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Walnut Squares (D, TNT)
Source: Adapted recipe from Nick Malgieri, 12/12/01 The Plain Dealer
Yield: about 5 dozen

Sweet Pastry Dough:
2 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs

Caramel Walnut Filling:
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350°F after dough chills. Butter a 10"x15" jellyroll pan.

In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and stir well to mix. Add butter and with fingertips rub butter in finely until no pieces of butter remain visible. Be careful that mixture remains cool and powdery. Beat eggs lightly and stir them into dough with fork until dough masses together. Remove dough to floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Form dough into rectangle about 1" thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough to rectangle about 12"x17". Roll dough onto rolling pin, then unroll it into prepared pan. Press dough well into bottom and sides of pan and fold excess dough into pan. Make high fluted edge around edge of pan. (This helps keep filling from boiling over and running under dough, and will be trimmed off after pastry is baked.) Chill dough-lined pan while preparing filling.

Combine corn syrup and brown sugar in saucepan and mix well. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until syrup comes to boil. Add butter and cream and return to boil. Simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and rum. Place walnuts in heatproof mixing bowl. Pour cooked syrup over walnuts and stir well to mix.

Pour filling into dough-lined pan and spread evenly with metal spatula. Bake in preheated oven on lowest rack about 30 minutes. Turn pan occasionally to make sure that dough and filling bake evenly. Remove pan from oven and cool on rack to room temperature. Wrap pan in plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Run a small sharp knife between crust and sides of pan. Place pan on low heat for a few seconds to loosen pastry. Place cookie sheet on top and invert. Remove pan in which pastry baked and replace it with a cutting board. Invert, remove cookie sheet and trim away edges of pastry.

Cut pastry into 1-1/2" squares. Store squares in tins between layers of wax paper.

Poster's Notes: Author's notes: Recipe for dough requires 1 hour chilling, plus additional chilling while filling is cooked. The finished pastry requires overnight chilling before it can be trimmed and cut into squares. These rich, buttery squares can be adapted to the use of other nut meats. Pecan halves or chopped blanched almonds will work equally well. Be careful not to overcook sugar mixture or filling will be too hard.

Posted by Susan Greene

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A