Friday, October 5, 2012

Monkey Room Nut Tart: A Thanksgiving Treat

The first time I had this tart was in the Monkey Room at The Colony Beach Club in Sarasota many years ago. The Colony has since closed, but my memory of this extraordinary tart lives on. Similar in many ways to a classic sweet and gooey Pecan Pie, this Six Nut Tart is made with a cornucopia of mixed nuts such as rich macadamias, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, sweet pine nuts and crunchy peanuts, although any combination of your favourite nuts will do. Made with a sweet, firm and buttery pâte sucrée, Six Nut Tart can also be prepared using short crust pastry for a flakier more crumbly pie. Sweet, crunchy and deliciously buttery, this effusively nutty tart is the perfect Thanksgiving treat, guaranteed to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth.

Six Nut Tart
Serves 8

Pâte Sucrée:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup ice water

Nut filling:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp dark corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup halved pecans
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup halved or broken walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup halved or broken hazelnuts
1/4 cup whole or halved macadamia nuts

To make the pâte sucrée tart shell, combine flour and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 to 20 seconds.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks then slowly add the ice water. With the machine running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: if it's crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured piece work surface. Let it sit for about 3 to 4 minutes to take the chill off. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour and roll out to a round shape large enough to line a 9-inch tart pan, keeping the work surface and dough lightly floured as needed. Lift the dough and gently shape it to fit closely into all the contours of the pan. Prick the bottom of the tart dough several times with the tines of a fork. Bake for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown.

In large bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs at medium speed until well-mixed. Add all remaining filling ingredients except the nuts, and beat until combined. Place the baked tart shell pan on a baking sheet and sprinkle the nuts in an even layer in the bottom of the tart shell. Carefully pour the liquid evenly over the nuts. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the filling is golden brown. The filling will look puffy but will settle down quickly as it cools. Place on a wire rack and cool completely before serving.