Yields: 1 dozen mini-tarts or 2 full-size tarts
18 tablespoons unsalted butter (2-1/4 sticks), diced, + extra for greasing the molds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon canola oil
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon imitation brandy extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar, to taste
1-2/3 cups walnut powder (see tips), 5 ounces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 dozen jujubes
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup pure date syrup, warm
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
For the walnut pastry dough:
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. In another bowl, place the powdered sugar. Sift all the dry ingredients, separately.
Using a handheld mixer, whisk 1 whole egg with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam. It'll take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency must be very airy. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and the anise extracts. Stir well using a spatula. Set aside.
Lightly oil the bowl of your food processor with a silicone brush. Add the flour, 4 tablespoons walnut powder, salt and remaining powdered sugar. Blend for a few seconds, then add 10 tablespoons of cold butter. Pulse the mixture until it forms crumbs of butter and flour. Add the egg mixture. Pulse another 3-4 times until it forms a dough. Do NOT over-mix. Transfer the dough onto a pastry board lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Place a silicone mat (or parchment paper) on top of the dough like a sandwich. Even out the dough using a rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick. Place the dough in 12 individual non-stick tart molds previously buttered (or in 2 9-inch pie pans). Prick the dough with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator.
For the walnut cream:
Using a handheld mixer, whisk 2 eggs with about 1/4 cup of sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam. It'll take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency should be very airy. Add the remaining vanilla and brandy extracts. Set aside.
Cream 8 tablespoons of butter (at room temperature) with the remaining sugar. Pour in the egg mixture. Add the remaining walnut powder. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Wash the jujubes, cut them in 6 wedges (no need to peel them). Transfer to a bowl. Coat each piece with lemon juice. (Sprinkle granulated sugar if the fruits aren't sweet enough, althought these didn't require it). Toss well.
Place about 2 tablespoons of walnut cream in the center of each tart shell. Top with about 2 jujubes (12 wedges). Place the jujube tartlets on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F for another 25 minutes.
In a bowl, dissolve the date syrup with about 1-1/2 tablespoons of water. Warm the syrup in the microwave.
Before glazing the tartlets, broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden crust. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle each tartlet with 1 tablespoon of warm date syrup, for a nice glossy look.
Let the tartlets cool for a few minutes. Remove the shells from the molds. You can serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of masala chai.