Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano and Giada de Lauretiis
time: 1 hr to prepare chestnuts + 1 hr cooking + 40 min baking + 10 min cooling
- 650 g (1 1/2 lbs) chestnuts
- 190 g (almost 1 cup) sugar
- 240 ml (1 cup) or more water
- 1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds removed
- zest from 1 lemon, grated
- 300 g (2 cups) regular flour OR what I used:
- 1 cup (150 g) regular flour and
- 1 cup (120 g) whole spelt flour
- 195 g (1 5/8 stick) cold butter, diced
- 40 g (2 1/2 Tablespoons) sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest from 1 lemon, grated
- 60 ml (4 Tablespoons) ice water
- Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 180C/355F (fan forced). Make cross incisions (half way down the nut) in the smooth end. Place nuts on a baking sheet and then in the oven for 15 min. Turn the heat off. Open the oven door. Take 4 nuts at the time out of the oven and peel the shell and skin off, using a small knife and your fingers. In a food processor with steal blades, blend nuts till fine (2-3 minutes). In a medium sauce pan, mix water with sugar. Add lemon zest and vanilla (bean and seeds). Bring to slow boil and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean (hint: store it in sugar). Add blended nuts. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend the mix till creamy. Cook on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Meanwhile...
- Prepare crust: In a food processor with steel blades, bland flours with zest, sugar and salt. Add butter, pulse till coarse meal texture, about 10 seconds. Add water, puls more, till mass forms (and not any longer). Transfer the dough onto a rolling board. Give a couple of thrusts with the base of your palm. Form a disc, wrap it in a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour. Meanwhile...
- Preheat oven to 180C/355F (fan forced function). Prepare a 28cm/10inch tart form. Line your rolling board with a large piece of parchment paper. Place your chilled dough on top (cut off 1/3 of it and place it back in the fridge) and roll till thin and a little bigger that your form. Use flour if your rolling pin sticks to the dough. Place the paper with the dough in your form. Perforate dough with a fork. On top, line a piece of aluminum foil. Place a handful of dry beans as weight and set it in the hot oven for about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove beans and aluminum foil. Meanwhile...
- Roll the leftover 1/3 dough till thin and cut it (with a pizza cutter) into strips. Spread the filling on top of pre-baked crust. Arrange strips on top and set the tart in the hot oven for about 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat. Let it cool some and serve.
- the chestnut filling tastes very close to a toffee candy;
- but a little less sweet and with that fantastic hint of chestnut;
- the peeling of chestnuts...very hard with the oven method (versus cooking in water) as well, the only difference was that this time...I was sitting down;
- the original recipe had a much sweeter crust and no pre-baking;
- to be sure...I most often pre-bake my crust, especially when the filling is wet;
- if the filling becomes too thick to spread...reheat it a bit and add 4-5 Tablespoons of water;
- I switch the oven to top grill function for the last 5-10 minutes to give tart some color...optional;
- chestnut desserts have quickly become my familys' favorite.