Guest Post: Engadiner Nut Tart

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As a food lover, I am always curious what is it like to be a chef? What is it like to work in a professional kitchen? To tell you a secret, I always dream to have professional cooker, you know those really professional looking ones like this and this…!  A really big and well equipped kitchen like one of those that you can see in the magazines will suit me well! Hmmmm, I am still waiting for the day to win a lottery!

Right, day dreaming aside. Today, I have something really interesting to share with you guys! I would like to introduce Chris, the man behind SugarHeadBlog. He is the Executive Pastry Chef at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. I have to say that I am thrilled to have an executive pastry chef as my guest. Chris told me that he has worked at Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur before. So, he knows a bit of Malaysian cuisine. I really want to thank Chris for his time. Let’s see what Chris has to share with us today! 🙂

I was much honored to receive an invitation from Leemei of My Cooking Hut to be a guest writer on her blog. Although occupying a full time job and running my own SugarHeadBlog, I gave this opportunity prime time of the highest priority.

Leemei was asking me to talk about my work as an Executive Pastry Chef. That is a difficult one since it is more like a life style than a job. Every other aspect of life is build around this, leaving very little time for anything else. I am taking care of three hotels at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, forty restaurants and bars! I have been working in many cities around the world like Oslo, Sydney, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and Dubai. All in all 14 countries and every city had its own challenge.

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Working in large kitchen has its advantage; one has all the equipment there is under the sun, all the ingredients from around the world, literally a phone call away. The drawback is the quantity and the attention to the detail, the individualism.

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SugarHeadBlog was born due to my life long passion in taking pictures and combining this with my life style, being a Chef! Even though I have many cameras, different formats I tend to use my Panasonic Lumix for restaurant reviews and my Nikon D200 for food shots at home. Most of the shots are done with day light but at times I require shooting with flash, therefore using my Elinchrom mono blocks and Soft boxes.

As an Executive Pastry Chef I am every minute connected to food, sampled perhaps most delicious dishes from around the world and have many favorite foods. I therefore chose a dessert from my home country, Switzerland which is normally presented as a tart. Engadiner Nut Tart or in Romantsch; “Tuorta da nusch”.

I have changed slightly adjusted the basic ingredients and added some to transform this tart into a dessert to be served in a glass. As in all dishes and in particular to this; the basic ingredients need to be of the best quality. Chinese Walnuts is a big no-no; they look great but taste horrible. For the Brandy I used a Riesling, Chardonnay und Cabernet-Sauvignon Grappa, four times distilled from Austria.

Since I live and work in the Middle East I used Katayef do decorate this dessert. Nowadays this ingredient is easily available in the frozen section of super markets and is very versatile for home cooking!

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Engadiner Nut Tart (Tuorta Da Nusch)

Yield:

Ingredients:

For the nut filling:
300g caster sugar
20g honey
10g lemon juice
60g unsalted butter
100g double cream
45g grappa
2g fluer de sel
3g lemon zest
200g walnut kernel

For the crumble:
150g flour
80g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
10g baking powder
2g vanilla sugar
5g lemon zest
30g egg yolk

For the katayef décor:
100g Katayef, shredded dough
10g butter
20g caster sugar
20g icing sugar for dusting

Method:

1. To make the nut filling: cook the sugar with honey and lemon juice to a dark brown caramel. Carefully add the soft butter, bring to a simmer. Add the walnut kernel, fleur de sel with the Grappa and last the Lemon zest. Bring all ingredients to a boil and pour into a dish to cool completely.

2. To make the crumble: sift the flour with baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add vanilla and castor sugar and combine with butter. Add the lemon zest and egg yolk and rub to a crumble. Place on baking tray lined with was paper and bake at pre-heated oven of 180°Celsius for 16 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. To make katayef décor: form with some of the shredded dough a round nest and place into buttered muffin moulds. Tab with a water glass flat and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar and bake covered at 180°Celsius for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool before dusting with icing sugar.

4. To assemble: spoon some of the crumble on the bottom of the glass followed by the nut filling. Cover with the remaining crumble and decorate with a Katayef disk as décor.