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Pine Nut Tartelettes – A Taste Of Two South

Pine Nut Tartelettes

Being a Southerner in one continent is often nothing like being a Southerner in another and I am sure many other expats can relate to this. I never thought that things I’d find here in SC would be the same as back home but I never imagined what a wonderful bounty was awaiting me. I know I often reminisce about good times and childhood moments I had in Haute-Provence but I found that they are very similar to the ones B. experienced as a child and young adult. A lot of outdoor times, campfires with his cousins, we had barbecue pits dug right in the ground, they had oyster roasts, we would sleep on the lawn watching meteor showers and they would build a tree house and divert phone lines (yeah…that’s a story for the phone company never to find out!).

When I moved here, I starred amused at yellow mustard potato salad and fried chicken but fell in love with gumbo, okra, yellow squash, cornbread, spoonbread, and pecan pies…I quickly understood that very few people other than B’s mom would make them the "right" way. You know what I am talking about, the way that makes your memories tickle so bad you instantly close your eyes and go "mmm,mmm,mmm…" Instead of trying to duplicate the impossible taste associated with memories, I decided early on in our relationship to bring my South to his and create new flavors, new tastes, new memories. It’s not uncommon for yellow squash to find its way into my ratatouille, my "petit sale aux lentilles" (cured pork slowly cooked with lentils) to spot a couple of pieces of ham hocks, or have lima beans replace broad white beans when I make a lamb roast.

I also carry this "your South meets my South" attitude in a lot of the desserts I make. Most of the time it is because I miss using something and B. bugs me to make one of his favorites and I end up incorporating the two together. This is what happened with these pine nut tarts. I was browsing the aisles at the store and I spotted B. looking at the pastry display, particularly focused on tarts filled with pine nuts, freshly pulled out of the oven. We started talking about doughs and fillings wit the baker and she mentioned being totally in love with these "new" tartlets molds and offered to let me use a set for a while (we know each other so it was not like "eh stranger! Come use my equipment!"). The tarts made me think of pecan pies gone Italian or Provencal. B. wanted to buy one but at $3.99 a pop….I gave him the look…you know if you cook or bake a lot, the one that reads "I can make it cheaper, better, nicer…so keep moving".

Pine Nuts

B. loves pecans, I love pine nuts. He loves pecan pies, I like honey and nut pies. He wanted "the same [he] saw at the store" and I wanted peace and quiet after a long day spent separating old crazy dog and young crazy dog….I apparently failed because the old one lost a tooth while they were trying to prove their virility….Oops! But the tarts turned out exactly like I wanted, the perfect mix of both our cultures and upbringing. The pine nut tartelettes are filled with a similar filling as you would use in pecan pies, replacing the corn syrup with acacia honey, and adding half a vanilla bean, seeded just to give the whole thing a boost. Feel free to use any other honey you like, acacia and lavender happen to be among my favorites. Funny thing is that while making these, I came up with yet another variation but I have to keep it a secret for a little while longer, ehehehe… but if you volunteered to test some recipes for the book, you might find it in your email box pretty soon (makes me nervous already!!)

I am sending these to one of my favorite Italians, Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy for her Blog Anniversary Bash!
I know, I know…the recipe….

Pine Nut Tartelettes

Makes 6, 4-inch tartelettes.

For the tart shells:
1 1/2 cups (185 -190g) flour
1/2 cup (65g) powdered sugar
1 stick (113-115g) butter, cut in small pieces
1 egg yolk

In a food processor, combine the flour and sugar, add the butter and pulse a few times. Add the egg yolk and pulse a couple more times until the dough barely comes together. Dump it into a lightly floured work surface and knead until it just comes together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Roll between sheets of plastic wrap and cut out circles larger than your tart shells, fit the dough into the molds and cut out the excess. Set them on a sheet pan, line them with parchment paper rounds and fill them with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool before adding the filling.

