Saturday 16 May 2015

Caramel and Maple Walnut Tart

Exam season is here (ahhh) and I'm now in full revision mode (urrghhh), this means lots and lots of reading...but unfortunately not recipes. Sad, I know. But not to worry guys because I like to plan way ahead for times like these, sorry for sounding so smug but I am pretty pleased for myself - it has to be said!  I've had this post up my sleeve for a while now and I think it's time to finally whip it out. But apologies for the lack of photos...
I must admit that I'm not a huge caramel fan, it is very VERY sweet!! But my boyfriend is a huge caramel fanatic (haha that makes him a sound a bit crazy - he isn't let me just point out) and so that's why I made this. 

Pleased to say it was a success and it passed his high standards. Pheww. It wasn't actually too sweet for me either because I used a shallow tart tin so there was only a thin (but still a decent) amount of caramel filling making it a rich and naughty, decadent tart. Thin slithers my dad always says!!

This tart is much like my recipe for mocha tart in the sense that it's the same pastry recipe, I love using it for all sweet tarts because it works everytime! The filling is obviously a different one but once the caramel is made you just pour it in the case, top with the maple walnuts and leave it to chill. Simple.

Note: You could add some crushed sea salt to the caramel filling before pouring it into the tart to make it a salted caramel tart. Swap walnuts for pecans if you prefer. 

Caramel and Maple Walnut Tart


[makes 1 x 8 inch tart]

For the pastry:
55g icing sugar
170g plain flour, plus more to dust
110g butter, chopped
½ of a lightly beaten egg

For the filling:
170g caster sugar
80g butter
160ml double cream
1 tbsp maple syrup
60g walnuts


Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ gas 6. To make your pastry, mix the icing sugar and flour together then mix in the butter, either pulse-blending in a food processor or rubbing it in with your fingertips, until the mixture has the consistency of crumbs. Add the beaten egg and mix the dough until firm and smooth. Wrap in cling film and let it rest for 10 minutes in the freezer. 

Roll out the pastry so that you can line your loose-bottomed tart tin (preferably about 8 inches in diameter and quite shallow), cut off the overhanging pastry and then line with greaseproof paper and baking beans to blind-bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 6-8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely. 

While your pastry case is cooling you can caramelise the walnuts. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the walnuts and syrup in a bowl. Toss to coat. Place mixture in a single layer on your prepared tray. Bake at 200°C/ 400°F/ gas 6 , stirring occasionally for 6 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Now make the caramel filling. Place the sugar in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or until sugar turns golden. Reduce heat to low. Add the cream. Heat, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Remove from the heat then add the butter. Stir to combine. Cool for 5 minutes and then pour into the pastry case and top with the caramelised walnuts evenly spaced. Refrigerate overnight or until set and serve. 

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