Did you know that most of the commercial pine nuts are produced in Korea, China, Pakistan and the Himalayan region? I used to think Canada and the US were major producers, with so many pine trees there. Then I went to Shanghai and found pine nuts were so much cheaper there because China is a major producer. The Chinese eat pine nuts as a snack/tidbits as they do other nuts and seeds and so most pine nuts in China are sold with their shells on.
The best way to use pine nuts, to me, is in pesto sauces. I'm not much of a tart-lover, and I have never tried pine nuts in a sweet recipe but this tart turned out good, although I kept thinking of the calories I'm consuming. There's butter, loads of pine nuts (which means oil) and as if that's not enough, I ate it with fresh cream.
I have combined ingredients from different pine nut tart recipes, taking away some butter here and some sugar there, adding honey but taking away lemon juice that would otherwise compete the flavor of the nuts but keeping some lemon zest, just to perk up the tart. To be honest, I still prefer pine nuts in pesto sauce, and I am going to make Korean pine nuts congee next...
Pine Nut Tart
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 T semi-hard butter
2 T icing sugar
1 egg, beaten
- Put flour into a large bowl and add the sugar. Rub in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and mix with a fork quickly, then knead a couple of times till it all comes together. Do not overknead.
- Pat the pastry onto a greased, 9"/23 cm loose-bottom tart pan, all the way up to the sides. Put into fridge to chill while you heat up the oven to 160 C.
- Take pastry pan out and put a couple of stainless steel spoons/forks on it and pop it into the oven to bake blind, for 10 minutes. Take out, set aside.
7 T semi-soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey, heated slightly so it's runny
1/4 cup fine sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cup pine nuts
pinch of salt
3 T fruit jam
1. Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs one by one, add in the zest and honey and lastly the pine nuts.
2. Spread a layer of jam on the bottom of the pastry shell and pour the pine nuts mixture into the pastry shell and bake 40 to 45 minutes until the middle of the tart is firm. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped dairy cream.