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Very nutty tarts.

Very nutty tarts End a holiday feast with any of these desserts based on Western nuts. The shape, texture, and flavor of each nut variety gives these tarts their distinctive character.

Bind roasted hazelnuts and almonds in a honey batter and pour over glazed apricots in a buttery crust. Caramel-coated pecans fill a ground nut crust for an ultrarich version of pecan pie. On a simpler note, try a pound cake-textured torte laced with toasted pine nuts.

Apricot Nut Tart

1 cup (6 oz.) dried apricots 2/3 cup dessert wine such as orange muscat or late-harvest Johannisberg Riesling, or orange juice 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel 2/3 cup honey 1 cup whole hazelnuts 1 cup blanched almonds 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted Butter pastry (recipe follows) Whipped cream (optional)

In a 1- to 1-1/2-quart pan, combine apricots, 1/3 cup wine, orange peel, and 2 tablespoons honey. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat, gently stirring occasionally, until apricots are soft and liquid is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, place hazelnuts and almonds in 2 separate 9-inch pie or cake pans. Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until nuts are golden, about 10 minutes; shake occasionally. Place hazelnuts in a towel; rub to remove as much skin as possible. Discard skin.

In a bowl, mix eggs, remaining wine and honey, vanilla, and butter until blended. Stir in nuts.

Press butter pastry over bottom and sides of an 11-inch tart pan with removable rim. Distribute apricots evenly in pastry. Pour nut mixture over fruit, arranging nuts evenly over top.

Bake tart on the bottom rack of a 350[degrees] oven until golden brown all over, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack. If made ahead, cool, cover, and store at room temperature up until next day. Remove pan rim. Cut tart in wedges; offer cream to add to taste. Serves 10 to 12.

Per serving: 432 cal.; 8.4 g protein; 26 g fat; 45 g carbo.; 120 mg sodium; 97 mg chol.

Butter pastry. In a food processor or a bowl, mix 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into small pieces; whirl (or rub with your fingers) until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add 1 large egg yolk; whirl (or mix with a fork) until dough holds together.

Pecan Caramel Tart

1-3/4 cups pecan halves 3/4 cup water 3/4 cup sugar About 7 tablespoons whipping cream Baked nut crust (recipe follows) Chocolate sauce (recipe follows)

Place nuts in a 9-inch pie or cake pan. Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until golden beneath skin, 8 to 10 minutes; shake occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a 1-1/2- to 2-quart pan, stir together water and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, without stirring, until water turns clear, 12 to 15 minutes. Wash sugar crystals from pan sides with a wet brush as mixture boils. Increase heat to high and boil, uncovered, until syrup turns golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in 7 tablespoons cream (it will splatter) until blended. Sauce should be consistency of corn syrup. If too thick, add a little more cream; if too thin, stir over low heat until thicker.

Gently mix nuts into warm caramel. Pour into crust and push nuts to arrange evenly; let cool. Drizzle warm chocolate sauce over tart. Cool until chocolate is firm. If made ahead, cover and store at room temperature up to 2 days. Cut into wedges. Makes 10 to 12 servings.--Fran Bigelow, Seattle.

Per serving: 427 cal.; 5.9 g protein; 36 g fat; 25 g carbo.; 66 mg sodium; 28 mg chol.

Baked nut crust. Whirl 2 cups walnuts in a blender or food processor until finely ground but not powdery; remove from blender. Add 1/2 cup blanched almonds and 3 tablespoons sugar to blender or processor and whirl until powdery.

In a bowl, cream together 6 tablespoons (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine until fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and the ground nuts; mix just until the dough holds together. Press dough over bottom and sides of 9-inch tart pan with removable rim. Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Use warm or cool.

Chocolate sauce. In a 1- to 1-1/2-quart pan, stir 2 tablespoons each whipping cream and chopped semisweet chocolate over low heat just until smooth. Use warm.

Pine Nut Torte

Vin santo, used in the ricotta sauce, is a medium-dry Italian dessert wine made from dried grapes.

1-1/4 cups pine nuts or slivered almonds 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine (at room temperature) 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar (plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for dusting) 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour Ricotta sauce (recipe follows) Spiked cherries (recipe follows) or orange slices (peel and membrane removed)

Place nuts in a 9-inch pie or cake pan. Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until golden, about 10 minutes; shake pan occasionally.

In a bowl, beat the butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well at each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour; mix until blended. Stir in the nuts. Spread batter into a buttered and floured 11-inch tart pan with removable rim.

Bake torte in a 350[degrees] oven until pale gold, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and dust top generously with powdered sugar. Cool in the pan on a rack. If made ahead, cool, cover, and store airtight up until the next day. Remove pan rim; cut torte into wedges. Offer ricotta sauce and spiked cherries to spoon over each serving. Makes 12 servings.

Per plain serving: 310 cal.; 6.9 g protein; 19 g fat; 30 g carbo.; 30 mg sodium; 102 mg chol.

Ricotta sauce. Whirl 1 cup (1 carton, about 8 oz.) ricotta cheese in a blender until smooth. In the top of a double boiler, whisk together 2 large egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup vin santo (or sweet marsala or cream sherry), and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Whisk over simmering water just until mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in ricotta cheese. Serve warm or cool. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes 1-1/3 cups.

Per tablespoon: 35 cal.; 1.5 g protein; 1.3 g fat; 3.3 g carbo.; 14.3 mg sodium; 22 mg chol.

Spiked cherries. Drain 1 jar or can (17 oz.) dark sweet cherries. Return cherries to a jar and add 1/2 cup vodka and 1/4 cup cherry-flavored liqueur (kirsch). Put lid on jar and invert several times. Chill at least until next day or up to 1 month, turning jar over occasionally. Makes about 2 cups.

Per 2 tablespoons: 47 cal.; 0.2 g protein; 0 g fat; 6.3 g carbo.; 1 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Nov 1, 1989
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