Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Caramel and Salted Walnut Tarts

Phew! After a few really busy weeks at uni things are calming down just a tad. What I find quite interesting is that this week would still be a really busy week under my old standards, but I suppose it is all relative and I actually feel quite relaxed. What made things better is that I finally got a chance to get into the kitchen this weekend and make something exciting.

Today's post isn't quite so healthy, but because it is still made with completely 'real' ingredients I definitely think that they have a place on this blog. Besides, they were just far too delicious not to share. I have actually had a request to make them again this weekend. I know that salted caramel is a bit of a trend at the moment, so i thought that I would play around with those flavours. However, I thought that rather instead of salting the caramel, I would instead use the walnuts for this purpose. The result was delicious!!

Note: The caramel is more of a caramel custard so they are best kept in the fridge.

400g sweet, shortcrust pastry (made with butter is best!)

300ml cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornflour

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp coconut oil (butter will also work)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin (Depending on the size of your tin the recipe may make more or less than 12). Roll out the shortcrust pastry to around 5mm thick. Using a class cookie cutter (I used one the same size as the muffin tin hole to make them a small tart size), cut out circles. Gently press into the muffin tins and prick. Bake blind for 10 minutes or until cooked through.*Leave to cool.

*To bake blind, cover pastry in baking paper and use rice or beans to weight it down. These instructions may help.

While leaving bases to cool make the filling. Place the cream, brown sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Over a low heat, gently heat together until the brown sugar has dissolved. Increase to a medium heat and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. Whisk the eggs yolks and cornflour with a little milk together. Add to the cream mixture, stirring quickly so the egg doesn't scramble. Continue to cook over a medium heat until the mixture is thick.

For the walnuts toast them in a 180 degree C. oven for around 5 minutes (they should start to smell walnut-y). Place the hot walnuts in a bowl with the honey and coconut oil and mix to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt.

To assemble: Spoon the caramel mixture into the pastry cases and top with walnuts. Leave to cool before serving.

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