Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pineapple and Macadamia Nut Tart

The weather has been quite dreary here.  It has been a foggy and rainy week, so I have tried to instill a little cheery sunshine by making this tropical tart.  However, that will not keep me from looking forward to St Patricks day and Easter - they mark the change in the weather and I am ready for it.

This tart features a filling made up of buttery macadamias.  On top, are juicy slices of pineapple laced with a rum honey mixture.  As it bakes, the juices cook down into the filling to create a delicious blend of flavor.  The rum/honey topping is added during part of the baking process.  This insures that just the right amount of flavor remains. Then there is the added bonus of the nutty crust.  So good that I am considering doubling it for next time.

The major part of the prep work is the pineapple.  However, the good factor is that pineapples yield a lot of fruit and there are no seeds or pits to deal with.

Pineapple and Macadamia Nut Tart
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Issue 115

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup or one stick cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup toasted macadamias
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 tbs rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, room temp
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tbs plus 1 1/2 tsp flour
3/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Ingredients/ topping
1 medium pineapple (about 3 1/2 lbs) peeled, cored, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
3 tbs mild honey
2 tbs rum
1 tbs flour

Start making the crust by placing the nuts and sugar in a food processor.  Then pulse in one second intervals, about 15 times. That number helps to insure that some crunch remains in the texture.  Add the flour and and salt. Process until the dry flour is incorporated.  Put the butter cubes into the mix and pulse again until the mixture starts clumping, about 8 intervals. Pour the egg over the top and pulse again.  The last session of pulsing will take about 5-6 one second intervals. The key is to have it all blended without over mixing.

Take a large piece of plastic wrap and lay on a flat surface.  Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to the plastic wrap.  Flatten the dough in a disc or rectangle, depending on the shape of your pan. Enclose the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.  The dough must chill a minimum of 2 hours, but you can also chill it overnight.

After the chilling time is complete, transfer dough from refrigerator to tart pan.  Press dough out with your fingers evenly, into the bottom only.  Do not press up the sides.  Once formed, freeze crust for 20 minutes. Also, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Start by grinding the macadamia nuts in a food processor until they have a coarse consistency.  Add the remaining ingredients for the filling and blend with processor for about 2 minutes.  The mixture should now be spreadable.

After the chilling time is complete, remove crust from freezer.  Empty filling into prepared crust.  Smooth out evenly onto the crust, taking care to leave 1/4 inch border along the edges.

Now, it is time to top the tart. Sprinkle 1 tbs of flour over the surface of the filling.  Then begin the process of the sliced pineapple overlay.  The first point is to only cover the filling with the fruit, which means that the original 1/4 inch border of crust remains. Starting from the outside going in, lay the pineapple slices in a concentric circle or rectangle, depending on the pan used.  It is best to put the end where the core was cut from facing inward and the other fanning outward.  Overlap the second row 1/2 inch on top of  first row and continue until the filling is completely covered.  Feel free to cut the pineapple to fit, which may be required as you get more towards the center.  You may end up with extra pineapple, but fresh fruit never lasts long in my house.

Place the tart in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  As it cooks, the rum topping can be made.  Place the rum and honey in a small saucepan and stir.  Cook over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, then remove.  After the tart has baked for 20 minutes, rotate it and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.  If you notice the crust browning too much, cover with foil.

Once the 2nd baking interval is completed, remove tart and brush with half of the honey/rum sauce.  Place back in oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes.   Then transfer from oven to cooling rack.  Brush with remaining sauce and let cool completely before serving.
                                         **LAST YEAR: Mochaccino Cupcakes**