This month, Anne Strawberry and Holly the PheMomenon chose “Holiday Songs” as the theme for “You Want Pies with That?” After a lot of head scratching over this one, I decided on a “The Christmas Song,” because “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” kept dancing through my head. Well, I didn’t have any chestnuts, and I didn’t want to get any chestnuts, and I didn’t want to roast and peel any chestnuts. So I used walnuts, which Master Chow happens to love.
I found a recipe for a honeyed walnut tart from a 2005 issue of Bon Appetit. Much to my delight, the recipe also called for orange flower water, one of those little items in my cupboard that I rarely use but would like to incorporate a bit more into my cooking. Instead of making an 11-inch rustic tart, I made a plain old 9-inch pie, and had some filling left over (don’t overfill your crust or you’ll have one major mess in the oven). The one thing that I’d do differently in the future is to cut back on the sugar, but that’s just me. Master Chow would vehemently disagree, as he likes things SWEET. The citrus zest added great dimension to the pie, which actually tasted a lot like baklava, so if you’re a fan of that dessert, you should really give this a try.
To see what ideas pie bakers who are a lot more creative than I came up with, check out the PWT blogroll. To see how I’ll make the pie in the future, the recipe is after the jump. And just as an aside, Nat King Cole was one of my earliest crushes. I remember hearing him sing “Mona Lisa” on an LP (those existed back in the Olden Days), and I fell in love. I believe I was 2 or 3 years old.
Honeyed Walnut Tart
Adapted from a recipe in October 2005 Bon Appetit
- 3 cups toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon orange-flower water
- One 9-inch pie crust, prebaked
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F.
You can mix this all up by hand – you don’t need any kind of mixer for it. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk eggs, honey, lemon juice, and orange-flower water in another medium bowl. Add egg mixture to nut mixture; stir until well blended. Pour the mixture into the pie crust, but do not overfill it – you will have filling left over if you make a 9-inch pie instead of an 11-inch tart. Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.
Bake tart until filling is deep golden and almost set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and store at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges. Some reviewers said that the tart was great with creme fraiche, and I’m going to try that next time.