Walnut Wedges of Decadence

Walnut Wedge of Decadence

Walnut Wedge of Decadence

This is what one of our friends at our international Thanksgiving Dinner called these. Let me tell you, they really are decadent. There is nothing healthy or low-cal or low-fat in these. But tastewise, they are one of the best desserts I had in some time.

The walnut wedges came about because of my laziness and incapacity, I might say. See, I am pastry dough-handicapped. I fear pastry dough, I fear the mixing (under-mixed? crumbly! over-mixed? stone-hard!), the rolling out (it will stick, no matter how much flour I use) and the transferring to the pie dish (it will tear no matter which method – drape over the rolling pin or fold loosely in quarters)… No matter which lovely blogger takes me through it with a magical recipe, step-by-step, sometimes even in person and live, I am afraid of the pastry dough (actually any dough that I have to roll out, including pasta though, which I guess makes me a failure among all foodies – and I live in Italy, of all places!).

Imagine my joy then, when years ago I came by a pate brisee /sucree (short crust pastry) recipe – I think it was on Clotilde’s blog – where I read the words “no need to roll out, just press the dough/crumbs with your fingertips into the pie dish”. Since then, whenever I can (actually even when I can’t) I go back to that kind of dough when I want to make a pie. For this recipe I used brown sugar instead of regular sugar and changed the proportions a bit – usually I use a bit less butter and sugar for that amount of flour.

And the filling? Years ago, for another thanksgiving party (in Germany, mind you), I had researched the perfect pecan pie. The 10 or so recipes that sounded best to me I threw together and came up with mine. And this year, since pecans were hard to find and very expensive I wanted to substitute them. And since I have about 2 kilos of shelled organic walnuts from my father’s very own plantation in Turkey, I didn’t think too long! But go ahead, if pecans are cheaper in your neck of the woods, or any other nuts (I imagine almonds would be good, too), use them. They will still be Wedges of Decadence.

Walnut Wedges of Decadence
own creation
serves 12 (at least!)

prep: 20 mins
bake: 45 mins

for the crust:

all purpose flour, 180 g
brown sugar, 110 g
butter, 110 g (very cold and cut into pieces/cubes)
salt, pinch

for the filling:

walnuts, 200 g (toasted and coarsely chopped)
cream, 250 g
sugar, 100 g
brown sugar, 60 g
honey, 3 tbsp
butter, 3 tbsp
bourbon whiskey, 2 tbsp
orange peel, 3 tsp
caraway seeds, 1 tsp
aniseed, 1 tsp
salt, 1 tsp

for the topping:

dark chocolate (70%), 100 g (broken into little pieces, or use chips)

Heat the oven to 180°C.

Mix all ingredients for the crust. You can do this with a food processor, a pastry cutter or with your hands (as I did). Knead till you have a crumbly dough that doesn’t hold well together. You can add just a sip of milk or water if you think it doesn’t come together at all. Dump the dough into a 28cm pie dish and press with your fingers into the dish. Try to press it to a uniform thickness. It will run up the sides, for this recipe you don’t need this, whatever goes up the sides, patch it back on the bottom of the dish/form. Put the form on an oven tray (this is a precaution against possible spillage later on) and put in the oven (middle rack) and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, till golden, but not dark. If it has puffed up, push it gently down after you take it out of the oven. Keep the oven temperature.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Mix all the ingredients for the filling except the walnuts in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat (it will bubble up considerably). Let boil for ca. 5 minutes, stirring every once in a while. You want everything to dissolve and thicken together.The mixture will be very hot, be careful!

Take the oven tray with the form on it out of the oven. Distribute the walnuts evenly on the crust. Pour the cream/sugar mixture evenly over it, paying attention to cover every area while pouring – you don’t want to be forced to correct later on, since then the walnuts will come to the top. Put the tray with the pie form on it in the oven again. Bake for 25 minutes. The filling will bubble up and may (doesn’t always do it with me) spill, that is why you want the pie form on an oven tray! After 25 minutes, the filling should be thick and dark golden-brownish. Take it out of the oven with the tray, as it will be unstable and soft till it cools down.

