Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Favourite Macadamia Nut Tarts

Much like a pecan pie but with the lighter, softer flavours of macadamia nuts. Utterly delicious with a scoop of vanilla, honey or earl grey ice cream.

Makes a 24-cm tart or 6 to 8 mini tarts

Prep time: 1 hr
Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins

For sweet tart dough:
290 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 g icing sugar, sifted
70 g ground almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
490 g plain flour

For filling:
42 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup corn syrup
135 g firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp rum
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Special equipment:
24-cm tart tin or 6 mini rectangular tart tins
Baking weights, dried beans or raw rice

1. To make pastry, place butter in the bowl of a standing or hand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat over medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add icing sugar and beat again until well blended, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes.
3. Add ground almonds, salt and vanilla and mix till smooth, scraping the bowl as necessary.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well (for about 30 seconds) after each addition.
5. Reduce speed to low and add flour. As soon as the flour is incorporated, stop mixing — you don’t want to overwork the flour.
6. Gather dough into a ball and divide into 3 pieces. Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in cling film. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. This dough will keep in the freezer for up to a month.
7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
8. Because this is a very buttery dough, it can be fiddly to work with. So it’s best to roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. If the dough becomes too soft while working with it, simply slip it back into the fridge for a few minutes.
9. Roll out one ball of dough to about 5 mm thick and line a 24-cm tart tin with it.
10. Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.
11. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper and fill about half-full with pie weights, dried beans or rice.
12. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is lightly coloured. Remove parchment and baking weights and return crust to the oven for another 8 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack while you get on with the filling.
13. To make the filling, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Let the butter cook until some of the white solids fall to the bottom of the skillet and turn a rich hazelnut brown, about 10 minutes.
14. Strain brown butter through a fine sieve into the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow butter to cool before adding the rest of the ingredients except the macadamia nuts. Whisk until well blended, then strain through a fine sieve. (This filling can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance).
15. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C and place tart pan on a foil-lined baking sheet.
16. Spread nuts over the bottom of the tart shell and pour filling over.
17. Bake until filling is set and golden brown on top, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

This recipe was first published in the November 2010 issue of Food & Travel magazine
Photography by Mervin Chua/Aperture Ink

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