There are some foods that have a clear affinity for each other: chocolate and hazelnut, tomatoes and basil, bacon and eggs....but its often the lesser utilized (in America, at least) combinations that make a truly memorable dessert for me. That brings me to pistachio, rose water and honey. What are common ingredients in the Middle East, are keys to one of my favorite sweets...enhanced with brown sugar, fresh orange, almonds and walnuts. Each component can be prepared ahead, and the tart itself lasts a few days in the fridge before the crust becomes soft. —PieceOfLayerCake
8 - 10
unbleached, all-purpose flour
unsalted butter, soft but cool
packed, brown sugar
zest of 1 orange
toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
toasted, shelled pistachios
toasted, sliced almonds
In This Recipe
Combine the sugar, salt and flour in a large bowl and toss to incorporate. Add in the butter and using your fingertips, work between your finger tips, kneading through the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add in the egg and vanilla paste and gently work the mixture until it comes together into a cohesive dough. If the dough is sticky at all, add flour by the tablespoon or so, gently working in, until the dough is soft but not wet.
Divide the dough in half, form into a rough disk and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill one disk in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and freeze the other for another use. Kept wrapped, the dough will last up to two months frozen.
Fetch the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin and gently pound out the dough to loosen its structure a bit. Roll it out to a rough 12" circle and form it into a 9", tart pan with a removable bottom (fluted or unfluted). Ease the tart crust into the corners of the dish, pressing it up against the sides and trimming off the excess, making it flush with the pan. Using a fork, dock the bottom of the dough 20 or so times. Store the crust in the refrigerator or freezer as the oven preheats, or overnight (wrap in plastic for storage more than a few hours).
Preheat the oven to 375F and arrange a rack to the bottom position. Retrieve the formed tart shell and line with parchment, aluminum foil or a large coffee filter (my personal choice). Fill with pie weights (I use rice) and bake the tart crust for 15 - 20 minutes, or until just set. Remove the pie weights and liner and continue to bake until lightly browned, another 5 - 8 minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare the filling. The shell must be completely cooled before the next step.
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Set the prepared tart shell on a sheet pan.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted and the foaming has subsided, dump in the brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add the honey and keep whisking over low heat until the syrup and brown sugar has been fully incorporated. Pull from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
When the brown sugar mixture has cooled slightly, dump in the eggs and whisk vigorously to combine. Add the orange zest, rose water, almond extract and salt and whisk to combine.
Combine the nuts and spread them out in the bottom of the tart shell. Slowly pour the filling over the nuts, allowing it to settle in. Lightly tap the sheet pan on the counter to release any trapped air.
Bake the tart for 45 - 55 minutes, or until the center jiggles just slightly. Remove the tart from the sheet pan and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Remove the tart from the pan and transfer to a lovely cake stand. Slice and serve with lightly whipped cream (spiked with a bit of amaretto perhaps).