Every so often - actually, fairly often- my husband will pipe up with something along the lines of "You know what sounds GOOD right now?? Chocolate Chip Cookies!" Usually, I'll do a quick mental inventory of my cupboards and if I can, I'll make what he's fancying. Today, we were watching a Thanksgiving episode of Gossip Girl (Shut up) and he said "Ooooh, I want pie!" A quick sort through the supplies closet later and I decided to make this Maple-Walnut tart. It has a teeny tiny hint of orange, which adds a lovely background flavour.
Maple Walnut Tart
Takes 1 hour 15 mins, serves 8
For the Pastry:
200g chilled flour
50g golden caster sugar
125g cold butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp grated orange peel
3 tbsp ice-cold water
For the filling:
200g walnut halves
150ml golden syrup
130ml real maple syrup
50 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
55g butter, melted
120g light brown sugar
In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the cold flour, salt and sugar together and add the cold chunks of butter. Pulse this lot together for a few seconds, until you have the texture of fresh breadcrumbs, don't over-work. Tip this mixture into a cold bowl and add the orange peel and cinnamon, stirring through with a cold butter knife. Dribble the first two tbsp of the cold water over the flour mixture and use the knife to stir it through. Use your fingertips to bring the dough together, adding a few more drops of the cold water through if you need to. When you can just bring the mixture together into a tender ball, wrap with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/375F
Roll the pastry out between two layers of cling film until a little larger than a 25cm tart tin.
keeping one layer of clingfilm on the pastry, gently place it into the tart tin. Press the pastry into the edges carefully and use the edge of the tin to cut the excess off (See Below) but keep the cling film on top of the pastry.
Fill with rice, beans or pie weights and bake for ten minutes, then remove the clingfilm, carrying the weights with it, brush the bottom of the pastry case with beaten egg and bake for a further 5 minutes. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet before filling it.Whisk together the eggs, sugar, syrups and orange juice. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave (careful!) and pour into the sugary mixture, whisking all the while.
Stir the walnuts through and pour the whole mixture carefully into the pie shell. Make sure you spread the walnuts out evenly and be careful not to over-fill the pastry shell.
Bake for 30-35 minutes in the middle of the oven, checking after 20 minutes to check that the tart is browning evenly, rotate it if you need to.
Cool for 15+ minutes before serving. If you're not at all worried about calories, go ahead and serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
** The filling minus the walnuts is gorgeous if baked in ramekins a bain marie for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the teeniest pinch of clove and nutmeg before baking, then chill and serve with vanilla custard. Mmmmmmmmm Silky Autumn loveliness.