Hungarian Raisin Walnut Tartlets

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    24 to 26

    tartlets

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 18 to 22 minutes

My lovely friend Sally Longo, who, like me, had a Hungarian grandmother, gave me this family heirloom, along with this note: “My Hungarian grandmother Matilda made these tarts from a recipe that dates back to the mid-1800s. The oldest woman in our family makes them every year at Christmastime and divides the spoils among her children and grandchildren. That used to be my grandmother, then my mother, and is now me. It’s not Christmas in our family without these! My mother started freezing the crust in November and then made hundreds of the tarts the third week of December.” I adore this recipe, and Sally and I now carry on the tradition.

Ingredients

Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust

VOLUME WEIGHT
a triple recipe of dough for a 9 inch standard pie shell . 33 ounces 936 grams

Raisin Walnut Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
walnut halves cups, divided 8.8 ounces 250 grams
raisins 2 cups 10.2 ounces 288 grams
5 large eggs 1 cup (237 ml) 8.8 ounces 250 grams
sugar 2⅓ cups 16.5 ounces 467 grams
unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) 14 tablespoons (1 stick plus 6 tablespoons) 7 ounces 200 grams
milk cup (158 ml) 5.7 ounces 161 grams
pure vanilla extract teaspoons (6 ml) . .
fine sea salt a pinch . .

Special Equipment

Two 12 cup muffin pans, lightly coated with baking spray with flour | Two foil-lined baking sheets | A 4½ inch round cutter, lightweight bowl, or cardboard template | One 6 cup muffin pan (in reserve for making more tarts with any remaining filling)

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Roll the Dough

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If necessary, let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.

Divide the dough in half, about 16.5 ounces/468 grams each. Flatten each piece into a 6 inch disc. Wrap 1 disc in plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator.

undefined

On a floured pastry cloth, pastry mat, or between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll the dough into a ⅛ inch thick oval. Lift the dough from time to time, as necessary, to keep it from sticking. Before cutting the dough, make sure to lift it from the surface to allow it to shrink in so that it doesn’t retract when set in the muffin cups. Use the round cutter, or a small sharp knife and the small bowl or the template as a guide, to cut 4½ inch discs of dough, about 1.2 ounces/35 grams each. Stack the remaining dough scraps and reroll the dough to cut more discs. Add any remaining scraps to the second large disc of dough.

With your fingers, fold one inch dough disc in four places towards its center and upwards to form a letter X. Gently ease it into one of the muffin cups. Open up the folds of the dough. First press it down gently to form the bottom lining of the cup. The edge of the dough should rise slightly above the muffin cup. Pleat and press the dough against the sides of the cup. Repeat with 11 more discs to fill the muffin pan.

Cover the muffin pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. Repeat with the second large disc of dough, cutting it into 12 smaller discs and filling the second muffin pan. If enough dough remains, layer, roll it together, wrap, and refrigerate it in case there is extra filling.

Toast and Break the Walnuts

Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Turn the walnuts onto a clean dish towel. Reserve 26 of the best looking walnuts for decorating the tarts. Roll and rub the remaining nuts around in the towel to loosen the skins. Coarsely break the skinned nuts into a bowl, scraping off and discarding as much of the skins as possible. Cool the walnuts completely and then chop them into small pieces (¼ inch).

Combine the Walnuts and Raisins

Place the walnuts in a coarse-mesh strainer and sift out any small particles. Put the walnuts and raisins in a medium bowl. With your fingers, mix the walnuts and raisins to combine them evenly and to separate any clumps of raisins.

Make the Raisin Walnut Filling

Food Processor Method In a food processor, process the eggs, sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and salt for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a 4 cup measure with a spout. The mixture will look slightly curdled from flecks of butter, which will rise to the surface.

Electric Mixer Method In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, place the eggs, sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a 4 cup measure with a spout. The mixture will look slightly curdled due to flecks of butter.

Complete the Filling

Pour ½ cup/5 ounces/140 grams of the mixture over the walnuts and raisins. With a silicone spatula, stir the mixture to coat the walnuts and raisins.

Fill the Tart Shells in the Muffin Pans

Remove the dough-lined muffin pans from the refrigerator and set them on the prepared baking sheets. Spoon about 2 tablespoons/0.8 ounce/23 grams of the walnut and raisin mixture into each tart shell. Then carefully spoon tablespoons/1.2 ounces/34 grams of the liquid mixture into each tart shell. The filling will be two-thirds to three-quarters full with both mixtures, depending on the thickness of the crust. There will be enough extra filling either to make additional tarts or to make a deeper filling. The tarts can be filled as much as nearly to the top, as they will lower to slightly below the crust’s edge on cooling. Occasionally stir the liquid mixture to distribute the butter evenly. Do not allow any of the liquid to slip between the sides of the pans and the dough because it will make unmolding difficult.

Bake the Tarts

Bake for 10 minutes. For even baking, rotate the baking sheets halfway around. Continue baking for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and golden and the tart crusts are light golden brown. (An instant-read thermometer inserted near the center should read 190° to 195°F/88° to 90°C.)

While the tarts are baking, if there is any of the remaining mixtures left over, roll out and cut the remaining dough into the appropriate number of discs that then can be filled to make more tarts. Lightly coat the number of cups needed to be filled in the 6 cup muffin pan with baking spray with flour. Insert and form the tart shells and spoon in the two mixtures. Place the muffin pan in the refrigerator until ready to bake the tarts.

Cool and Unmold the Tarts

Place the muffin pans on wire racks and cool for 30 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to dislodge the tarts or, if necessary, run a small metal spatula between the sides of the muffin cups and the tarts until each is dislodged. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of one of the muffin pans and then place a folded cloth towel and a wire rack on top. Invert the muffin pan and lift it off. Reinvert the tarts onto wire racks. Repeat with the other muffin pan. Cool the tarts completely. Place a reserved walnut half on top of each tart.

Store

Airtight: room temperature, 10 days.