The Périgord: A Nutty Place

This week we start off a 3 part episode on the region that includes Bordeaux, the Dordogne, and the Perigord.

Listen on Apple podcasts or your favorite player!

Tarte Aux Noix Perigourdine

I made these into little tartlets but you could just as easily make one big tart. It was so delicious, pecan pie vibes but more caramelly and with the lightest crispest pastry!

Yes you could buy pastry, but store bought pastry sucks. It sucks! Making your own pastry is so easy and it’s really a zillion times better. The pastry makes enough for 6 tartlets easily cut out with as many scraps leftover for the next project, or one big tart again with scraps. It’s so easy, trust me!

If you want to make one big tart, increase the cooking times on everything by about 20 minutes

French Walnut Tart Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 200g walnut halves
  • 200g sugar
  • 200g of creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 30g unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 30g honey
  • 2 eggs
  • pate sucrée – or sweet pastry crust – this makes enough for 2 big tarts

Start by making the pastry since it will need at least an hour in the fridge before rolling.

Pate Sucrée

250g AP flour or pastry flour

95g powdered sugar

30g ground nuts, walnuts if you have them, but almond or hazelnut will do, you can skip this if it’s too much of a pain

2 big pinches of salt

150g butter

1 large egg

  1. Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, and ground nuts. Whisk together
  2. Cut butter into cubes and mix into the dry ingredients, pinching and rolling the butter between your fingers until the mixture is sandy and there aren’t any big pieces of butter left
  3. Crack the egg into a bowl and break it up with a fork, then add it in and fold with a spatula
  4. You want to work the dough enough so it starts to create a mass, but it doesn’t need to be uniform or totally cohesive
  5. Dump it out onto plastic wrap including any dry crumbs, flatten into a disk shape and wrap
  6. Store in a cold part of the fridge for at least an hour
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F or 175C (if using convection lower it by 10 or so degrees)
  8. Spray or butter the tart shells
  9. Roll out pastry with plenty of flour
  10. Line the tart shells, it doesn’t matter if there are some holes just patch them up!
  11. Grease some foil and lay it butter side down over the pastry and fill with either rice, beans, or baking beads
  12. Blind bake like that for 10-15 minutes until the sides look like they are starting to be drier
  13. Remove the foil and beans and bake for another 10 minutes

Meanwhile – for the tarts

Have all your ingredients at hand before you make the caramel, it waits for no (wo)man! And for god’s sake be careful, caramel is dangerous.

  1. Roast the walnuts in the oven or toast them in the microwave so they get all that good roasted flavor, I don’t have a microwave so it’s usually 10-15 minutes in the oven for me
  2. I dump them into a kitchen towel and crunch them up with my hands, this keeps the chunks large enough to be toothsome and removes some of the bitter skin
  3. Melt the sugar in a dry pan over medium heat, you can stir the unmelted sugar into the melted sugar to help it along
  4. Once it is uniformly melted and a rich amber color, take it off the heat and add the butter cubes and stir, it will spit!
  5. Once the butter is in add the honey and cream and salt
  6. Put it back on the heat and cook it until it thickens up a bit, it should coat the back of your spoon or spatula rather than sliding straight off
  7. Add the walnuts and stir, removing from the heat
  8. Ignore for 15 minutes so it cools down and doesn’t immediately scramble your eggs
  9. Add the eggs one at a time and stir in until the mixture is uniform
  10. Spoon into the tart shells and then return to the oven for about 15 minutes, it’s done when the whole surface looks set, there will be bubbles
  11. Let it cool before you stick your face in it, which will be difficult