This is somewhat of an Anglo-American enterprise. I have taken a pecan pie, and added other nuts, simply because for me, and English Christmas means bowls of mixed nuts and the memory of my grandfather being able to crack them, pressing two against each other, in his bare hands.
I don’t crack them myself here even with a nutcracker, I’m afraid. But I do make sure I buy good fresh (check the dates on the packet) natural ones—that’s to say unsalted and free of additives—that come together in a pack comprising Brazils, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts.
If you eat this while it’s still warm, then it’s hard to put up a good argument against having a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it; when cold, I like it with a little cream, whipped or poured.
There is something so gloriously festive about this gleaming, golden, nut-laden pie, I wouldn’t even rule it out for Christmas Day itself. The pastry couldn’t be simpler: it’s very plain, as the filling is so rich, and you don’t roll it out, but press it down into the tin; I aim to ease.
Yield: Make approx. 12 slices
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup flavorless vegetable oil
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
1 stick (8 tablespoons) soft butter
1 cup packed soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups (3/4 lb) mixed nuts
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, oil and milk to form a rough damp dough.
2. Tip out into a fluted tart pan 10 inches wide and around 2 inches deep, and press the dough patiently over the base and the sides of the pan, slightly coming up over the top if possible. Put in the freezer.
3. Melt the syrup, butter and brown sugar over a lowish heat in a saucepan.
4. Add the vanilla, stir, then take off the heat in a saucepan.
5. Take the pastry-lined tart pan out of the freezer, and arrange the nuts on it.
6. Whisk the eggs into the slightly cooled sugary syrup until it looks like a caramel mixture, then pour it over the nuts.
7. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the filling has set and the pastry is golden.
MAKE AHEAD TIP:
Make the pie up to 2 days ahead and keep in an airtight container.