For the pine nut and honey filling:
150g (1 cup) pine nuts
2 eggs
75g (5 Tb) butter, melted and slightly cooled
100g (1/2 cup) packed light brown sugar
100g (1/3 cup) acacia honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split open in the middle and seeds scooped out with a pairing knife
or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

In large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, honey and vanilla seeds. Add the melted butter and whisk until incorporated. Divide the pine nuts among the tart shells. Slowly pour the filling over the nuts, trying not to move them around too much. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Pine Nut Tartelettes

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Abeer September 15, 2008 um 6:59 am

ms. tartlette ur creations always look like peaces of art!! i admire ur work!

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 7:19 am

What a fabulous variation on a classic! I’ve never tried pine nuts, but you have me convinced! πŸ™‚

Dalybeth September 15, 2008 um 7:51 am

I gave my parents the same LOOK when they came home with lemon meringue tarts from Costco.

Suzanne September 15, 2008 um 8:03 am


(tarts from Costco? Blech)

Manggy September 15, 2008 um 8:15 am

Hee hee… "South meets south!" I love it!! πŸ™‚ Much as I’m sure I’ll love this beautifully deeply golden tart!

Cannelle Et Vanille September 15, 2008 um 8:28 am

I found myself doing the same when I arrived here and now we are also a "mixed food" family… a little of bit of this, a little bit of that…. half basque half american… my lentil soup with elk sausage, yellow squash in pisto… but i like what you did with these tartlets much better since i am not a big fan of pecan pie.. but these… I would die to sink my teeth into these!

Sunshinemom September 15, 2008 um 8:31 am

Beautiful as ever, Tartlette! I am wondering how you reserve the pine nuts for making anything!! I am such a hog – I finish them up before they can be used any other way!!:)

Christy September 15, 2008 um 9:18 am

Finding a balance between what you want and what your husband wants, and then making it look and taste so good: priceless.

Love that tartlet mold too!! Lol at the look!! I so totally get it!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy September 15, 2008 um 10:06 am

Speaking of southern things….in your first and last pics, is that a homemade "spork" ? πŸ™‚

adli September 15, 2008 um 10:35 am

wow these look great!! through I don’t have pine nuts here πŸ™

wouldn’t mind testing your recipes πŸ™‚

Peter M September 15, 2008 um 11:49 am

Delicate, decadent, deelicious!

LizNoVeggieGirl September 15, 2008 um 12:50 pm

Haha, love your "your South meets my South" attitude ;0)

GORGEOUS TARTELETTE!!! But should I be surprised by this fact?? No!! Your desserts always pleasantly astound me :0)

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 1:06 pm

Nice tarts! One of my pet peeves about where I live is that most of the pinenuts available are the larger, waxier Chinese version. It’s almost impossible to find Italian or French pinenuts which are smaller and nuttier.

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 1:52 pm

That looks amazing and watch now as I probably go into my kitchen and eat a spoonful of pine nuts drenched in honey…. sigh.

The Italian Dish September 15, 2008 um 1:53 pm

These are right up my alley! I’m going to try them – I love pine nuts!

Helene September 15, 2008 um 2:20 pm

Sara: a spork…now that almost made me snort my coffee…ahahaha!!

Helene September 15, 2008 um 2:20 pm

Sara: a spork…now that almost made me snort my coffee…ahahaha!!

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 2:23 pm

I think itΒ΄s great what you do with the knowledge about those two wonderful south cuisines.Edna Lewis books are among of my favorites.
Also wonderful, are your pine nut tartelettes.Beautiful and so yummi!

Clumbsy Cookie September 15, 2008 um 2:28 pm

What a fun concept, having 2 souths in the same pie! I also adore pinenuts, but they’re soooo expensive here! Sometimes I find pines and bring them home, surch for the nuts and then break and skin each one. A lot of work, messy, but so worth it! I would love your tartelette, tartelette! πŸ˜‰

MyKitchenInHalfCups September 15, 2008 um 3:03 pm

You beat me to it! I’m just about to say "how about my southwestern brioche" that sure puts two souths together! Obviously souths is not a word but now it is!

