If you want to "wow" your guests, this is one dessert that will do it. Of all the recipes in this menu, this is probably the most involved, but it is definitely worth it. Sweet, wonderful and better than pecan pie!
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 small lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
16 plain walnut halves
1. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons water, vanilla, lemon zest and egg. Stir in the flour just until it is completely moistened. The dough should not be smooth. Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces. Roll the smaller piece between 2 pieces of wax paper to a circle about 10 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Without removing the wax paper, slide the circle onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate. Press the remaining dough evenly across the bottom of and up the sides of a 9-1/2 -inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pinching it to extend 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Make the filling: Combine the sugar, honey, corn syrup and salt in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture is liquefied and begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush or wad of paper towel. Cover and continue to cook about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the sugar crystals from the spoon before using it again later. Uncover the pot and wash the sides again. Cook, uncovered, without stirring until the mixture reaches 305F on a candy thermometer.
3. In a separate saucepan, heat the cream to a simmer. Turn off the heat and set aside.
4. When the sugar mixture reaches 350F, remove from heat. Immediately stir in butter chunks. Gradually stir in hot cream. Return candy mixture to heat and allow it to boil. Stir until mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reaches 246F. When done, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and walnuts.
5. Position a rack in the lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425F.
6. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Pour in the warm filling and spread it evenly. Wait 1 or 2 minutes for the pastry to soften so you can fold it, without cracking over the filling around the edge of the tart. Moisten the folded pastry with water.
7. Remove the pastry circle from the refrigerator and peel off the top sheet of paper. Cut two 5-inch gashes in the center of the pastry to form an X. Lift the edges of the paper and invert the pastry over the tart. Press well to seal the pastry at the edges and trim the excess against the rim of the pan. Remove the paper and trimmings.
8. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. If the pastry begins to brown, lay a sheet of foil on top. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more to be sure the bottom crust is cooked and the top is deep golden brown.
9. Cool the tart in the pan on a rack. If filling has leaked at the edges, remove the rim of the pan while the tart is still hot, to avoid sticking. Cool at least 4 hours or overnight.
10. Invert the cooled tart on a plate and remove the rim and pan bottom. Leave the tart upside down. Slide the pan bottom beneath the tart for support.
11. Make the glaze: In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set in a pan of barely simmer water, melt the chocolate with the butter and honey, stirring frequently until smooth. Cool glaze to 90F. Pour the glaze over the tart and spread it with a metal spatula. Let the glaze harden at room temperature. Decorate with walnut halves. Store at room temperature.