pineapple and macadamia nut tart

I was this close to making a chocolate something-or-another as an end to our porchetta meal.  It would have been a fatal mistake.  Just one slice of that succulent pork belly can send even the greediest of gluttons running for a pair of stretchy pants.  Our stomachs and arteries thanked us (well, really, just me) when we sat down to something fruity, fresh, and bursting with sunshine.

I don't remember the last time I sought out a bag of macadamia nuts.  I feel like they've gotten a little lost in the shuffle as far as nuts go, since the almond and the walnut get so much attention for their healthy attributes.  I have no idea if macadamias are as "superfoody" as those other nuts - I'm guessing no - but what I can tell you is that after tasting this dessert, I really couldn't care less.  They impart their butteriness into both the crust and the filling of these tarts, and the honey-and-rum-coated pineapple slices just sweeten the deal. 

I was gifted this blowtorch in December and it's taken me two months to actually use it in an appropriate way.  Until this point, I had played with it longingly, every once in a while feeling its weight in my hand, pushing the button to produce that beautifully blue flame, and recklessly torching pieces of paper towel.  It's not even a necessary step for this recipe, but I saw an opportunity and I took it.

For those who don't know me, I'm severely allergic to all alcohol unless it's cooked out (yes, I feel sorry for myself too).  Even so, I flirted with death by topping these tarts with a dollop of Malibu-spiked whipped cream and some toasted coconut flakes.  Luckily for all of you, I lived to tell the tale of this tart's deliciousness - a crumbly shortbread-like crust beneath a smooth toasty nut filling and a lightly caramelized layer of bright tropical fruit.  You're welcome.

pineapple and macadamia nut tart recipe from Fine Cooking
makes one 9-inch tart 
(I halved the recipe to make two  -inch tarts.  I still had a little bit of crust dough left over, which I rolled into a cylinder, froze, sliced, and baked - delicious macadamia nut cookies.)

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten 

3/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon light or dark rum (I used Malibu Rum and loved the coconut flavor it added)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 medium fresh pineapple (about 3-1/2 lb.), peeled, cut lengthwise into quarters, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons mild honey, such as clover
2 tablespoons light or dark rum 

CrustIn a food processor, pulse the nuts and sugar until finely chopped, 12 to 15 one-second pulses. Be careful not to overprocess; you want to keep some of the crunchy nut texture. Add the flour and 1/4 tsp. salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse just until the dough resembles coarse sand and starts to gather into clumps, about 8 one-second pulses. Drizzle the egg evenly over the mixture and pulse just until blended in, 5 to 6 one-second pulses. Do not overmix.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a disk (it will be very sticky). Wrap it tightly and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Using your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom (not the sides) of a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. If the dough sticks to your fingers, dip them in water. Freeze the crust for 20 minutes.

FillingIn a food processor, grind the macadamia nuts until they resemble coarse sand. Add the remaining filling ingredients and process until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

AssemblyPosition a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Using a small offset spatula, spread the filling over the bottom of the tart shell, leaving a 1/4-inch border, and then sprinkle with the flour. Working from the outside in and leaving a 1/4-inch border, arrange the pineapple tightly in overlapping concentric circles over the filling. (Each circle should overlap the previous circle by 1/2 inch.) Use larger pieces of pineapple for the outer circles and smaller pieces as you work your way toward the center. If necessary, trim pieces to fit. You may not need all of the pineapple, but it’s better to use more rather than less, since it will shrink as it bakes.

Bake the tart, rotating the pan after 20 minutes, until the crust is light golden-brown, 30 to 35 minutes. If the edges brown too quickly, cover them with foil.
Meanwhile, combine the honey and rum in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until just slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Brush half of the honey syrup over the pineapple topping, taking care not to move the pineapple slices. Continue to bake the tart until the crust is deep golden-brown, 5 to 15 minutes more.  

Transfer the tart to a rack and brush a bit more syrup on the top (you may not use it all). If you have a blowtorch, fire up that baby and go to town!  It’s ok if the tart looks liquidy in the center; it will thicken and firm up as it cools. Let cool completely and serve.

Strong suggestion: top with rum-spiked whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes.  It's like a trip to the islands. 


Anonymous said...

i heard that some people might think that some form of coffee could be added to this as well. what are your thoughts blogger extraordinaire?