Taking a different approach, I used dry roasted nuts and seeds that are pretty much always in season due to their long shelf life. Instead of a custard I went with an impeccable caramel sauce that, once cooled, hardens just enough to hold the whole thing together and impart a sweetness that deliciously encases the seeds and nuts. Topping the whole thing off with a sprinkle of sea salt really brings everything together in the most perfect way.
This is a tart for any and all occasions, but it’s really best suited for evening tea by a cozy fire, with good friends. The maple notes would pair quite nicely with a cup of Heritage Blend maple Scottish breakfast tea, although if you were doing decaf the No Obligations Decaf or Oregon Breakfast Decaf would serve you well.
Maple Mixed Nut and Seed Tarts
- 1 pre-made pie crust
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups mixed unsalted nuts (pecan, walnut, sliced almonds, etc.)
- 2 cups unsalted mixed roasted seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, squash, etc.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the pie crust until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. Press it into one large tart pan or five 4-inch tart pans and set aside.
In a thick-bottomed sauce pan combine the maple syrup, sugar, heavy cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Stir while cooking until the liquid becomes thick and dark. It should coat the back of a spoon easily, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and stir in the mixed nuts and seeds until well coated.
Drop the filling into the prepared tins and place them on a baking sheet before putting them in the oven to bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The crust and filling will brown slightly and the caramel mixture will bubble at the sides when done.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
All photos courtesy of the author.