Friday, November 13, 2009

Walnut Tart

Our Walnut tree is literally bursting with nuts. Every time we visit a friend at the moment we take a basket of walnuts from our tree. We made this walnut tart today to take to a friend we were visiting in the next village....the village of Bourgtheroulde Infreville. We stopped off at the Bourgtheroulde village market just in front of the Marie to buy a generous pot of fresh norman cream! With the tart still warm from the oven we did not dilly dally at the market today we headed staright to our friends house for coffee and tart.

When in rural France find out when and where you can enjoy the pleasures of browsing through an outdoor market in Normandy for local produce, fresh fruit and vegetables and organic food from the bio-food producers.

There are very few towns or villages in Normandy without their own, special market. Normandy bills itself as the gastronomic capital of Europe so here is just a selection of some markets to start you off on a Saturday morning in Normandy (Eure)

  • Les Andelys
  • Bourgtheroulde Infreville
  • Charleval
  • Evreux (town centre)
  • Fleury sur Andelle
  • Garennes sur Eure
  • Gasny
  • Harcourt

Walnut Tart

For the pastry

250g plain flour
125g unsalted butter
1tsp caster sugar
1/2tsp pure vanilla
1 whole organic free-range egg
1tbsp iced water

For the filling

300g shelled walnuts
300g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
100ml chestnut honey
6 organic free-range eggs
The zest of one unwaxed lemon

Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour and place in a food processor. Add the butter – first diced into small cubes – the sugar and vanilla and finally the egg. Turn the motor on and pulse until it is the consistency of crumble. Add the water and continue to pulse. The pastry will soon begin to come together and form a ball. Turn off the motor and remove the pastry. Wrap in baking paper and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Once the pastry has chilled, remove from the fridge and flour a work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry into a circle that is about an eighth of an inch thick. Line a 10-inch tart tin, pressing the pastry into the sides of the tin firmly with your thumbs. Prick the base of the pastry well all over using a fork and return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. While the pastry is chilling, make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the nuts in a roasting tin and toast briefly in the warm oven for no more than 3-4 minutes...this brings out the flavour! Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then place in a food processor and pulse until ground. Add the butter, sugar and honey, and turn the motor on. Add one egg at a time and purée until smooth.Fold in the lemon zest, remove from the mixer and set aside.

Remove the chilled tart case from the fridge and place on the middle shelf of the hot oven. Blind-bake (using baking paper and dried or baking beans to weigh it down) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon in the nut-and-honey paste. Return to the middle shelf of the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the centre is just wobbly to the touch and the top is a rich nutty brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

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