After Miniature Onion and Goat Cheese Tatins, this second slice of The French Kitchen Cookbook (William Morrow, October 2013) by Patricia Wells will make you proud and find its place for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Chestnut honey squares
• Makes 32 squares •
These rich honey squares satisfy with just a single bite. And they are so pretty once
they come from the oven that you will proudly announce, “I made these!”
Equipment: A 9 1/2 x 9 1/2-inch (24 x 24 cm) baking pan; baking parchment; a food processor.
3/4 cup (120 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 g) almond meal (see Notes)
3 tablespoons (35 g) unrefined cane sugar, preferably organic, vanilla scented (see Notes)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (90 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk, preferably organic and free-range
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (80 g) sliced almonds
1/3 cup (30 g) candied orange or lemon peel, preferably organic, cut into tiny cubes
1/3 cup (65 g) unrefined cane sugar, preferably organic
2 tablespoons intensely flavored honey, such as chestnut
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Line the baking pan with baking parchment, letting the parchment hang over the sides. (This
will make it easier to remove the dessert once it’s baked.)
3. Prepare the pastry: In the food processor, combine the flour, almond meal, sugar, and salt. Pulse
to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg
yolk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water. Pulse to incorporate. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water,
tablespoon by tablespoon, through the feed tube, pulsing until just before the pastry forms a ball.
You may not need all the water.
4. Turn the dough out into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly onto the bottom of
the pan. Place in the oven and bake until the pastry begins to brown around the edges, 12 to
5. While the pastry is baking, prepare the topping: In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
Add the almonds, candied peel, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. Heat just until the ingredients
6. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the almond-honey mixture evenly over the pastry.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep gold, 12 to 15 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan . Once it has cooled, remove from
the pan and cut into 32 squares. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature f or up to 3
• Almond meal (sometimes called almond flour) is made from whole, unblanched (skin-on)
almonds. For this recipe, whole, unblanched almonds can be finely ground in a food processor.
Do not over-process or you may end up with almond butter.
• To make vanilla-scented sugar: Flatten 1 or several moist vanilla beans. Cut them in half
lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and place them in a small jar; reserve the
seeds for another use. Fully dry the vanilla bean halves at room temperature. Place the dry halves
in a large jar with a lid, and cover with sugar. Tighten the lid and store for several weeks to scent
and flavor the sugar. Use in place of regular sugar when preparing desserts.
variation : Substitute dried black currants for the candied citrus.
(* Recipe excerpted from 'The French Kitchen Cookbook' by Patricia Wells- published by William Morrow, October 2013- Photographs byJeff Kauck, all rights reserved)