Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Maple-Walnut Butter Tart

I am a huge fan of maple, particularly with walnut. Maple-walnut ice cream is one of my all-time favorites, and a few years ago, I made mini maple-walnut apple crisps, which my kids devoured pretty quickly. Even though I live in a maple-producing state, and real, good-quality maple syrup is abundant and relatively easy to find in any grocery store, you'd be surprised find that, short of visiting a maple sugar house, it is very difficult to find granulated maple sugar or maple butter.

This summer at the downtown farmer's market, I found a vendor there one day with locally produced granulated maple sugar and maple butter, and I quickly snagged the largest jar of the sugar that they had, knowing that I could find at least 101 uses for it.

This is my maple-walnutty version of the classic Canadian sweet, the butter tart. It's similar to English treacle tarts, or Southern pecan pie, and not dissimilar to the molasses-based  Shoofly pie of the Amish - it basically seems to be a buttery crust filled with a sugar-intense, gooey filling. Everything else is optional, except for the sighs of delight, and maybe the wish for a vial of insulin.

Maple-Walnut Butter Tart


For the press-in butter crust
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons packed granulated maple sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and then cooled
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • golden raisins
  • chopped walnuts, almost to the point of being pulverized
  • granulated maple sugar
  1. Make the crust by mixing together the flour and sugar and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
  2. Add the egg yolk and mix well, pressing it into a ball. 
  3. Rip off a portion of the dough and press it into your tart pan. Repeat with more dough - you will likely have some of this dough left over. Wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it for another use. 
  4. Lay down a small piece of parchment in the tart shells and add some baking weights or dried beans and and blind bake them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes. 
  5. Remove and let cool.
  6. Raise the oven temp  to 400 degrees F. 
  7. Mix together the maple syrup, 2 T of brown sugar and 2 T of maple sugar. 
  8. Add the melted butter and stir to combine well. 
  9. Add the egg, stir. Add the salt and vanilla and mix until it is nicely smooth.
  10. Place a few golden raisins and some of the chopped walnut in the bottom of the tart shells. 
  11. Sprinkle some granulated maple sugar over it and pour in the sugar mixture. 
  12. Top with a bit more of the chopped walnut and sprinkle some granulated maple sugar on top and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until just set.

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