They say, when you fall of a horse you have to climb right back on in order to cope with the fear of riding (and falling) again. When I saw the theme of the February WTSIM, I knew right away what I was going to make and why. You see (those who read my blog in Hungarian know this already) a couple of weeks ago I managed to get a second degree burn on my left hand while I was making apple upside down cakes. The burn came from spilling scorching hot caramel on my wrist (lesson leant: no talking on the phone while handling hot liquids). Now that the hand is functioning again and I’m happily back in the best place in the world – my kitchen, I thought it was time to climb back on that horse (and make caramel again).
This pie was among the first ones I ever learned to make and it has been among my favorites eversince. Being a fan of seriously sweet desserts I guess this comes as no surprise. The original recipe is taken from the very first baking book I got from my Mom (A Sütés Iskolája Kezdőknek és haladóknak / Backen. Die Kleine Schule), I’ve only made minor changes over the years, like turning the simple Caramel Walnut Pie into a Salted Caramel Walnut Pie by cutting back on the lemon juice and adding fleur de sel to the caramel. After all, caramel salé is the big thing nowadays, isn’t it?
For the crust:
160 g butter
130 g confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk to brush crust
300 g flour
For the caramel:
200 g sugar
1 tbs water
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
For the walnut filling:
150 ml heavy cream
200 g sugar
250 g butter
50 g honey
2 tsp fleur de sel
300 g coarsely chopped walnuts
To make the crust combine the butter, sugar, salt, egg and flour to form a dough. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for 2 hours.
In a small saucepan combine water, fresh lemon juice and sugar. Melt over medium heat to make caramel. It is ready when amber in color. Set aside.
In a medium size saucepan combine cream, sugar, butter and honey. Bring to a boil. Add reserved caramel and bring to a boil again. Add chopped walnuts and fleur de sel. Set aside.
Roll two-thirds of chilled dough about 3 mms thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a generously buttered pie dish, leaving sides to overhang about 1 cm. Fill dough with caramel-walnut filling, fold overhang onto filling.
Roll remaining dough into a disc large enough to cover the pie dish, drape it over the filling and seal sides. Brush with egg yolk, decorate using a fork. Make slits in the top crust to let the air escape.
Preheat oven to 200ºC, bake on middle rack for 30 minutes until crust is golden. Let cool completely before cutting to allow for filling to set.