Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gateau aux Noix

this is a photo of tonight's gateau!
So, I made dessert tonight. The very famous Microdot version of the Gateau au Noix de Thenon.
Actually this is inspired by the Gateau aux Noix we used to be able to buy at the Boulangerie at the top of the hill in Thenon. The Dordogne is known for it's basic cuisine. The best dishes are country fare, there is a refined cuisine, but the real cooking is pretty plain and hearty. The most well known dish of the Dordogne is Confit de Canard, which is a way of preserving duck for the winter, invented by poor people before refrigeration. It just happens to be delicious!
The major crop of this region is walnuts and they make there way into salads, main dishes and desserts.
There are many versions of Gateau aux Noix, but this is pretty easy to make and really good!
You need 250 grams of walnuts reduced to powder in a food processor.
Make a pie pastry with 250 grams of flour.
                                     125 grams of butter
                                     60 grams of powdered sugar
                                     30 grams of the powdered nuts
                                       1 egg yolk.
Mix the ingredients together and form into a ball, then refrigerate the ball for about an hour.
I just press the pastry dough into a tart pan, preferably one with a base and separate ring.
Then I pre bake the dough for 10 minutes at 190 centigrade (that's a hot oven...around 375 f)
While the pastry is pre baking, make the filling:
       Use the remaining  220 grams of powdered nuts
                                       50 grams of corn starch
                                     200 grams of sugar
                                     200 grams of thick cream (creme fraiche...but you can use thick yoghurt!)
Mix this together and then fill the precooked pastry. Then pop it back in the oven...same temperature, I turn it down a bit for a bout a half hour or so. The filling will get nice and brown, be careful not to let the pastry edges get too dark!
The let it cool, I finish it the way the bakery in Thenon did...I use 100 grams of dark chocolate and 30 grams of butter melted and smoothed over the top and then decorate it with a few perfect fresh walnut halves...Voila! Bon apetite, Bien sur! 

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