Cafette Chocolate Walnut Tart
(Makes one tart, serving 8 generously. My tart pan with removable bottom measures 9½" across by 1¼" deep. I have also made this in a 9" pie plate, substituting a partially blind baked pie shell for the crumb crust. Equally delicious.)
A note about the crust:
If you happen to have an abundance of slightly crispy chocolate chip cookies on hand, process them in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the metal blade until they are finely ground. You will need 2 cups of crumbs for the 9½” tart pan. You can use any cookie crumbs for this; preferably something with a bit more texture than a plain graham cracker crust. If you don’t have cookies available, you can prepare a single recipe of pate brisée, line a 9” pie plate with it, chill the dough until firm, then partially blind bake it. Line the pie dough with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or beans, and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 18 minutes, until the dough is set. Remove parchment or foil and weights, return pie shell to oven for an additional 8 minutes, just until the pie shell is lightly browned. Set the pre-baked shell aside while you prepare the filling.
2 cups finely ground chocolate chip cookies
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9½” tart pan with removable bottom. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and along the sides of the tart pan. Chill for 15 minutes. Set the chilled tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes. Let the tart shell cool while preparing the filling.
Chocolate Walnut filling (enough to fill a 9” pre-baked pie shell or a 9½” pre-baked tart shell)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup dark corn syrup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 cups walnut halves and pieces (you can find these at Trader Joe’s)
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together, flour, brown sugar and salt. Add corn syrup and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking for another minute, remove from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate and butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside until the mixture is cool to the touch.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Continue gradually adding the chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking well so there are no streaks of egg visible.
Place the pre-baked tart shell on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the walnuts over the bottom of the tart shell then slowly pour the chocolate filling over the walnuts. Smooth the top with an offset spatula, and place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then check to see if the tart has puffed around the edges and the center feels firm. Test the center of the tart with a small paring knife, it should come out clean. If it is still wet, continue baking for an additional 5 minutes until it tests clean. Cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before serving. This is most delicious when it is slightly warm. (If there are any leftovers, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
Honey Salted Caramel Apple Pie
makes one 9” pie
(adapted from Farm Journal’s Caramel Apple Pie and the National Honey Board recipe booklet)
For the Caramel
½ cup mild flavored honey
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 oz. sweet butter
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon good quality vanilla
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a heavy-bottomed pan (mine is a 3 qt. size), combine honey, brown sugar, and butter. Cook over medium high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden or silicone treated spoon. Allow the caramel to cook until it deepens in color a bit. Slowly add the heavy cream, the mixture will steam and get foamy. Stir gently to combine, then continue to cook until the caramel thickens. I cook it until my insta-read thermometer registers 238 degrees. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. (The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.) Let the caramel cool completely before using it in your pie.
For the Pie
2 discs of Pate Brisée (enough for a double crusted 9” pie)
2 ¾ lbs. of apples (I prefer a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp), peeled, cored, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup of Honey Salted Caramel, cooled
egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon heavy cream)
Turn the oven on to 400 degrees. Roll out one disc of Pate Brisée and fit it into a 9” pie plate. (My pie plate is 2” deep- don’t use a shallow little pie plate or you will be scrubbing caramel out of your oven.) Roll out the second disc for the top crust; set it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let the pie shell and top crust chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and the lemon zest.
Combine the sugar, spice, cornstarch mixture with the apples to coat well. Mound the apples tightly in the pie shell, then drop dollops of the caramel on top of the fruit. Drape the top crust over the apples. Fold the top layer of dough under the bottom layer of dough, and tuck the two together, sealing the pie. Crimp the edges. Brush the pie with egg wash and poke three or four steam vents in the top crust. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning, and bake on the bottom rack of your oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the foil strips and bake approximately 10 minutes longer or until the apples test tender with a sharp knife. The pie needs to cool for 3 hours or more before slicing.
Blueberry Pie, two ways
(One from the Ladies Home Journal and one from Yankee Magazine)
Makes one 9” pie
The Classic Lattice Pie boasts little more than:
Dough for one double crust pie (preferably pate brisée)
6 generous cups of fresh blueberries, lightly rinsed, patted dry, stems removed
¾ cup granulated sugar (you can add up to ¼ cup more if the berries are tart)
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon cinnamon
egg wash made with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water
sugar for sprinkling
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and cinnamon. Set aside. Roll one half of the pate brisée on lightly floured parchment paper to about 12” round and about 1/8” thick. Place the dough into a 9” pie plate, trim the edge, tuck it under itself and crimp. Chill. Roll out remaining half of pate brisée, cut into wide strips and keep chilled while assembling the pie.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Reserve one cup of the blueberries and set aside. Toss the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and cinnamon mixture over the remaining berries until they are well coated. I break up a portion of the berries with a rubber spatula to draw out the juices a bit. Fill the prepared pie plate with the blueberry mixture. Spread it evenly and then add the reserved cup of blueberries on top. (The reasoning behind this is so you have blue berries peeking through the lattice and not sugar/cornstarch coated berries which have a white cast to them.) Remove your lattice strips from the refrigerator, weave them on top of the pie, tuck the edges underneath, sealing the bottom crust with the lattice. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approx. 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes or maybe a bit more, until the juices are bubbling thickly. If the crust is getting too dark, cover the edges with foil strips. Let the pie sit for several hours before slicing.
Blueberry Pie with Maple Walnut Crumble
Follow the directions as above, using one half portion of dough to line the pie plate, saving the other half for another time. I like to add several tablespoons of maple syrup to the berries (make sure it’s good quality, not faux maple.) Prepare a crumble using the following:
2 cups chopped walnuts
½ cup white whole wheat flour
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 oz. of cold butter, cut into small pieces (half of a stick of butter = 4 Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon pure Maple syrup
You can prepare this in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse the mixture just until crumbly- or you can make it by combining the ingredients in a bowl and working the butter into the mixture until coarse and crumbly. Then drizzle in the maple syrup and sprinkle the crumb topping over the blueberry pie filling. Bake this pie in a pre-heated 375 degree oven (to prevent the crumble from getting too brown) for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 50 minutes, covering the pie with foil or parchment if it is getting dark. The berries should bubble around the edges and the center of the pie should be hot to the touch when you test it with a small paring knife. Set aside to cool for several hours before slicing.