These nut and caramel pies are fantastically good for anyone who loves the combination of nuts and caramel. You can use whatever nuts you want here, so choose your favorites.
Makes 4 small pies, 4¼ x 2¾ inches, 6–8 servings
For the pie crust:
1 ounce hazelnuts
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
12 tablespoons (5¼ ounces) butter
For the filling:
1¾ cups mixed tree nuts, such as hazelnuts, sweet almonds, pecans, and cashews
7 tablespoons (3½ ounces) butter
⅓ cup light Muscovado sugar (firmly packed in measuring cup)
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons whipping cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt
For the Piecrust
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a processor, grind the hazelnuts to a fine meal. Mix the hazelnut meal with the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Melt the butter and blend it into the flour mixture. Use your fingers to pinch the mixture into a dough.
3. Divide three-fourths of the dough into four pieces to fill four small, rectangular pie forms. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of each pan and prick the crust all over with a fork. Cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it while you prepare the filling.
4. Blind-bake the pie shells (see page 24) on the lower rack of the oven for 22 to 23 minutes, until the crusts just start to brown on the bottom. Remove the pie shells from the oven and let them cool.
Preparing the Filling, Rolling Out the Crust, and Baking the Pie
1. To begin preparing the filling, toast the nuts on a baking sheet or in an ovenproof pan on the middle rack of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, only until they just start to change colour. (If you are using hazelnuts in their skins, lay them on a kitchen towel and rub them with the towel to remove most of the skins.) Let the nuts cool and then chop them coarsely.
2. Roll out the remaining one-fourth of the dough between two pieces of parchment paper (the dough is fragile and might otherwise fall apart). Cut the dough into strips or cut out stars or another shape.
3. To finish making the filling, mix the butter, Muscovado sugar, honey, cream, and salt in a saucepan. Stir as you bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the chopped, toasted nuts and remove the saucepan from the heat.
4. Let the nut filling cool a little (but not completely, or the nuts will then be too hard) and divide it among the four pie shells. Garnish the tops with dough strips or shapes.
5. Place the pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them on the lower rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filing is golden brown and bubbly. Remove the pies from the oven and let them cool completely. A little lightly whipped cream tops off these pies well.
From Lomelino’s Pies by Linda Lomelino, © 2017 by Linda Lomelino. Photographs by Linda Lomelino, © 2017 by Linda Lomelino. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com