Yield: about ½ cup (enough to garnish 1 cake or tart, or 6 individual desserts)
“Back to Baking”, pp. 321
Needing a garnish for a dessert that I wanted to make, I made this simple yet elegant nut crackle garnish. For my particular dessert I doubled the recipe, and for some reason the “crackle” never really solidified completely, making it difficult to break into pieces. Perhaps I should have kept in a bit longer in the oven to cook the syrup more, but I am not sure if that was the problem. I will keep you posted!
- ⅓ cup sliced or chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans)
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminium foil and grease well with butter.
- Sprinkle the foil with the nuts, then pour the maple syrup overtop, stirring just slightly.
- Bake for about 18 minutes, until the syrup is bubbling vigorously. Let the crackle cool completely and store at room temperature until ready to serve.
- To serve, peel the foil away from the crackle and break it into pieces to use. The crackle will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
Yield: one 9-inch baked tart shell
“Back to Baking”, pp. 113
This nutty dough recipe somehow looks good even before it is baked, even just rolled up in a ball. As seems to be often the case for me, I had a little trouble making this dough. I have now come to realize that I am not very good at making dough and crusts. Practice makes perfect, I guess! My main problem I think is that I tend to follow a recipe to the letter, even if I feel that something is amiss. In my case, it is usually water. This time I followed my gut and added a little extra water to ensure that the dough stays together. It did the trick. Of course I made this recipe for a specific dessert which I will post next: the rocky road tart (it looks as good as it sounds!).
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (e.g. walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts)
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- In a food processor, pulse the nuts and 2 tablespoons of the flour until the nuts are finely ground.
- Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, the sugar and the salt in the food processor. Pulse to blend.
- Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has a sandy texture.
- Add the cold water and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. If necessary, add a little extra water to ensure that the dough is cohesive.
- Shape the dough into a disc a cover in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until the dough is firm, at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, break the chilled dough into 4 pieces and knead them back together to soften them. Knead the dough briefly and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Delicately transfer the dough to a 9-inch, removable-bottom tart pan. Make sure to press the dough into the corners and trim away the excess dough. Chill the dough for 10 minutes.
- Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork. Place the tart pan on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown around the edges and dry in the centre. Let the tart shell cool prior to placing the filling.
Notes from Anna:
- The dough can be frozen at step 5 if desired and thawed in the refrigerator before rolling.