Friday, May 24, 2013
On a visit to the White Oak Tea Tavern, I purchased a magazine called Tea Time with wonderful recipes for an afternoon tea. It has been sitting on my "to make someday" pile of recipes. I don't dare put the ever growing pile away, because I will never remember to look for it. Gotta see it to do it.
I had invited a fellow blogger to come up and have tea and had already made the chocolate macarons. ( She has one of my favorite blogs and you can follow her at www.theblueridgegal.com or just click the link on the right side of my blog. ) Now I needed to make some walnut tarts. I don't like to do two new recipes for one event, because of the danger of extreme failure. One failure means you move things around to hide the issue. Two failures mean a boring tea.
The macarons were made the day before to let the flavors meld and so I felt pretty confident about the tarts. They turned out pretty good. They could have used another minute in the oven to crisp the shells.
1 package refrigerated pie dough, 2 sheets
1 large egg
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Toast the walnuts. I used a toaster oven on 300 for about 7 minutes. Cool them and then chop them and measure out the 1/2 cup you need. I saved the rest of the chopped nuts for oatmeal in some future morning.
(OK, my eagle eyed friend. You saw the walnuts in a Ziploc bag. I made them yesterday and used them today. I had a lot of things to do this morning and wanted a head start.)
Set the dough out to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350. Find the little tartlet pans you bought several years ago. : ) You can do this while you are waiting for the nuts.
Lightly sprinkle flour on a cutting surface. Carefully unroll the dough. I used the 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 diamond pans for a template and cut around them. When I ran out of them I used the round ones. Cut a bit bigger than the pan.
Lift the cut piece and place it in the pan. Press it gently to the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
Try not to stretch it or the tart won't hold together when you take it out. The excess can be pressed off against the top edge making the crust fit perfectly. Don't worry, you will have plenty of dough.
In fact you will have a lot of dough left over. What you should do is wad it up and toss it. What you should not do is cut it into squares ,sprinkle them generously with sugar and cinnamon and toast them on another pan while you make the filling. Because then you will place the crispy cinnamon bits on a plate and snack on them. This would be bad for a person on a diet, if they were to do such a thing.
Prepare 12 to 14 tart pans and then place them in the refrigerator to chill.
Combine the egg, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk everything together. Add the walnuts, stir and set aside.
Place the tart pans on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill them about 3/4 full with the nut mixture. Give it a good stir every time to make sure the nuts are divided evenly. Try not to spill on the pan. The drips will be hard to get off. Don't ask me how I know this.
Bake until the filling is slightly set and puffed up. This will take 13 to 14 minutes. I pulled mine out a bit too soon. Check to see that the top edges of the crust are LIGHTLY browned. Don't over cook. It is hard to see color in the oven and you might need to pull them out to check.
The puffed filling will fall. Don't panic. It is supposed to do that.
Place them on a cooling rack. When cooled you can remove the pans. I gently pulled the edges open to loosen them and then used a fork to tease them out if they didn't pop into my hand.
The next time I make these, and I will because they were good and pretty easy, I will try to play around with the flavors. Rather than maple syrup and vanilla, I am thinking of rum or bourbon. The only thing I don't know is if I will need to increase the corn syrup. I had better make a lot and decide!
Serve on a tiered server and have a delightful tea with an interesting new friend.