I have been dreaming up this recipe for over a month now. It works on so many levels. The textural contrast between the buttery melt in your mouth pastry, the gooey chocolate filling and the crisp walnut halves is perfect. The honey, whiskey, walnut and chocolate flavour combination is a winter hit. The pastry is scented with a little honey and I used a little fine ground oatmeal to cut the gluten and change the flavour profile a little. The chocolate filling is spiked with a good whiskey. I decided milk chocolate would work best. It’s a relatively mellow choice for me, but marries superbly with the honey walnuts and whiskey.
This recipe was initially inspired by a recipe I saw Matthew Evans write up in Delicious magazine. I got particularly excited when I scored a stash of home grown walnuts. Alas, I came to the end of my home-grown stash before the recipe came together in my mind, but there are still piles of bags on offer at the Capital Region Farmers Market. I was very glad to be able to buy ready shelled walnut halves from Alpine Nuts grown in Eurobin in Victoria. This saves me butchering the little morsels with my ill-equipped attempts to shell them myself.
This will make two 25cm flans, or one 25cm flan and 8 small flans
|40||grams||fine ground oatmeal|
|250||grams||Fair Trade milk chocolate|
|1/2||cup||raw caster sugar|
|1/4||cup||dark brown sugar|
|1||teaspoon||Fair Trade cocoa powder|
|2||tablespoons||good quality whiskey|
To make the pastry, combine the salt and flours in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the butter, rubbing with your fingertips till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Dissolve the honey in the water and allow to cool before adding to the bowl. Mix till just combined and form into a ball. Cover and refrigerate till ready to use.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator allow it to come to room temperature and divide in two. Roll each piece out to about 5 mm thick and line loose-bottomed, non-stick flan tins. Return pastry flans to the refrigerator till ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Line each of the flans with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or beans. For small tarts, bake for 8 minutes before removing the weights and paper. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes or until just golden. For small tarts, bake for 15 minutes before removing the weights and paper. Return to the oven and bake for a further 7 minutes or until just golden.
Reduce the oven temperature to 140oC.
To make the filling, melt the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan. Cool slightly and fold through the whiskey and eggs. Combine the sugars, cocoa and flour in a small bowl, to remove all lumps. Fold the dry ingredients through the wet.
Pour the filling into the pastry shells. Arrange the walnut halves atop the filling and bake for about an hour for a large flan and 15 minutes for small flans. When the tarts are ready, a very slight, pale crust will just form atop the filling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. These would be delicious with a scoop of honey ice cream, or whipped cream.