A delicious way to celebrate Autumn and Walnuts
The Walnut tart is one of those delicious cakes, poor, typical of the Piemonte tradition. It’s fragrant, the mix of flavors of the shortcrust pastry, honey and walnuts is incredible. Even the texture is perfect and combines the pastry, melting in your mouth, the walnuts wrapped in crispy baked honey.
It’s a tart that comes from the subalpine areas of Turin and Saluzzo, also prepared in the Monferrato area.
I made this tart for my last birthday, along with a bônet (boo-net) another typical dessert from Piemonte that I will publish in the next few days.
The perfect tart to taste amazing red wines
With this tart is inevitable to talk about wine, because according to tradition Piedmont “walnuts make wine good”.
In fact, according to ancient legends, which are not just stories, the farmer was used to give to eat some walnuts to the trader before him taste his wine. This is because walnuts made the wine taste better.
The perfect wines to pair are the red ones, the ones you would use to taste good walnuts and the sweet, the cakes or desserts. In Piemonte is very common to serve this tart with Freisa wine, a red wine delightful and charming, gently sparkling and slightly sweet. Perfect with desserts. This wine is typical of the Langhe and Monferrato, but also in the Turin and Biella.
Another good choice to pair with this tart is Brachetto d’Acqui, a DOCG wine produced in the area of Acqui Terme. The grape is brachetto, which is believed to be a native of Piemonte. Brachetto d’Acqui is a somewhat sweet wine, which can be either sparkling or still.
Crostata di Noci (Piemonte Walnut Tart)
Piemonte walnut tart is a delicious traditional Piemonte tart. Perfect to taste red wines like Freisa or Brachetto and to celebrate Autumn and walnuts.
- 14 oz. flour (variety to taste) sifted twice
- 5.5 oz. cold butter, the temperature of the refrigerator
- 5.5 oz. brown sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 pinch of salt
For the filling
- about 2-3 dozens of whole kernels of nuts, must be sufficient to cover the tart pan
- 3 heaping tablespoons of honey, wildflowers will be fine, or you can use any other honey to taste
- 2 oz. of butter
Prepare the shortcrust pastry
- place the flour in a cone in the middle of the axis to work,
- drill a small hole in the center, like a volcano,
- and pour the whole egg, the egg yolk and the pinch of salt
- start working it slowly with your hands
- add the sugar and keep kneading
- finally add butter cut into small cubes, I've left the butter at the end to be sure to avoid that the warm of the hands, working the dough, heats the mixture and makes the dough becomes sticky.
- Therefore from this point on it is necessary to knead very quickly using only your hands, trying not to heat the mixture with the heat of your hands. The butter should not melt under the heat of the hands, otherwise the dough becomes sticky and impossible to work with. You should also think to knead outside, in the hot autumn day, to keep the dough fresh and avoid that the dough becomes sticky.
- As soon as the mixture is blended, form a ball
- cover with plastic wrap (I've used an aluminum foil as I discovered only at that time that I've finished the plastic wrap!) and place in refrigerator for about half an hour. No more than that if it is not too hard to be spread on the baking sheet.
Prepare the filling
- In a pan put the kernels, whole or coarsely chopped into quarters, honey and butter.
- Melt and stir over moderate heat until butter and honey are well blended. The mixture is ready when it has become a light brown color and is slightly reduced.
- Choose a tart pan with low sides and wavy, cover it either with cooking paper or grease and sprinkle with cornmeal or breadcrumbs. Place the shortcrust pastry to form a base around a quarter of an inch thick that covers the bottom and sides. Use only your hands, this will make the tart look very homemade and rustic
- Pour in the filling of walnuts and honey, spreading it evenly with a spoon.
- Put in a preheated oven at 350°F for 40 minutes, if the surface tends to become dark place a sheet of aluminum foil on while baking
Pair with Piemonte red wines like Freisa or Barbaresco d'Acqui.
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