Espresso-Walnut Tartlets

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4 servings
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Ingredients (12)

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 11 whole graham crackers (to yield about 1 1/3 cups crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/4 cups walnuts pieces
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • Pinch of salt

Summary

Espresso powder is one of my favorite flavor boosters. It instantly enlivens the flavor of so many ingredients, including the rich nut filling of these little tarts. I like the way these individual tarts look, but if you prefer, you can make one 8-inch tart rather than four 4-inch tarts. A little scoop of ice cream is essential—I like coffee best, but chocolate and vanilla are yummy, too.

Instructions

  1. 1To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F. Process the graham crackers into fine crumbs in a food processor, then add the melted butter, granulated sugar, and salt and process until all the crumbs are moistened. Press evenly into the bottoms of four 4-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms, or one 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and all the way up the side of the pan(s), packing it tightly with your fingertips so it is even and compacted. Bake until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (The crusts can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month.)
  2. 2To make filling, combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium-size heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in the cream, walnuts, espresso powder, and salt and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer (not a boil), stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.
  3. 3Scrape the hot filling into the prepared tartlet shells. Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely set, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day, before serving.

Excerpted from Icebox Desserts, by Lauren Chattman. © 2005, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.

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