This recipe comes from the hills above Nice where bees have fields of lavender and rosemary for making honey, cows have good pasture, and walnut trees are luxuriant. It is a superb, richly flavored dessert. Make sure when you prepare it that you have crisp walnuts (always keep them in the freezer so that they remain fresh) and flavorful honey. It must be made 3 to 4 hours before it is served to allow the taste to mature. Cut the pie in small slices, since it is quite rich. It will keep well.
Put the flour on a counter and make a well in the center. Add the butter, peanut oil or lard, salt, and sugar. Blend with your fingers for 3 minutes, then add the cold water and knead briskly, pushing the dough down and then away from you with the heel of your hand, for a few minutes, or until all the water is incorporated. When the dough is smooth, form a ball and wrap it with plastic wrap or a towel. Chill it for 1 hour.
Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat it over a low flame for a few minutes. When the syrup turns light brown, immediately remove from heat (it can turn into caramel). Add the walnuts and the butter to the pan and stir. Add the milk and put the pan back on the stove. Simmer over a low flame for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the honey and remove from heat. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll the dough on a floured surface into two 11-inch circles. Place one of the circles in a well-buttered 10-inch pie pan and pour in the filling. Place the other circle of dough on top and seal the edges. Press and pinch the two layers together. With a thin knife, trim the crust and cut a few slits on top to allow the steam to escape.
Place in the center rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for several hours. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cut into thin slices.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.