from one generation to the next
In another life we lived in a modern family home abutting a large grove of old trees, a conglomeration of European and American decidious varieties interspersed with mature walnut trees. It was a remnant of old garden from a long forgotten farmhouse.
As the walnuts dropped from the trees in autumn we’d collect them in baskets, allow the shells to dry then indulge in a frenzy of nut cracking and walnut gorging. Those nuts from our garden have spoilt me, no imported packaged walnut lives up to my expectations so I’m always eager for the arrival of the new season’s walnut crop from Victoria’s High Country.
I’ve been on a walnut binge for the last couple of months now. As well as cracking nuts to snack on straight from the shell, I’ve made candied walnuts, walnut cake, meringues, crackers and pie. The latest indulgence fresh from my oven is delicious walnut frangipane tartlets, buttery walnut and spelt flour crust, walnut frangipane and just merest hint of chocolate hidden deep inside.
I cobbled together these delicious tartlets to use up a tray of walnut pastry lined tartlet tins stored in the freezer, the pastry leftovers from the Apple Walnut Pie. The finished tartlets were terrific so this walnut lover was very happy.
My oven has a setting that heats just the bottom element making it ideal for pies and tarts. It’s so effective that baking the pastry blind is unnecessary. If you are doubtful that your oven will be cook the pastry to a crisp biscuit with the filling in place, bake the tart pastry blind before adding the frangipane and rebaking.
walnut spelt flour pastry:
200g spelt flour
100g castor sugar
70g walnut meal
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate buttons
Lightly oil 2 trays of tartlets moulds or 2 dozen individual 6cm tartlet tins.
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar and walnuts, then add the egg.
Mix until just incorporated.
Bring the pastry together with a scraper and form into a ball.
Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry out on a floured board until 2mm thick.
Cut circles with a fluted cookie cutter and line the tartlet tins.
Chill or freeze until needed.
125g butter, softened
125g brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (I use homemade)
80g buckwheat flour
125g walnut meal
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat to thoroughly incorporate them into the butter mix.
Stir in the flour and walnuts.
Put a couple of small pieces of chocolate in each tart shell.
Spoon the frangipane over the chocolate. The frangipane will only swell a little in the oven, be careful not to overfill the pastry cases.
Bake the tarts at 180C for about 20 minutes or until puffed, golden and firm.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins before turning them onto a wire to cool.
Dredge with icing sugar before serving.