I have so many wonderful memories of sitting under my Nana and GrandDad's Macadamia tree.  Uncle Les playing the piano accordion, the adults sitting in the shade sheltering themselves from the harsh Queensland summer sun, the kids playing in that very same sun.  GrandDad would break open the macadamias with a hammer, sending the shells flying across the lawn, which whilst funny at the time, probably wasn't so much so to Nana when GrandDad mowed the lawn the next time and the shells were hitting her windows!

GrandDad's tree was huge, well it was to a kid and I really struggle to come up with memories of the tree outside of my childhood. I guess its those memories that are most dear to us that we remember most.

GrandDad is no longer with us but if he was, then this tart would be for him!  

Macadamia (the Queen of Nuts) Caramel Tart


Ok, so I cheated a bit today with the pastry and used store bought frozen shortcrust pastry which tasted just fine.  Its a time saver if you're in a hurry!

2 sheets of shortcrust pastry, thawed
2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
140g brown sugar
120g butter
200g Macadamia halves

1. Preheat oven to 180oC.  Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tart pan and then use the pastry to line the pan ensuring you press the pastry into the base and sides.  You'll need to do a bit of cutting and joining to make it fit.  Prick the base with a fork and then pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to chill.

2. Line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice.  A trick I've learnt is to scrunch up the greaseproof paper and then flatten it out before lining the tart pan. It makes it easier to push into the edges.  Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove the baking paper and weights (or rice) and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until the pastry is dry and crisp.

3. To make the caramel, mix together the condensed milk, sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan on low to medium heat.  Stir constantly until the mixture turns golden and thickens.  About 10 minutes should be enough.

4. Pour the caramel onto the pastry and let cool slightly.  Arrange Macadamia halves in a circle on the tart and place under the griller for a couple of minutes to toast the nuts. Make sure you keep an eye on it, because it will burn really easily.

5. Put the tart into the fridge to allow it to set.

6. Before serving with a dollop of thick cream, dust the top with icing sugar.