Crunchy Walnut Tart

From Stephanie Alexander's Cooking and Travelling in SW France

This is one of my favourite puddings - and my childrens', which is great because they don't mind shelling the walnuts! We are lucky to have a generous friend who has organic walnut orchards with bee hives in them - she gives us wonderful walnuts and honey. But this tart is still delicious with walnuts and honey from the supermarket.

I think this tart tastes even better if you make it the day before you eat it.

You need:

120g unsalted butter
150g honey
100ml double cream
2 tablespoons rum, brandy or armangac
300g walnut pieces
150g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
crème fraîche to serve with
1 packet of shortcrust pastry

or to make the pastry:

180g unsalted butter
240g plain flour
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons cold water


To make the pastry:
1. Remove the butter from the fridge 30 mins before making the pastry. Sift the flour and salt onto a worksurface. Cut the butter into smallish pieces, add to the flour and lightly rub together to partly combine.
Make a well in the centre, add the water and, using a pastry scraper, work the paste to a rough heap of buttery lumps of dough. Then work together as briefly as possible in to a smooth dough, roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line a loose-bottomed flan tin that is 2.5cm deep and 24 cm across the base. Prick the base here and there with a fork and chill for 20 mins.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 C/Gas mark 6. Line the pastry case with a sheet of crumpled greeaseproof paper and a thin layer of baking beans and bake for 20 mins. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and lower the oven temperature to 190 C/Gas mark 5.

3. Put the butter, honey, cream and rum together in a pan and warm gently over a low heat, but don't let it get hot. Remove from the heat.

4. Mix the walnuts and sugar together in a bowl. Lightly whisk the egg yolks, add the egg yolks to the honey mixture, then stir this into the walnuts and sugar.

5. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for 40 minutes until the tart is well caramelized - when the honey mixture is bubbling. Leave the tart to cool, then serve with crème fraîche.