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 3:09 pm

Heehee…I give my husband that same look ALL the time! I love pinenuts and your tarts look amazing. If you ever need someone to test out your recipes, I’d be happy to volunteer!

Dewi September 15, 2008 um 3:27 pm

I couldn’t bear to take my husband to grocery store. He would stare at everything in the baking section. No, not just stare, more of "grab" them all if he can. I am sure he will grab this pine nuts tart too.

Anita September 15, 2008 um 3:44 pm

Mmm, pinenuts! I love well you can combine your French roots and your Southern US influences – you’re truly a global pastry chef!!

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 3:45 pm

The tart looks amazing, and with the pine nuts it has to be fantastic πŸ™‚ I would love to test some of your recipes out for you.

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 3:51 pm

the hubby would be crazy about this as he loves pine nuts which incidentally I just used in a shortbread crust. Gorgeous as usual, Helen!

cindy* September 15, 2008 um 4:17 pm

i love nut pies! and i love the replacement of honey for corn syrup.

Maria September 15, 2008 um 4:18 pm

I go to Costco for toilet paper, not tarts:)
I love the pine nuts on your tart. It is gorgeous!!

Vera September 15, 2008 um 4:23 pm

Helen, these tarts are irresistible!
Pine nuts and honey are so wonderful together!

Irene September 15, 2008 um 4:44 pm

Oh my gosh, "the look"!!! I know it so well (and so does my husband, lol). I’m not overly fond of pine nuts, but do you think it can be made with a combination of other flavors? Walnuts? Macadamia nuts with drizzled chocolate on top?

ambrosia ananas September 15, 2008 um 4:45 pm


Botacook September 15, 2008 um 5:26 pm

Contente de voir que tu n’aies pas Γ©tΓ© emportΓ©e par Ike! πŸ˜‰

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 5:46 pm

These look wonderful and pretty easy to make- my mom just bought a giant bag of pine nuts at Sam’s Club and I was thinking about ways to incorporate them into something sweet! I can’t wait to try them out, thank you!

montague September 15, 2008 um 6:47 pm

"south" is so different from place to place. but it always seems to me that people "in the south" have more fun. I need to move south.

Fit Chick September 15, 2008 um 7:19 pm

The pine nut tarts look so good!How did the tart pans work?

Chris September 15, 2008 um 7:24 pm

Brilliant! I am afraid I would be very social the party with these…I would take the tray, park my butt on the couch and chow down! πŸ™‚

limonana September 15, 2008 um 8:00 pm

ahh!! so scrumptious! really looks beautiful! & i like the wooden sporkish looking utensil :o)

The Short (dis)Order Cook September 15, 2008 um 8:37 pm

These look delicious. A few months ago I made a pine nut and honey ice cream and fell in love with the combination of pine nuts and honey together in one dessert. I am a huge pine nut freak. I also have a jar of fancypants Italian honey that I have yet to open and don’t know what to do with yet.

Can this dough be used in a single regular tart pan rather than in the little tartlette pans? I have the former, but not the latter?

Helene September 15, 2008 um 9:14 pm

Derrick: can I sneak on your mom’s shopping list!!

Fitchick: I loved them! Much easier to work with than silicone tartlets molds.

(Dis)Order Cook: Yes, the dough will fit a standard 9 inch pie plate. I find it easier sometimes to just pat it in the pan, dependig on how hot it is in the house and how fast it gets soft.

Zoe Francois September 15, 2008 um 9:48 pm

This is the recipe that is going to win my beloved over to pine nuts. I adore them and he wants to live without them. No longer! Your tarts are gorgeous and your writing is charming!

Anonymous September 15, 2008 um 10:05 pm

Wow – That’s brought back some fond memories, eh?

