The other day we were making up a Lemon Sabayon Tart, using Meyer lemons. Normally, we just use our standard Pâte Sucrée recipe. It’s a great tart crust, not too sweet, easy to roll and shape, bakes up crisp, and stands up to almost any filling. We think of it as our go-to recipe for tarts. This time, we changed it just a bit to turn it into a walnut crust that we thought would go well with a lemon filling. It’s a really simple change, one that’s almost not worth posting, but we didn’t have anything else for today, so up it goes.
All we did was replace the almond meal in the Pâte Sucrée recipe with what we’ll call walnut meal. Walnut meal is really easy to make. We knew we’d need 47 grams of some sort of nut flour, which is easy enough to measure into a food processor for grinding (if we didn’t have a scale, we’d put more nuts than we’d need in the processor and measure afterwards). We also knew that if you just grind nuts in a food processor they can turn into nut butter, which we don’t want, so we added the correct amount of powdered sugar (46 g) to the nuts and ground away. Once ground, we just continued with the recipe as written.
The key is mixing the nuts with another dry ingredient. In this case, the sugar absorbs some of the nut oils while the processor runs, and prevents it from turning into an oily paste. This technique will also work with flour or granulated sugar and pretty much any kind of nut. Just choose what to add to the nuts, based on your recipe.
We use this trick when we need some nut meal but don’t have any in the house, and, while you might find that the store-bought kind is easier to deal with, it’s probably more expensive and definitely not as fresh as doing it yourself.