My dad's friend, who lives near Kelowna, has a walnut tree and some time ago I was gifted with a bag of walnuts from it. Yeah, I said "a while ago" because I let the nuts - still in their shells - sit around my kitchen for over a month. Why? Because I hate cracking nuts. Remember my hazelnuts from last year and the blister I got cracking them all? Well, I wasn't too excited about a repeat blister or sore hands. But, I didn't want to let the nuts go to waste, so I got out my cracker and set to work.
Man...About halfway through the bag - which yielded me 1 whole cup of nuts - I had a blister and a bruised-feeling palm. I'd also made a mess: the nuts were harder to crack than the hazelnuts and I guess letting them "mature" over the summer wasn't a good idea and the shells flew all over the place as I cracked them. My kitchen table & floor were both a disaster. But I had my one measly cup of nuts, enough for this Chocolate Walnut Tart recipe that came from the Feb. 2009 issue of Taste of Home, which came to me via my good friend Pierce earlier this summer. My nuts didn't need to be chopped; I had such a hard time prying them out of their shells that they were all in pieces - but my fingers were nice and soft from the oil and smelled really nice, so it wasn't all bad...
Chocolate Walnut Tart
Pastry for 9" single crust pie
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1. Press pastry into bottom & up sides of 9" fluted tart pan with removable bottom; trim off excess pastry. Sprinkle nuts & chocolate chips into crust.
2. In a bowl, combine the remaining filling ingredients & mix well. Pour into crust.
3. Bake at 350F for 25 - 30 minutes or until top is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.
OK. This was a massive FAIL. FAIL, I tell you!
First off, I made this in a 9" square pan because I wanted to freeze most of the tart and cutting it into squares would be much simpler. A 9" square pan is 81" in total area; a 9" round tart pan is 63.6" in total area. I mean, this is basic math, here...Correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, my point is the square pan is bigger than the tart pan, so the filling was spread over a larger surface area.
But my tart didn't set! At all! I baked it for the allotted time, at the correct temperature, according to my oven thermometer. I then put it in for an additional 10 minutes - twice. Then, I put it in again, only to take it out shortly thereafter because the crust was getting too brown, as was the top. Upon cooling, the filling still didn't set. The sides were OK, if a bit gooey, but OK nonetheless, but the centre was a different story altogether. I refrigerated it for several hours, and still it didn't do its thing. It was a mess.HMPH!!! I was not happy and couldn't figure out where I'd gone wrong. The pan size shouldn't have made a difference. This is basically a pecan pie filling, and I've made tons of them before, and never had this problem. The only thing I can think of was that it was the recipe itself. Perhaps 2 eggs would have sufficed, instead of 3. I don't know.
I managed to salvage the squares around the edges and freeze them for our camping trip, and the middle I picked away at when I needed a sugar craving - but still, I found this to be a waste of valuable ingredients for me, not to mention the time I put into cracking all the nuts! Grrrr!