Walnut and Cognac Tart

Darina Allen's exquisite tart, subtly flavoured with fresh walnuts, makes a wonderful dessert, ideal for dinner parties
By Darina Allen
Walnut and Cognac Tart
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 10
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hr chilling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 115 g butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt

Walnut Filling

  • 175 g freshly shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 350 ml double cream
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 2 small egg whites
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 3 tbsp cognac, or Armagnac
  • 175 g icing sugar
  • 16 walnut halves
  • softly whipped cream, to serve

Method

1. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre.

2. Place the butter, sugar, yolks and salt in the well and, using fingertips, work the mixture together to form a crumbly dough.

3. Lightly knead the dough, shape into a ball, cover with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC/Gas 4.

5. Roll out the pastry and line a greased 25cm loose-based flan ring with the pastry. Line the pastry case with kitchen paper and fill with baking beans.

6. Blind bake the pastry case for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until golden-brown, taking care, however, not to let the pastry turn dark brown.

7. Meanwhile, mix together the chopped walnuts, cream, vanilla extract, caster sugar and a pinch of salt.

8. Beat the egg whites until stiff.

9. Once the pastry case is golden-brown, fold the stiffly beaten egg white into the walnut mixture.

10. Fill the pastry case with the walnut mixture and bake for 45 minutes, until the filling is set and pale gold in colour. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

11. Meanwhile, make the icing by mixing together the Cognac and icing sugar.

12. Spread the icing evenly over the cooled tart. Decorate with the walnut halves and serve with softly whipped cream.

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