediately pour through strainer and cool. Add liqueur if using.
Ladle about 2 T. of sauce into the bottom of the serving bowl. Place shortcake on top. (Option to dust shortcake with powdered sugar.) Garnish with fresh berries, reserved chopped hazelnuts, mint and fresh edible flowers if you'd like.