FOOD & DRINK / A-Z of Treats

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The Independent Culture
W is for Walnut Tart, one of our final unashamed luxuries to enjoy on feast days. It is a satisfyingly rich dessert, developed by the late Michael Smith, the cookery writer who did more than anyone to revive the status of the English pudding.

WALNUT TART

Serves 6

For the sweet pastry

170g/6oz plain white flour

110g/4oz unsalted butter

55g/2oz icing sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon cold water

For the filling

110g/4oz ground almonds

110g/4oz caster sugar

2 eggs

55g/2oz walnuts roughly chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Lightly rub the butter into the flour until you have a sandy texture. Sift in the sugar, incorporating this by letting it run through the fingers as you lift and 'rain' the flour and butter mixture. Make a well in the centre of these dry ingredients. Beat the egg, add the water and lemon juice to it, and pour into the well. Work the mixture quickly into a dough and leave to rest for half an hour.

Roll out two-thirds of the pastry and line an 8in/20cm flan ring or loose-bottomed tart tin. Roll out a lid and put on one side while you make the filling.

Separate the eggs. Cream the yolks with the sugar until they are white and fluffy. Beat in the ground almonds. Add the walnuts. Stiffly beat the egg whites and fold into the mixture, adding a tablespoon at first to 'slacken' the walnut mixture.

Fill the lined flan ring, wet the edges, add the lid, seal, and pinch or fork round the edge so that it looks attractive. Bake in the centre of an oven pre-heated to 200C/400F/ Gas 6 for 40 minutes. Dredge with a little caster sugar 10 minutes before the end of the baking time.

Remove the ring and stand the finished pie on a cooling tray. Serve with plenty of whipped cream. This pie is also good when made with brown sugar.

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