Those are fantastic-looking Tarts; the crust is phenomenal!

Leonor de Sousa Bastos September 15, 2008 um 10:38 pm

I wouldn’t have tied the cutlery…

I know that it’s beautiful but their ending must be delicious!

the redhead September 15, 2008 um 11:54 pm

I absolutely adore your site! it kills me to look at it, though, because it all looks so delicious.

Angela September 16, 2008 um 12:42 am

Oooh, I love pine nut desserts. This tartlette looks dee-lish. Thanks!

Judy September 16, 2008 um 1:21 am

Those look divine. I love pine nuts.

Eileen September 16, 2008 um 1:27 am

These sound wonderful Helen. Really, really wonderful! I love pine nuts and will be making these. I’m looking at the tarts and am wondering about the special tart pans. Are they smooth on the inside?

Ginny September 16, 2008 um 1:54 am

my mother makes a great pine nut pie! They are so good in dessert! The tartelettes look great!

Anonymous September 16, 2008 um 2:31 am

merci de m’avoir rendu visite, ce qui ma permis de decouvrir votre blog. Je vais me regaler.

Et trop drole: moi aussi je viens du Sud francais (en fait, de l’hemisphere sud!) et je vis dans le sud americain.

Very neat and tasty tartelettes! How’s that for fusion cooking? Thank you for stopping by on my blog, which allowed me to discover yours. I am REALLY going to spend some delectable moments here.

Another southern French girl in the American South.

Lisa magicsprinkles September 16, 2008 um 2:49 am

The LOOK translates worldwide but it does have an accent, y’all. Great post and fabulous photography as always.

PheMom September 16, 2008 um 3:02 am

The tart is gorgeous – I really love the fusion of both your tastes and cultures… now, about the pork and lentil recipe… (hint hint) πŸ™‚

Sara September 16, 2008 um 3:19 am

I love pine nuts in dessert – I made a pine nut brittle once that was really good.

Anonymous September 16, 2008 um 3:34 am

Helen! I have to make these pronto!! Pine nuts are my FAVORITE! It is the best flavor of gelato in my opinion!

Art of Dessert September 16, 2008 um 4:31 am

This sounds absolutely scrumptious! Not really into pecan pie but this variation sounds too good to pass up πŸ™‚

That Girl September 16, 2008 um 4:52 am

You’re making me so excited for Southern food!

Esra September 16, 2008 um 8:17 am

Oh, can I get one, please ???
These shots are so inviting…

Anonymous September 16, 2008 um 10:22 am

Loved the story, and I think the "your south meets my south" is a great attitude, especially when it comes to combining dessert ingredients πŸ™‚
These tartlets look delicious!

β€’ friX β€’ September 16, 2008 um 12:49 pm

Beautiful !

β€’ friX β€’ September 16, 2008 um 12:49 pm

Beautiful !

My Castle in Spain September 16, 2008 um 1:59 pm

oh la la ! c’est trop tentant !
I would love to try those
thanks !!

ps:hope the vintage car is still rolling…

My Castle in Spain September 16, 2008 um 2:03 pm

et en plus, vous Γͺtes de la Provence?
c’est je suis nΓ©e Γ  Aix-en-Provence et finalement comme vous, je vis au sud d’un autre pays..

Bonne journΓ©e Γ  vous !

ana dane September 16, 2008 um 3:00 pm

i didn’t think pecan pie could be improved upon, but i’m not so sure now. i can’t wait to make these.

my grandmother was from birmingham, AL, so i learned all about the amazing world of southern desserts from her when i was growing up. one of my favorites was caramel cake, which you really don’t see anywhere these days. hmm, maybe after the pinenut tarts…

Susan @ SGCC September 16, 2008 um 3:09 pm

These are perfection, Helen! Thank you so much for sending them to my party! I know that they will be the hit of the buffet.

