As I’ve mentioned about a billion times before, I just cannot keep doing winter and am doing anything I can to think spring. For lots of people, prepping for spring would mean buying capris and registering for races. For me, it means trying out new recipes for the highest of holy days: GREEK EASTER. So, when my favorite pair of MrKef’s friends invited us over for dinner the other night, I knew exactly what I was making: a pine nut tart. This comes to us from the same rando bargain-bin cookbook that brought us the Spanakopita on Crack, so if these random not-Greek chefs said a pie full of savory nuts would pass as a dessert, I was going to give it a whirl.
Pine nuts. Kουκουνάρι. Did you know they actually come from pine cones? Fascinating. Makes me feel better about paying almost $1/oz for them. I made this pie crust (with Greek yogurt!), mixed the nuts in with some butter, eggs, sugar, and honey, then called it a day. And yes, it really was that easy.
I was pretty nervous about this one–for all I knew I was bringing a pesto pie for dessert–but it got a unanimous vote of confidence. I made it gluten and sugar free (both options below), and all the regular eaters in the crowd agreed that the sweetness was perfect. The texture was similar to a pecan pie, but a bit lighter and without the gross corn syrup (fans of Karo: I see you, but that ish is repulsive). The tart has a nutty flavor (duh), but it’s earthy and deep and more interesting than other nut pies I’ve had. Enough talk- empty out your life savings and go make this pie!
Honey Pine Nut Tart
–For the pastry
1.25 c all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup for gluten free)
1 tsp sugar (I used palm)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ c cold butter, diced
- 1 egg yolk
- 4-5 TBS Greek yogurt (I used the full fat with honey mixed in from Trader Joes)
–For the filling
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, diced
- generous 1/2 c sugar (I used palm sugar)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 c honey (if you’re feeling really fancy, spring for an infused flavor like lavender or eucalyptus)
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 c pine nuts (about 12 oz)
- pinch of salt
- confectioner’s sugar or homemade nutella, for garnish
1. To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter. Mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 45 seconds.
2. Mix the egg yolk and yogurt together in a small bowl until smooth, then add to mixer. Mix on low speed for about 15 seconds, for about 15 seconds–no need to overdo it here. You want a mixture that is shaggy, just a little wet, and will form into a ball pretty easily.
3. Carefully shape the dough into a ball with your hands and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a circle, carefully place the dough into the tart pan and trim the edges. Throw in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking.
4. Preheat oven to 350F*. Use a hole to poke holes in bottom of crust. If you have pie weights, use them, otherwise line the crust with parchment paper and use dry beans/lentils or uncooked rice to weigh the crust down. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
*If using Cup4Cup and palm sugar, I found my dough got just crispier than I would have liked–you might think about decreasing temp just slightly (like 340) and keeping a closer eye–but I haven’t tried this myself. Do so at your own peril.
5. To make the filling: In your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Put the lemon zest, juice and honey in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in intervals of 15 seconds until thin and runny–do this slowly so that you do not heat up the honey too much and cook your eggs in the next step.
6. Add honey/lemon to butter mixture, mix until just combined (about 15 seconds –again, no need to overdo it). Stir in pine nuts and salt until you have a pretty homogeonous mix. Pour into crust.
7. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until filling is browned and center is set. Let the tart cool, then garnish with nutella, confectioners sugar, or both. Serve warm or at room temp.