Provençal Pine Nut, Date, and Honey Tart

by eat in my kitchen

Pine Nut and Date Tart

I haven’t left the country in a while and I’m starting to feel wanderlust. A few days in an old farmhouse somewhere in the soft hills of Tuscany, lonely walks along the endless beaches of breezy Brittany, or a lazy stroll through one of the ancient villages in the romantic Provençe. I wouldn’t mind any of these tempting scenes, just far away, a different place, with different sights and smells, food, and languages to refresh my senses after too many months of being in the city.

Instead, I’m bound to my desk making the last decisions for my book, working on a few new projects, and thinking of recipes that can bring the sweet smell of traveling to my table. I’m quite obsessed with pine trees, I love their distinct, woody smell so much so that I even use a perfume that manages to capture this beautiful aroma of summer, sun, and sand in a little glass bottle. It’s the smell of hot dry air mixed with the saltiness of the sea, where slim strips of pine forest become sandy beaches and end up in the gentle waves of the Mediterranean. It’s the smell of my beloved Malta.

So, here’s my cure: a Provençal pine nut tart filled with ground almonds, chopped dates, and honey, lying on top of a crisp short crust base. It’s so fragrant, warm and sweet, a bit nutty, crunchy and soft, it’s all you need when you’re heart is afar but you’re still at home – in cold Berlin.

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart

Provençal Pine Nut, Date, and Honey Tart

Makes a 23cm / 9″ tart

For the short crust base

plain flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 110g / 1/2 cup
organic egg yolks 2

For the filling

butter, at room temperature, 100g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
brown sugar 50g / 1/4 cup
honey 50g / 2 1/2 tablespoons
freshly grated orange zest 1 teaspoon
freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon
organic eggs 2
ground almonds 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
dates, finely chopped, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
pines nuts 100g / 3 1/2 ounces

For the pastry, combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 12 minutes.

Set the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

Roll the dough out between cling film and line a 23cm / 9″ tart pan with the flat pastry. Prick with a fork and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Take the pan out of the oven and set aside.

For the filling, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, honey, orange zest, and orange juice until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between until combined. Stir in the almonds and dates and mix until combined. Scrape the filling on top of the baked pastry, even it out, and spread the pine nuts on top. Push the nuts gently into the almond-butter mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F, and bake for another 12 minutes or until the top is golden brown and firm. Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes before you take it out of the pan.

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart

 

pinenutdatehoneytart7

 

pinenutdatehoneytart10

 

Pine Nut and Date Tart