Sweet Tarts

Sweet cravings and stash of walnuts and pecans lead to sticky sweet tarts.

I originally planned to make pecan pie, which evolved to caramel pecan pie, to caramel pecan turnovers or empanaditas, to caramel pecan and walnut tarts.

The tart shells were a go-to all butter pastry crust I tried out, years ago, from Gourmet magazine. It was my first foray into pie-making and I did not know what I was doing. Good thing, Gourmet had a how-to video on making the crust. Since then, this dough has been my go-to pastry crust.  The dough was made first, refrigerated, and later while the caramel was cooling, it was rolled out and baked in a mini-muffin pan.

The caramel in the tarts is more like a Mexican cajeta or a dulce de leche. Alton Brown, makes an easy to follow and simple, though time consuming dulce de leche, which I would have tried making had the caramel been pre-planned. As this was all off-the-cuff baking, this cheat’s caramel is made from a can of condensed milk. David Lebovitz has his take on dulce de leche using canned condensed milk, but is still too time intensive. Being impatient, placed the contents in a sauce pan, and judiciously stirred and stirred until the milk turned to a delicious dark brown color. Butter and milk was added to thin out the caramel and for shine. Toasted and chopped walnuts and pecans were stirred in, and the whole thing was left to cool.

All in all, a good way to satisfy a sweet craving with a sticky sweet nutty caramel in a buttery and flaky shell.

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