Cookie baker Lynn September 16, 2008 um 3:20 pm

I love your attitude of taking the best of his and the best of yours and making the best there is. The tarts look yummy and now you’ve put another item on my kitchenware wishlist (darn it!). My kitchen will explode soon from too much stuff!

Anonymous September 16, 2008 um 3:31 pm

What a perfect combo. I’m not from the South, but do love pecan pie and think your idea of honey is so much better. I grew up eating pinenuts in Spain picking them right out of the cones. This looks really, really tasty. Cool tart pan, too. Wonder if I have ANY more room in my cupboard…?

Anonymous September 16, 2008 um 3:38 pm

I rarely cook with or buy pine nuts because I never know what to do with them, but these tartlettes look incredible. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a jar of pine nuts and give them another shot.

anadelicias September 16, 2008 um 6:13 pm

Pine nuts…so delicious and so expensive here!!! But it looks so fine IΒ΄m trying to do this.

Bravo, Helen!!

Deeba PAB September 16, 2008 um 11:36 pm

BEAUTIFUL Helen…stunning, gorgeous. I love the overlapping of tastes, the look, the 'anything they can do, I can do better-even at $3.99'!!! LOL…what a wonderful entry to Susan's. I'd better get there early & grab one of 'em…they are delectable!

Lori September 17, 2008 um 1:45 am

PICK ME! I would love to test out your recipes. Lori, the guinea pig, at your service!

Love the tarts. So funny cause I saw something similar in a book at the library today. It caught my eye.

Alexa September 17, 2008 um 2:09 am

Ces tartes ont l’air si delicieuses… I love the combination of South and South. I look forward to seeing the slightly different secret version as well. I am sure it will be worth the wait.

Anonymous September 17, 2008 um 2:21 am

mmmm, pine nuts! My step grandpa untroduced me to these and told me about he used to "harvest" them when he was a kid. Now, in Utah, the polygamist’s get all their gazillions of kids to harvest them and sell them for $15 a lb… yeah… and how do I know this!? I worked for a fruit stand last year whose supplier of these beauties was said polygamists, nice huh!? Let me know how I can be on the devoted volunteer list to laborously sample your goodies!

Anonymous September 17, 2008 um 2:22 am

dang it… I pressed enter instead of shift! The comment above is from me!

Helene September 17, 2008 um 2:27 am

Eileen: I am not sure by what you mean by smooth. They are non-stick and quite easy to use.

Anonymous September 17, 2008 um 4:46 am

I am sooooo, gonna make these!

Cakebrain September 17, 2008 um 5:18 am

Ooooh! I just bought a huge bag of pine nuts from Costco! Whooee! Now I have another use for them!

My Sweet & Saucy September 17, 2008 um 6:09 am

Oh, lovely twist! I love the look of the pine nuts too!

Lisa September 17, 2008 um 7:12 am

Not only am I completely addicted to your blog, but you just gave me a phenomenal use for the bag of pine nuts I’ve had in my freezer for two weeks. Mine will never look as gorgeous as yours, but I have no doubt they’ll taste amazing.

Once again, perfection in every aspect πŸ™‚

Anonymous September 17, 2008 um 11:37 am

Your desserts and posts are always so warm and charming. To think I am right around the corner-so close to sampling these delectable treats!

Shari September 17, 2008 um 12:23 pm

Another beautiful tartelette from Ms. Tartelette! Stunning and looks delicious too! I like how you married your South with his South.

NOT SO VANILLA September 17, 2008 um 1:48 pm

mmmmm… I love pine nuts. I love pine nuts mixed with ricotta or marscapone and honey. I am for sure making these tarts. I wanted to ask you about those utensils… are they the reusable bamboo ones?

Snooky doodle September 17, 2008 um 2:51 pm

these look so nice. Pity I don t like making tarts . Wish I hd one though,

Helene September 17, 2008 um 3:21 pm

Not So Vanilla: yes, the spoon and fork are the reusable bambo ones. I love them, although I have a set I keep for pictures and one I use for picnics and bbqs and change that one out more often because the bamboom stains after repeated uses.