Right after you take the pie out of the oven, distribute the chocolate pieces evenly over the pie, paying attention to not touch the filling with your fingers (hot!). Let sit for a minute or two, till you see that they are melting down. Take a fork and plow through the chocolate (try to keep to the surface only, not the whole filling!) to create a thin layer of chocolate all over the pie. Run a knife along the circumference. Transfer pie-dish first to a cooling rack, later to the fridge (cover with foil) to allow the whole pie to get stable and hard.

Serve very slim wedges, at room temperature. Go to heaven.

Walnut Wedge of Decadence - the profile

Walnut Wedge of Decadence - the profile

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35 Responses

  1. This looks fantastic. I think I will try to make this as small bars to bring to the office (I always like to treat them with lots of goodies this time of year). Thank you for sharing!

  2. That looks so good!

  3. That is decadence right there! Your cake looks wonderful!

  4. this looks AMAZING. Definitely bookmarking this one for future reference :)

  5. What can I say? YUM!
    ~ingrid

  6. Rhiani,
    yes, you can definitely make them as bars as well. Lucky colleagues!
    all,
    thank you for the kind words. Do make these, they are yummy.

  7. These made our Sunday!!! Fabulous recipe, a definite keeper (Oliver and Ulrike agreed and are sending HALLOs)…
    Would also be perfect as party food, e.g. cut into little squares. I used your Padre Peppe instead of Whiskey and walnuts mixed with pecans ;)

  8. This cake sounds great! I will try it as well – soon!!! And I am sure: my family will love it, too.

  9. I just discover your blog and reading this recipe I got to love it!! I will try it this weekend, as it looks like a really “sweet valentine treat”. Now I´ll start reading your blog all the way till the day you start, it´s the only way to get to know you better!!!!

  10. Well I just saw this recipe via the link / recipe on delicious:days and I can say that I’m very glad to be here! This looks just perfect.

  11. Hande,
    I saw your recipe on delicious days and could not wait to try it. I made some changes in the filling, like sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar,honey and butter, some amaretto and no spices. That was not the original recipe I know, but as you say the taste took us to heaven!
    Thank you for your great creation :)

  12. This recipe really sounds spectacular! I have to try it next weekend – and my family will love me… and you, too :-)))

  13. I have found the link to your receipy on deliciousday. It looks yummy and also it does not contain eggs, for my friend is vegan and this should be a nice suprise next time she visits. Could you suggest anything non alcoholic instead of the whiskey? Also is there anyway to order fresh walnut?
    Many Thanks

  14. all,
    thank you for the nice words.
    Beyza,
    your version sounds good, too. I love amaretto!
    Fatima,
    thank you for considering this recipe. But you should be careful if your friend is vegan: I am afraid the butter in the crust as well as in the filling and the cream in the filling are further problems for a vegan. I am not well-versed in baking for vegans and am sorry, but can’t offer any adequate substitutes for these. The alcohol is no problem though, you can just omit it. I am sure if you google you will find sources for fresh walnuts in your area.

  15. [...] know the year has just started, but when I was visiting my friend Hande’s blog and discovered her latest sweet creation, which she very aptly named Wedges of Decadence, I just felt the potential right then and there. [...]

  16. Thanks for the advice, sorry, I shhould have said: My friend is actually Vegetarian trying to be Vegan. Strictly no eggs but she still eats butter and cream for now. I find it quite hard when I bake cake for the children Bdays and she is not able to eat it! So this is something I can make for her. I love your description of Istanbul; I always wanted to go there. Certainly your blog is inspiring me to arrange a trip soon.

  17. This is beautiful. . .Edible art? Certainly a masterpiece. Can’t wait to try it!

  18. [...] jedenfalls erlag sofort dieser süssen Verführung. Blumen gibt es für beide Kreationen, ob dreieckig oder in Würfeln serviert. Danke für die Inspiration, [...]

  19. Its cooling now. Perhaps my conversions were off as there is a huge layer of oil/ hot butter on top. Its to jellylike to tip it to pour it off. Hmmmm congealed butter sounds not yummy…
    Time will tell
    Edit Hande: Honey, how did it go? I am surprised about the butter separating, this hasn’t happened ever before, neither to others baking according to this recipe. Did you follow the instructions (esp. boiling and thickening the filling before baking)? There is not soo much butter in there and I gave the measurement in tbsp, as well. The baking temperature maybe, 350F? It really bubbles up during baking. Do let me know!

