You've all heard of salted caramel but how about this killer combo: salted honey! Baked into a tart form with lightly toasted macadamia nuts and a vanilla shortbread case, this is an irresistible tart just made for a festive occasion. An alternative to the pecan pie, it is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
I recently bumped into Tara, a journalist friend that I hadn't seen in over a year at an event. We fell into conversation immediately talking ten miles a minute and she mentioned how she had moved into the world of Instagram. The whole process filled her with a special kind of performance anxiety.
"What's your username? I'll follow you," I said to her.
"I'm private so you can't see my feed. My photos are dreadful," she said covering her mouth with her hand and shaking her head worryingly. She explained that she felt as though her photos weren't good enough for the world at large.
"Don't be crazy!" I told her. "I'll like every photo!" I added.
Tara was horrified at the thought and I had to explain to her that on Instagram, sarcastic likes aren't a thing. And that she didn't need to worry about her photos at all. A slice of her life would be perfectly good for those following her. She was pensive and conceded that after a period of two weeks she would let me see her feed. I told her that I'd give her some tips for Instagram photos, not that I am an expert by any means, but I didn't want it to be a subject of anxiety for her.
The shot that a lot of people like to do on Instagram is a top down shot and I must admit that it's easy and can really showcase an item well, particularly if it is flat and has details on the surface. And I thought of Tara when I was taking these photos.
A very popular dessert flavour is of course the ubiquitous salted caramel. But I know that for some making caramel means anxiety (all that hot, hot sugar!) and they often end up buying it in a jar - I know I do most of the time. But what about the easiest alternative, salted honey? We go through a lot of honey in this household and we use local raw honey by The Urban Beehive.
When I saw the honey and almond pie on Carolyn's fab blog Food Gal, I perked up immediately. She proposed it as a lighter, less intensely sticky and flavoured pecan pie. This beauty has a crumbly vanilla shortbread base and is filled with lightly toasted almonds and a moreish buttery honey filling.
The original name is "Olivia's Honey Pie" and it comes from a book called “The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook” by Chris Fischer who owns a farm of the same name in Martha's Vineyard. Olivia, a friend of Chris was inspired by a Swedish almond tart called toscapaj or Tosca Pie. Scandis are fantastic bakers so I knew this would be a good one. I decided to change the almonds to macadamias and add a touch more salt so that it would be like a salted caramel tart but with the intoxicating aroma of honey. But feel free to do it like the original which just means using almonds and half the amount of salt.
It's the kind of tart that you serve to friends and family. It is a slice that you linger over and talk over. It's the kind of sweet that you find yourself cutting slice after slice from, slender finger thin slices while you say, "Just one tiny sliver more." It is gloriously good, the crunchy nuts, fragrant honey and crisp base playing together in perfect harmony. Think Thanksgiving, Christmas or just good company.
So tell me Dear Reader, does social media give you anxiety? And are you on Instagram? Give a shoutout for your username!
Salted Honey & Macadamia Tart
Adapted from Foodgal and The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook” by Chris Fischer
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Degree of difficulty: medium
- 1 cup plain all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 60g/0.5 stick butter, melted and cooled
- 5 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup macadamias, lightly roasted and roughly chopped*
- 2/3 cup honey
- 50g/1.7ozs. butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
*To lightly roast macadamias, roast for 5 minutes in a 180C/350F oven.
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add the butter and mix. Add water to create a shortbready texture that is damp enough to press into a tin. Take a 10inch/25cm tart tin or pie dish and press into the base and sides. I use a flat bottomed glass to flatten the crumbs. Bake for 15 minutes-there is no need to weight this pastry with pastry weights or rice. Cool.
Step 2 - Place the honey, butter and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on medium heat. Allow to come to a boil and cook until it thickens slightly - about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in the cream - make sure to get the bits of hardened toffee. Add the salt in - start with 1/2 teaspoon and then add more if you want the salted flavour to be more pronounced. Then add the egg and whisk until combined.
Step 3 - Scatter the macadamias on the base of the tart shell and then pour over the honey syrup. Bake in the 160C/320F oven for 30 minutes. Serve with thick cream or ice cream.
After baking (and yes the oven door needs cleaning)