Walnut Tart from Saint-Paul-de-Vence

I made this cake yesterday for a party. It’s not a traditional cake, more like a tart made to look like a cake. It took all day. I’m not going to post the recipe since it’s 6 pages long. There are 3 separate components and then assembly.

First you make the cake filling. Then you make a double crust of rich pastry. Line the tart pan and fill it.

Cover with more pastry. Bake the tart, making sure it doesn’t puff up and get lumpy.

It must cool completely before you turn it out of the pan and cover it with a rich chocolate glaze. See what I mean?

The recipe came out of Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts, originally published in 1980. If there ever was a queen of desserts, it’s Maida Heatter. I have 4 of her books and they are all excellent. She takes difficult desserts, like this one, and tells you exactly how to make them. She doesn’t make them easy because you still need to have lots of baking chops to pull them off. But, unlike a lot of recipes, she tells you what it’s going to look like every step of the way. This is very helpful, particularly when it doesn’t look like what you expect. In this case, she says of the filling “If the mixture appears to be curdled, beat it briskly with a medium-size wire whisk; it might not smooth out completely –O.K. (the curdled look will disappear when the tart is baked).” Which explains why her recipes sometimes run to 6 pages!

In the introduction to this recipe she says “This is not quick and easy, and is not a recipe for a beginning baker. When you make this, you will be so pleased that my congratulations will be lost in the excitement; however, I do congratulate you.”

I’m feeling quite pleased with myself.


Author: worldplatterblog

I blog about food, travel, and anything else tangentially related to food that piques my interest. I have a degree in Culinary Arts and in Operations Research (it's math). That means I'm pretty analytical and love science, but I also love art. Food is a strange place where science intersects art in continually changing ways. I love writing about all of it.

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