I’m the first person to put their hands up in support of buying local produce. So at first glance it may appear that I have gone off piste with this recipe. But for a short time this summer these ingredients were local to me. We spent two glorious weeks in the Perigord region of South Western France where walnuts are abundant and eating foie gras is politically correct. It’s a stunning area with so much to explore and, as you would expect in France, amazing food.
Vin de Noix is usually drunk ice cold as an aperitif. I’d be lying if I said I was a huge fan of this fusion of red wine, eau de vie and green walnuts as a drink but I did have a inkling that it would be great in a dessert. Admittedly, it could be tricky sourcing vin de noix in Britain although you could substitute it with 200ml red wine and 100ml walnut liqueur such as this one produced in Sussex by The Lurgashall Winery (if you are doing this I would reduced the sugar to 75g then add more if you feel it needs it).
The biscuits are my take on the croquants aux noix sold in the local produce ‘tourist’ stores. I’ve used a basic tuile recipe adding roughly chopped walnuts. I’m more than happy with the appearance of these lumpy, misshapen rustic biscuits but if you prefer to make them more rounded and thinner be my guest.
Serves 4 – 6
Ingredients for the marinated peaches
- 4 ripe but firm peaches
- 300ml vin de noix or 200ml red wine and 100ml walnut liqueur
- 1 vanilla pod
- 100g gold caster sugar
- Bring a pan of water to the boil. Make two small cuts in the skin of each peach at the top and the bottom of the fruit. Plunge the fruit into the boiling water and leave for 10 – 20 seconds. Remove and allow to cool slightly before removing the skin (which should peel away relatively easily). Cut each peach in half then each half into four slices. Place in bowl while you prepare the wine syrup.
- Place the vin de noix, vanilla pod and sugar in a saucepan. Gently bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer for 5 minutes then allow to cool to room temperature before pouring over the peach slices (leave the vanilla pod in the syrup while the peaches marinate). Refrigerate for at least four hours or preferably over night before serving.
Ingredients for the croquants aux noix (makes around 16 small biscuits)
- 50g walnut pieces
- 50g unsalted butter
- 75g plain flour
- pinch salt
- 75g caster sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200℃. Line a couple of largish baking sheets with a silicone liner or grease proof paper.
- Place the walnut pieces in a food processor. Blitz until they are roughly chopped (you do not want to process them for too long or they will have the consistency of ground almonds). Place in a mixing bowl.
- Sieve the flour onto the walnuts. Add the salt, sugar, egg whites and vanilla extract. Mix until you have a fairly sloppy consistency.
- Dollop heaped teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet ensuring they are well spaced out. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Leave on the baking tray for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool.