Friday, May 8, 2009

Walnut Spice Tartlets with Coffee Cream

Walnuts appear in just about every culture and invite an entire world of wonderful flavor combinations. These tartlets are but one interesting and delicious blending of nuts and a mixture of the essence of coffee, spice and citrus. The crunchy, chewy nut filling contrasts nicely with the soft cream and crisp, crumbly tart shell. Luscious but not too rich, they make a very satisfying accompaniment to tea or coffee and look fun and inviting on any dessert tray.

Bench notes:
- The pastry dough can be made a day ahead and chilled. Once baked, the tartlet shells should be eaten the same day for maximum enjoyment. The filling can also be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
- I’d be tempted to try adding a very small dice of pear or apple to the filling for a little variation. Or a small dose of caramel to the whipped cream.

Walnut Spice Tartlets with Coffee Cream
Makes about 20 small tartlets

Tartlet Shells
adapted from Chez Panisse Fruit

4 oz (1 stick) butter
1/3 C sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 C flour

Walnut Filling

1 C walnuts
1/4 C + 1 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
zest of 1/2 orange
1 - 2 t orange flower water, to taste

Coffee Cream

1 C heavy cream, chilled
2 T + 2 t sugar
2 T Kahlua
1 t espresso powder

Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add the salt, vanilla, and egg yolk and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix just until there are no dry patches. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and press into a 4-inch disk. Chill several hours or overnight.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Dust one of the pieces of paper with flour, center the disk on it and dust the top of the dough with flour. Cover with the other piece of paper and roll out the disk into a 12" circle. If the dough starts to stick while you rolling, gently peel back the parchment and dust with flour. Flip the dough and parchment over and repeat on the other side, going back and forth until you have a 12" circle.

Remove the top sheet of parchment and use it to flip the dough over. Peel off the other piece of parchment and cut the dough into several small pieces. Press evenly into small tartlet tins. Work quickly and pinch off any dough overhanging along the edges. Place on a baking sheet and chill thoroughly or put in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so before baking.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Bake until slightly golden, about 13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, place the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in the bowl of a processor and pulse just a few times to chop the walnuts into smallish pieces. Don’t over process. You want small pieces but not paste. Pour into a bowl and add orange flower water. Stir to combine. Taste for flavor adjustments.

Dissolve espresso powder in Kahlua. Whip cream, sugar and coffee mixture until soft peaks form.

Fill each tartlet with walnut mixture and dollop or pipe the whipped cream on top.


Sasha said...

Wow. These look beautiful.
Question: how do you feel about getting rid of the cream and topping with some sauteed apples instead?


Bunny said...

It all looks so wonderful,the pastry looks so tender and flakey, I can only imagine how wonderful this tastes!

pastry studio said...

Sasha, I think that's a great idea.

Thanks, Bunny!

Diana H said...

This looks like something I would bring to a holiday gathering to impress. Looks scrumptious.

valerié-jeanne said...

Beautiful. I can't imagine life without walnuts. Have you ever made potica?

pastry studio said...

valerie-jeanne, I can't imagine life without walnuts. Or nuts in general. I was just reading about potica a couple of weeks ago! Sounds delicious. I'll have to try it at some point.

jb said...

These are beautiful and sound supremely delicious!

Eileen said...

Oh, these look fabulous. They're beautiful and I can only imagine how delicious.

pastry lover said...

Omg, I want these. Amazing.