Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Maple Vanilla Macadamia Nut Tart

for the crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

for the filling
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours.

Prepare a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.

Roll out your pie dough to fit the tart pan and freeze at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 375F.

To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray on one side and lay into the tart shell, greased side down. Place in pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes with the pie weights and then remove them and bake an additional 10 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. If any places have cracked, repair with the extra dough. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.

Reduce oven temperature to 325F.

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup and butter until melted. Remove from the heat and beat in the vanilla extract and ground almonds, followed by the beaten eggs. Add half the macadamia nuts and pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell.

Sprinkle on the remaining macadamia nuts and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the filling forms a crust but remains soft underneath. Let cool for 20-30 minutes in the tart pan before removing to a plate.

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