Wonderful walnuts: Walnut Maple Tart
Walnuts in New Zealand are fantastic. Not only can you buy the boutique, high-quality nuts that are widely grown in this country – there’s even a Christchurch-based grower and processor that glories in the name A Cracker of a Nut – but even the imports are of a far better quality than we normally see in Ireland.
I buy most of my baking needs from loose bins at the supermarket – what I describe as a way of seeing what you need and then buying too much of it! Still, there are advantages in almost always having supplies in the house for those times that I feel like putting wooden spoon to bowl. It is from these bins that I buy walnuts so, whether it’s the high turnover or just better quality imports, the nuts I buy are never rancid – something that was the bane of my life with pre-packaged walnuts in Ireland. As a result I’ve come to realise that walnuts in this country are reliable, tasty and versatile.
I have always used walnuts in my recipe for Chocolate Brownies but now I’m starting to branch out and use them in other ways. The other day I had a yearning for a pecan pie but thought that it would be interesting to try making it with walnuts. In my continuing efforts to find tasty uses for my bottle of real maple syrup I also decided to substitute maple syrup for the corn syrup used in pecan pie recipes. Also, because I love the combination, I threw in some cinnamon. Despite me taking a short cut and not pre-cooking the pastry tart case before I added the filling, with the result that the case leaked, the end result left little to be desired (apart, maybe, from keeping all its filling internally the next time!). The tart had the authentic stickyness that I love in pecan pies but the combination of crunchy walnuts, sweet maple syrup and spicy cinnamon was a good twist on an old favourite.
Walnut Maple Tart
9-inch pre-baked pastry case
Butter – ¼ cup
Maple syrup – 1 cup
Eggs – 3
Sugar – ¹/3 cup
Salt – ¼ teaspoon
Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon
Walnuts – 1 cup
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the butter and maple syrup over a low heat until just melted. Allow to stand for a few minutes. Beat eggs together with sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add cooled butter and maple syrup and mix well. Sprinkle walnuts over base of tart case and pour over filling mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes until filling has set. Serve warm with whipped cream.