We attended our first social event of the holiday season earlier this week, a lovely dinner party. The house was beautifully decorated, the table setting festive and the conversation flowed (the wine, too, which may have contributed to the former). Each of the guests brought a contribution to the evening, with our hosts providing an elegant and delicious main course (an early Christmas gift for me – someone else made dinner!).
My contribution was a Double Walnut and Chocolate Tarte from my treasured Canadian Living Christmas Book. Over the years, a lot of of my family’s Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes and traditions have come from this book. These pages have inspired a lot of wonderful memories for my children and for me. For the most part, these are recipes I make only at the holidays, as a way of keeping them special and signalling that holiday time is here.
This tarte is rich and decadent, best served in narrow wedges. Don’t be intimidated by the pastry crust; it’s fairly straightforward to make and more forgiving than a traditional pie crust. With the chocolate drizzle on top, it looks elegant. I forgot* to take a picture of it before it was cut, but I think you can tell from the photos that it makes a handsome addition to the holiday dessert table.
Another guest brought the lemon shortbread cookies that you also see on the plate. These were divine (I’m a big lemon fan) and provided a perfect contrast to the sweet and nutty richness of the tarte. I think I’ll have to ask for that recipe and feature it here sometime, too!
Here’s to holiday baking! And better yet, to sharing the fruits of your labour with family and friends around a festive table.
Double Walnut and Chocolate Tarte
From The Canadian Living Christmas Book, 1993
- 1-1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup ground walnuts
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp water
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla or coffee liqueur (I’ve always used vanilla)
- 3 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Drizzle For the Top
- 2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted (I find 1 oz is enough)