Since we eat mostly from our garden (and the farmers market), we tend to cook simple recipes that highlight the main ingredient. And, to us, that makes sense. If we just spent “x” days/weeks/months growing something, we want to actually see and taste it. But we do like “stretch our legs” every once in a while and engage in some real (read: labor intensive) cooking. And recently we did just that. And it was fun. And this dessert was the star.
So why make a Macadamia Nut Tart? Our friend Scott had a birthday and we had him and Sydney, his awesome wife, over for dinner. Scott is a big fan of the Hali’imaile General Store restaurant in Maui (he even gave us their cookbook, thanks!) and Carolyn and I cooked a dinner from, or at least inspired by, their recipes. We started with a light seafood salad served on nori squares and a picked ginger cocktail sauce and Thai Tuna Tartare with a small salad of shiso and mizuna. Dinner was sesame crusted Opah with coconut rice and curried cabbage (recipe soon). Cocktails started with the Tahitian Postcard, then Zombies and finished with the Otto’s Grotto (recipe soon). That was all good fun, but Scott is a self-described “dessertarian” and Carolyn found this recipe to make sure we had an over-the top-dessert to close out the evening. And a chocolate crust, ringed with macadamia nuts, then filled with macadamia filling and topped with caramelized bananas seemed to fit the bill.
The inspiration for the dessert comes from the Hali’imaile General Store, but Carolyn’s actual recipe is an adaptation of a tart from King Arthur Flour. We like their recipes, as they tend to adapt restaurant-style baking to home kitchens. And in this case, the recipe did not disappoint. While we would never call this “simple” baking, it is less work than you might think and the steps are well-defined. If you like to bake (or have a rainy afternoon to burn) making this recipe is time well-spent. And the tart will certainly taste, and look, great.
The recipe has a few discreet steps. Make a chocolate crust, blind-bake the crust, create a macadamia filling, assemble, bake and then layer on and broil (or torch) the bananas and sugar. Each step is not hard, they just need be done in sequence, and you need to take your time. The only tricky step is broiling or torching the sugar into a crust on top of the bananas- it requires close attention, but is worth the effort. This tart is not an “anytime” dessert, but it is great for special occasions.
And this is a very tasty tart. The chocolate crust has deep flavor, the filling is much lighter than you would expect, but features sweet and nutty flavors. The whole macadamia nuts add crunch and the caramelized bananas add lovely flavor and texture. Lots of flavor but, remarkably, not too heavy. A fun dessert to both make and eat. And a special evening with friends. Sometimes it’s good to stretch your culinary legs….
Macadamia Nut Tart:
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Baking Sheet)
Notes Before You Start:
- King Arthur Flour notes that you can make a Gluten-Free version of this recipe by subbing 1 cup of King Arthur gluten-free flour in the crust for the wheat flour, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for the flour in the filling.
What You Get: A beautiful and tasty dessert with a tropical theme. Happy friends.
What You Need: A 9” round tart pan and a food processor. Pie weights for blind-baking crust are useful. A brulee torch is fun, but not required.
How Long? At least 2 hours with an hour of active time. Some elements of the dish can be made ahead. Special occasion dish.
(Makes 1 large tart)
- 1 cup (4 and 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (3/4 oz.) Dutch-process cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1 oz.) confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons (1 and 1/2 oz.) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (5 and 1/5 oz) unsalted macadamia nuts
- 1/3 cup (2 and 1.4 oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon rum (or substitute cane syrup or brown sugar syrup)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish / Topping:
- 1 cup whole macadamia nuts (for ringing the outside of the tart- optional but very pretty)
- 2 large or 3 medium bananas
- 1/2 cup (3 and 1/2 oz.) Demerara or granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and confectioners sugar. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers. The butter should be in thumbnail-sized chunks.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg, sour cream and vanilla. Then add to the flour/butter mixture and mix until the dough just comes together.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and shape into a round disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place the macadamia nuts and sugar into your food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and process until totally smooth. Set aside.
Baking the Tart:
- Place rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll-out the chilled chocolate dough and move it to your 9″ tart pan. Leave the dough thicker on the outer edges so you can press-in the whole macadamia nuts around the outside. Press the whole nuts (if using) into the outer edge of the dough all around the tart.
- Prick the dough all over with a fork, then line with foil and baking/pie weights and bake for 15 minutes. You may want to add a foil collar (or use a pie shield, if you have one) over the nuts to assure they don’t over-brown.
- Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the center of the crust does not appear wet. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
- Pour the macadamia filling into the baked crust and spread evenly with a spatula. Place the tart on a baking sheet and then bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the filling sets in the center. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
Finishing the Tart:
- Within 3 hours of serving, preheat your oven’s broiler (or have your brulee torch ready).
- Slice the bananas into 1/4 inch think rounds. Place the rounds on the tart starting on the outside edge, and in overlapping circles, and move towards the center of the tart. When covered by the bananas, evenly spread the sugar over the bananas (be generous with the sugar, you need a lot to form a nice, crisp crust).
- Place the tart under the broiler and watch to see as the sugar melts and begins to caramelize. Once the sugar starts to brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool, so the sugar can set, before slicing. If using a torch, slowly caramelize the sugar on the tart and allow to cool before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
- Hawaiian Waffles with Macadamia Nuts (belgianwafles.wordpress.com)
- coconut-macadamia chocolate chip cookies (tutti-dolci.com)
- Recipe: Chocolate Brownie Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Macadamia Nuts (domestocrat.wordpress.com)