Martha Stewart’s Maple Nut Tart

I don’t know about you, but I can never resist booksales. I went into Harris one day and saw this beautiful cake cookbook that was on 20% discount! I wanted to buy it there and then, but the boyfriend dragged me out with my hands empty, saying that I don’t need to add another book to my collection at home.

Yes, I admit. I collect cookbooks. I read them often but rarely do I actually cook from the recipes there.

So imagine my joy when he calls me up and tells me that he’s going to buy me a cookbook to make up for my disappointment that day. I was excited but then I realise, hmm, something’s not quite right…

The boyfriend kindly bought me a book on his favourite treats – Pies & Tarts! And bought me a tart tin to complete the package. I was pleased with the present but was more excited about putting the new Martha Stewart on my shelf. Haha.

Here’s the first recipe I tried – Maple Nut Tart, a spin on the classic pecan pie, which is the boy’s ultimate favourite.

The filling recipe is quite versatile as you can incorporate other nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, as long as the total volume remains the same. For my first attempt, I used almonds instead as I didn’t manage to get pecans from the supermarket near my place.

First, prepare the pastry dough. This recipe makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust pie or two 9-inch single-crust pies:

Pâte brisée
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ to ½ cup ice water

1. Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor (or whisk together by hand in a bowl). Add butter, and pulse (or quickly cut in with a pastry blender or your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pieces of butter the size of small peas. Drizzle ¼ cup water over mixtures. Pulse (or mix with a fork) until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add ¼ cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse (or mix with a fork).

2. Divide dough in half onto two pieces of plastic wrap. Gather into two balls, wrap loosely in plastic, and press each into a disk using a rolling pin. Refrigerate until firm, well-wrapped in plastic, 1 hour or up to 1 day. (Dough can be fozen up to 3 months, thaw in refrigerator before using).

Maple Nut Tart
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts

All-purpose flour, for dusting
½ recipe of Pâte brisée
2 large eggs
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup pure Grade A maple syrup
1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans*
1½ cups coarsely chopped walnuts*

(*Note: 1½ cups is equivalent to about 150g. I used 100g almonds, 200g walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (about 176°C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 11-inch round. Fit into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with rim.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt; whisk in maple syrup. Add nuts, and mix to combine thoroughly. Place tart pan on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and pour in filling. Bake until filling is set and crust is slightly golden, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in pan. Unmold before serving.

It’s definitely a sweet treat. I recommend serving the tart with some hot tea.

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