I was shopping in Milton Keynes last week and came across a shop rather like the now sadly defunct Julian Graves. They had a special opening offer on walnuts, so I bought a large bag - nuts are good for you, anti-oxidents, omega 3 etc! I wanted to make something different to use some of them, and came across a recipe for a walnut tart.
It's from a tourist brochure I picked up somewhere in France, and this recipe, I was informed, is a speciality of the Périgord region. It brought back memories of when we lived in France, and my neighbour had a prolific walnut tree and would give my a huge carrier bag full. The only problem was you had to shell them all! At least the ones I bought were shell-free.
Preheat oven 200C/gas6 A tart dish about 23cm or a flan tin with a loose bottom.
For the shortcrust pastry - 125g flour, 75g butter, 25g caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt and 25ml water
Make the pastry and line the tart dish or tin and put aside.
For the filling - 500g walnuts, 150ml crème fraîche, 60g caster sugar, 1 egg and 2 tspn vanilla extract, icing sugar
Choose the best walnuts [you need to keep about half] to decorate the tart, then put the others into a processor or blender and whizz to a powder. Add the crème fraîche, sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well.
Pour the mixture over the pastry and bake for 30 mins.
Take the tart out of the oven, decorate the top with the rest of the walnuts, sieve over some icing sugar and pop back into the oven for a minute or 2 for the sugar to melt.
Leave to cool.
I cooked my tart in a foil tart dish as I wanted to take it to a coffee afternoon. It was delicious - really nutty, and I loved the texture contrasts between the soft pastry, the cream filling and the crunch of the walnuts on top. Something different to try.