Coffee, ground walnuts, candied walnuts and a layer of booze-soaked prunes combine to make James Martin’s dessert impossible to resist.
Equipment and preparation: You will need 6 x 7.5cm/3in deep-sided tart tins.
For the tart, preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
Roll out the sweet shortcrust pastry on a floured work surface lightly dusted with flour to a 3mm/⅛in thickness.
Carefully line six x 7.5cm/3in deep-sided tart tins with the pastry, pressing the pastry into the edges of the tin. Leave 2.5cm/1in of pastry overhanging the edge. Leave the lined tins to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Line the pastry cases with greaseproof paper and then fill with baking beans or rice. Place the tart tins onto two large baking trays and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans or rice, then return the tart cases to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, or until they are pale golden-brown.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Trim the excess pastry with a sharp knife.
Meanwhile, blend the prunes with a little of the Armagnac in a food processor to make a thick paste.
For the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until all of the eggs have been fully incorporated into the mixture.
Fold in the coffee and ground walnuts until well combined.
When the pastry case has cooled, spread the puréed prunes across the bottom of the sweet shortcrust pastry case. Top with the walnut mixture and smooth to the edges.
Return the tart to the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the filling has risen and is cooked through and the surface is pale golden-brown. (The filling is cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.)
Meanwhile, for the candied walnuts, place the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Add the walnuts and cook for a couple of minutes, or until just tender.
Drain and place onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper.
Heat 2.5cm/1in of vegetable oil in a saucepan or sauté pan until just shimmering. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Carefully add the candied walnuts to the oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until just golden-brown.
Lift out and drain on a fresh sheet of greaseproof paper. Leave until cool.
To serve, place each tart in the centre of a small plate and top with a few candied walnuts. Finish with a quenelle of clotted cream.
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