Heather September 17, 2008 um 4:55 pm

oh, these are lovely! i love pine nuts… and the addition of honey sounds delicious!

Patricia Scarpin September 17, 2008 um 7:42 pm

Oh, Helen!These are such beauties – I’ll be heading over them when Susan’s party starts! πŸ˜‰

Jen Yu September 17, 2008 um 8:07 pm

"The Look"!? You are such a riot. I know that look and I’m not half the baker YOU are! Lucky B that he gets goodies made on demand like that. You are an artiste, love. Poor puppers lost a tooth?! That Bailey is really playing rough now, no? I want very badly to take a fork and break open that tartelette. It looks like the filling would be very gooey and yummy. Mmmmm.

Y September 17, 2008 um 11:53 pm

My boyfriend loves pecan tarts, so I’ll have to try your recipe out some time, maybe with leatherwood honey instead of acacia, because leatherwood is my favourite πŸ™‚

I often try and give him the look when we’re at the shops and he’s tempted by some pastry or other that doesn’t appear to be worth the purchase to me… although I’ll have to concede that I rarely have the time to do too much baking for him!

Mallory Elise September 18, 2008 um 12:18 am

oh so cute. you are so popular with comments!!

Gigi September 18, 2008 um 12:32 am

gorgeous tartelettes! I love how neatly the pine nuts are on top!

Elly September 18, 2008 um 2:42 am

Oh my goodness, these look so delicious! I am a bit of a pine nut addict so I am definitely saving this one!

Anonymous September 18, 2008 um 3:17 am

I made these tonight for our church home group, only I made one large pan without a crust. turned out great and everybody loved it. Thanks for the great recipes!

Kitchen M September 18, 2008 um 3:31 am

Yummy! The Pine Nut Tartelett sounds so good.:)
And I happen to have all ingredients at home!

Gabi September 19, 2008 um 4:43 pm

I love your "my south meets your South" interpretation! Lovely Pine nut tarts! Nice to "see" you at the party πŸ™‚

Erin September 20, 2008 um 7:05 pm

I love how your backgrounds come together in this dessert. It sounds fantastic! I adore pine nuts, and I have cute little tart pans that I’m always looking for an excuse to use πŸ™‚

Susan from Food Blogga September 20, 2008 um 10:53 pm

Pine nuts and honey are so beautiful together. This is a stunning dessert, Helen.

Anonymous September 23, 2008 um 4:41 pm

tarts filled with pine nuts! Wow! I would never have thought of that in a million years but I love the idea. I really enjoy the oily, creamy texture of pine nuts and I can see how this would work really well.

Ashley September 26, 2008 um 10:19 pm

This is so fantastic. I just bought a ton of pine nuts and I can’t use them all in basil and pasta. I can’t wait to try this out! Looks delicious.

Sarah Jane September 27, 2008 um 1:13 am

These photos are making my mouth waterfall.

Anonymous September 29, 2008 um 9:37 pm

une petite merveille en bouche !

Anonymous December 15, 2008 um 12:21 am

these look so delicious I think about doing them for christmas dessert. can you tell me if you take the shells out of the tart-pans before filling and baking again or if you leave them in the pan and get them out afterwards?
thanks a lot for this wonderful recipe.
best robert

Helene December 15, 2008 um 5:42 am

Robert: I usually take them out before adding the filling as I find it easier to handle if any of the sticky filling gets in between the tart dough and the mold. It can get quite "interesting" to lift them off the pan if it happens.

Anna January 8, 2010 um 4:16 pm

I have a quick question for you. I dont have food processor for making the tart shell. However, I do have the pastry I used that. Is the dough ( before refrigerate) very crumble? Mine was hard to come together….so I'm just not sure I did something wrong or not. I hope you can help me!

PS. Love your blog! πŸ™‚

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