Also called Hardy Macadamia, Chile Nut, and in Spanish Avellano, this native of south Chile and Argentina, is extremely little cultivated or known in the northern hemisphere. The Chilean hazel was named in 1782. The name Gevuina (spelled in some old sources Guevina) is an approximation of the common name in Mapuche: Guevin. The name Avellana was selected to compare it to Corylus Avellana, the European hazelnut. Gevuina is a genus of only this one species. It is a broadleaf evergreen that varies from a shrub to a tree 60 feet tall. It grows from sea level to nearly 2,300 feet (700 meters) in elevation. Its range extends from 35 to 44 degrees south latitude.
Gevuina avellana foliage is bold, and the leaves highly variable. Each leaf is compound, either simply pinnate with only 5 to 11 leaflets, or doubly pinnate, with as many as 95 leaflets. The overall compound leaf can easily measure more than 2 feet in length, and the largest individual leaflet I measured was 9 inches long and half that wide. The gloss is low to medium, and the color is a bit bronzy-green rather than bright pure green. But the young growth as it unfurls is strikingly handsome velvety maroon, like the fuzz of staghorn sumach (Rhus typhina). Anywhere between July and November it can bloom. The flowers are individually small, but borne in abundant narrow clusters up to 6 inches long. They tend to be creamy-white but can be greenish or touched with pink. They are not especially showy. They give rise to dark red fruits that resemble a sort of cherry. It is the roasted seed or nut that people eat. Even an isolated tree can set fertile nuts. The nuts are easily shelled. An analysis showed the nuts contain 12.5 percent protein, 49.5 percent oil, and 24.1 percent carbohydrate.
The highly monosaturated oil is also extracted for varied uses in Chile. It is rich in antioxidants and helps fighting cholesterol. The nut is a good source of Vitamin E (a-tocotrienol) and b-carotene. Its oil is useful for elaborating sunscreen in pharmaceutical industry. Gevuina Oil is a used as cosmetic ingredient for treatment of skin owing to its moisturizing qualities and because is a natural source of Omega 7 (Palmitoleic acid). The tree is a good honey plant for bees. Seed shells contain tannin that is used for tanning leather. The wood is cream-colored with dark brown streaking and is used in cabinetry and musical instruments. Other uses in Chile include the cut foliage for use in floristry; the flowers are good bee attractants.
It was introduced to Great Britain in 1826. It grows well in there and in New Zealand and California. There are a few specimens cultivated in Spain and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It grows well in temperate oceanic climates with cool temperatures where frosts occur commonly in winter, and that is why it has thrived in southern New Zealand. It lasts 5 years to be harvested and 7 or 8 years for full production. In Seattle, Washington, squirrels and birds eat seeds from the trees. Most of nuts that are for sale are gathered in southern hemisphere’s autumn (March and April), but new varieties of greater yield are being developed in Chile and New Zealand.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour divided
1/4 cup avellanas finely ground
7 egg yolks , divided
2/3 cup sugar plus
2 teaspoons sugar divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 -8 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup milk plus
1 tablespoon milk divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate , roughly chopped
1/4 cup Frangelico
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pinch salt
1 egg white , beaten stiff
Avellanas (to garnish) (optional)
Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, avellanas, 3 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, butter and water in bowl of food processor. Pulse (or, alternatively, mix with paddle attachment of mixer) until dough forms a ball. Shape into disk, wrap and refrigerate.
Beat 3 egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar until light. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, 3/4 cup milk and cream.
Cook mixture in double boiler, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir chocolate and Frangelico into the mixture in double boiler until chocolate melts. COOL. Combine with Ricotta and pinch of salt. Fold in the beaten egg white. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch pie pan. Roll out 3/4 of the dough into a circle and line the pie pan with an overlap.
Pour in filling. Roll out remaining dough and cover pie. Press overlap of bottom and top crusts together. Crimp edges with fingers or fork.
Beat remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of milk and brush top of pie with mixture. Bake until golden brown, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool pie and cut in 12 wedges to serve. Top wedges with avellanas cream, if desired.