Monday 5 November 2007
Remember, remember, the fifth of November – On getting insane and on the most delicious walnut tart ever
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I do feel like I’m getting insane. Wait, I am insane.
I just signed up for NaBloPoMo. Yes, I know, I’m five-day late. And yes, I know – or more accurately – I don’t know how the heck I am going to post every single day for the next thirty days.
Although there are chances that I’m not insane already, check back around the 5th of December and then, you shall find a haggard-looking-and-incoherent-talking me.
I warned you.
My insanity might sound exciting to you but to be honest, I’m quite not looking forward to it. Coincidentally, I also happen to be clever (and modest) and found the remedy to my expected breakdown: diversion.
It occurs every year. Sometime, between September and November, I re-discover how wonderful tarts are. Indeed, most of my tart-baking takes place during autumn, when leaves are bright red and winds become icy.
I have to admit though, that I do like a summer tarte aux fruits rouges et à la crème pâtissière; but warm, hearty tarts always feel perfect yet special. And it shows: apple tart, pumpkin pie, nutella tart, fig and almond crostata and tarte au citron meringuée are favourites in my house.
What is that thing that makes tarts so appropriate for autumn days?
I think they are the ideal way to celebrate autumn harvest. A simple crust makes for the most humble look and emphasises the quality of the produce.
When I spotted that beautiful walnut and honey tart in Skye Gyngell’s A year in my kitchen, I immediately liked it – the materialisation of my dream tart. Simply the best way to enjoy the delicious organic honey and the fresh walnuts my grand-mother gave me.
Is anyone still thinking about how insane I am? See, I’m that good at diversion.
Delicious honey and walnut tart
Adapted from Skye Gyngell’s A year in my kitchen
This tart is downright delicious. It is sweet, but the slight bitterness of the walnuts nicely balances the creamy honey flavour.
The pastry is a doodle to work with. Just mix everything until it comes together, chill and roll. It doesn’t shrink during cooking and yields to a crisp flaky crust.
The filling, a combination of walnuts (I used fresh ones – better enjoy them now as the season is really short) and honey butterscotch sauce, is yummy.
I served it with a dollop of good AOC Isigny crème fraiche to bring tanginess and a creamy texture.
Now, that’s comfort for a cold autumn day.
This tart will keep well for 3 to 4 days. So you really have no reasons not to make it.
Delicious honey and walnut tart
for the pastry
pinch of sea salt
125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
40ml ice-cold water
for the filling
400g shelled walnuts, halved
1 tbsp walnut oil
250g caster sugar
6tbsp thick honey
4 tbsp crème fraiche, plus extra to serve
Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse oatmeal. Mix the egg yolk and water together and pour over the flour mixture. Gently knead until it all comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 25cm tart tin. Roll the pastry and drape it over the prepared tin. Press it into the edges and sides of the tin and trim the excess pastry away from the rim. Prick the base with a fork and chill for another 20 minutes.
Bake the pastry blind for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
While you wait for the crust to cool down, get on with the filling.
Place the walnuts on a baking tray, drizzle over the walnut oil and toss gently. Toast I the preheated oven for 2-3 minutes and set aside.
Put the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and allow the sugar syrup to caramelise until amber coloured.
Remove from the heat, and add the honey and crème fraiche. Mix well with a wooden spoon and stir in the nuts. They should be evenly coated. If the syrup starts to set, just place the pan back over the heat and stir.
Sprea the walnut filling in the pastry case and allow to cool at room temperature.