  20. It was a mess. I dont know how I was so off. I went thru 10 paper towels on top trying to sop up the oil. It still had a thin layer showing when cooled. I think the crust was the problem. It never really Cooked. I had to add some milk to get it to come together. By my computations there is a full stick of butter in the crust. Is that correct> The filling was boiled well & seemed fine, it just kind of melted into the crust making a oily soggy mess at the bottom. I would LOVE to try this again, could you take a stab at the conversion out of grams?
    Thanks!!!!

    Edit Hande: Honey, ok, here is what I think:
    a) you had conversion problems: You are right about the butter, 110g is just minimally under a stick (which is 113g). Flour would be around 1,5 cups (better would be to say 6.4 ounces, please do weigh your ingredients if you can) and the brown sugar just under 2/3 cups (or 3.9 ounces). Did you use about this much? This is why I almost always give weight measurements, that is the most accurate! Things like flour, sugar can have huge weight differences when you use cups, tbsp, etc. Was your butter ice cold (it should be)? As I wrote in the recipe, I sometimes don’t need any liquid at all and sometimes maybe just a tbsp of milk. The dough is not supposed to be like a roll-able pie dough, you push it into your baking form with your fingers – that is the easiness of the crust for me!
    or
    b) did you maybe overlook the directions to prebake the crust as said in the recipe for ca. 18 minutes at 350F, till light golden brown? This “seals” the dough and after that I can’t imagine the filling soaking into it, as it happened to you.
    Looking forward to hearing your feedback, I really want you to successfully bake this, as it is sooo yummy!

  21. necesito la receta en español,sobretodo la preparacion,algo entiendo pero no todo…se ve rica y me gustaria hacerla….soy chilena…mandenmela a mi correo…gracias

  22. [...] I used to say I am not a baker, but the last couple of years have proved me wrong. I do bake. Not bad either. I just don’t feel comfortable handling [...]

  23. I saw your recipe two days ago on delicous:days, baked it yesterday and blogged about it today. Your pie/wedges turned out great and despite initial hesitation (carawayseed!) I am glad I baked it. Petra/Germany

  24. where do you get the brown sugar in italy? i cant find it anywhere..zucchero di canna is the closest thing but i dont think its moist enough.. anyway.. looks great! complimenti per il blog e la ricetta!

  25. I actually made this twice, first time by the book, and everyone except me went crazy for it. It was way to sweet and aromatized in my opinion (BTW, instead of cumin, that smells a bit like a dirty sock to me, I put what is colled finocchio in Italy).
    Another time I made it with hazelnuts, and cut the sugar, so I expect it to be better – it is cooling in the fridge and I can’t wait to try it.
    Next time I plan to make it with the peanuts, so it takes that Snickers taste.
    Thank you for the recipe!

    • well, yes, it IS sweet – one of the reasons why they are called decadence ;) I can see omitting cumin but finocchio (fennel seeds) doesn’t seem to be a matching addition to me, but if everyone likes, it, hey, no prob! Hope your second try with hazelnuts and less sugar was to your liking and I really can imagine a peanut version to be really good, too!

      • First time it was sweet in a way food is sweet in the US, so sweet that you almost cannot notice any other flavour (OK, it was very aromatic). Hazelnuts were a success! – I put 300 grams. Another thing I did this time is leaving the filling five minutes to thicken, so it covered nuts very well and it sunk less to the crust.
        I will definitely keep experimenting with this one. Compliments to you, with all the recipes around the net these days, I rarely make same thing more then once!

  26. …and, yes, I will give a chance to cumin next time (must stop thinking about those socks).

  27. zmijica, thank you for the thumbs up, I am flattered!

  28. [...] als Nicole diese himmlischen Würfel (die sie von Hande „geklaut“ hat ;-) vorgestellt hat, habe ich mir das Rezept ausgedruckt. Doch es ist [...]

  29. I love the name :)

  30. Hande, Zmlejica, did you mean “cumin”? The recipe posted lists caraway seed, not cumin. And substituting fennel wouldn’t be off: the recipe already includes anise.

  31. [...] adapted from the Food Vagabond [...]

  32. Wowww great hande

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