11/26/2012 02:06 EST | Updated 01/26/2013 05:12 EST

Incorporate versatile nuts in savoury or sweet dishes along with snacks

Nuts are a wonderful addition to savoury and sweet dishes. A recipe featuring pork tenderloin with fruit and nuts is ideal for elegant entertaining while a decadent tart incorporates almonds.

Snackers will adore the following recipe for classic nuts and bolts. Or try roasting nuts with maple syrup and presenting small packages as hostess gifts during the holidays.

Pork Tenderloin With Fruit and Nuts

Cranberries, apples and toasted walnuts combine in this stuffing for pork tenderloin. If you don't have seasoned breadcrumbs, season plain breadcrumbs with dried Italian mixed herbs and pepper.

1 pork tenderloin (625 to 750 g/1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb)

2 slices bacon, chopped

75 ml (1/3 cup) diced onion

175 ml (3/4 cup) dry seasoned breadcrumbs

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped toasted walnuts

75 ml (1/3 cup) fresh or frozen cranberries, halved if large

5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh sage leaves (or 2 ml/1/2 tsp dried), or more to taste

Chicken broth or water

Salt and pepper, to taste

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil or butter, melted

Cut tenderloin almost through lengthwise; open like a book. Place plastic wrap on top and under tenderloin; pound with a rolling pin to flatten to even thickness. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan or skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium-high heat until tender and browned. Stir in breadcrumbs, apple, walnuts, cranberries and sage. Moisten slightly with up to 50 ml (1/4 cup) broth until mixture holds together when pressed. Season with salt, pepper and more sage to taste.

Place tenderloin, cut side up, on work surface. Press filling along length of centre third; roll meat around filling to enclose completely. Tie with string at 7-cm (1 1/2-inch) intervals. (It can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight at this point.)

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Place tenderloin, seam side down, in a lightly greased baking dish. Brush with oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 45 minutes until a meat thermometer inserted in centre registers 71 C (160 F) or until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside.

Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into 2-cm (3/4-inch) thick slices.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (2 slices): 472 calories; 24 g fat; 24 g carbohydrate; 39 g protein; 3 g fibre.

Source: Foodland Ontario.


Apple Almond Custard Tart

This classy dessert is best served the day it is made. A frozen pie shell saves a step, but if you prefer, make and bake a tart shell.

1 frozen 23-cm (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter, softened

50 ml (1/4 cup) granulated sugar (approx)

125 ml (1/2 cup) ground almonds

1 egg

1 ml (1/4 tsp) almond extract

30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour

750 ml (3 cups) peeled, thinly sliced apples (2 to 3 depending on size)

45 ml (3 tbsp) apricot jam, melted and strained

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F).

Carefully remove frozen pie shell from foil pie plate. Place in 23-cm (9-inch) tart pan with removable bottom. When thawed, about 10 minutes, prick pie shell all over with fork and press edge of pie shell into sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool completely on wire rack.

In a bowl, beat butter with sugar. Beat in ground almonds, then egg and almond extract. Stir in flour. Spread evenly in cooled tart shell. Arrange apples on top; sprinkle with 15 ml (1 tbsp) more sugar. Bake in a 190 C (375 F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender. Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.

Remove side of pan; place tart on serving plate. Brush apricot jam over apples.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 235 calories; 13 g fat; 28 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 3 g protein.

Source: Foodland Ontario.


Classic Nuts and Bolts

This spicy concoction is a holiday treat for many families. You can use any combination of nuts desired, but if using mixed nuts, chop the bigger ones into smaller pieces.

2 l (8 cups) toasted oat cereal (such as Cheerios)

1.25 l (5 cups) woven wheat cereal (such as Shreddies or Crispix)

1 l (4 cups) pretzels

550 ml (2 1/4 cups) mixed nuts and/or peanuts (or more)

500 ml (2 cups) small cheese-flavoured snacks (such as Cheese Nibs or Goldfish Crackers)

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) butter

15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) celery salt

10 ml (2 tsp) onion salt

5 ml (1 tsp) garlic powder

Heat oven to about 110 C (225 F).

In a large roasting pan, combine cereals, pretzels, nuts and cheese snacks.

In a saucepan, melt butter; add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Stir to combine, then pour evenly over dry ingredients in roasting pan and stir to coat.

Bake for 2 to 3 hours in a slow oven. Stir occasionally. Let cool.

Makes about 5 l (about 21 cups)

Source: Brenda Preszcator, St. Marys, Ont.


Maple Roasted Nuts

Maple syrup gives these nuts a truly Canadian flavour and a small package of them makes a nice gift. Any combination of nuts can be used.

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

250 ml (1 cup) hazelnuts

250 ml (1 cup) walnuts

250 ml (1 cup) heartnuts

250 ml (1 cup) almonds

Heat oven to 160 C (325 F). Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine oil, syrup and salt. Toss nuts in oil mixture, stirring to coat all the nuts. Pour onto baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning nuts once.

Note: When you remove them from the oven the nuts will still look moist and sticky, but they become crisp when they cool. Once cooled, store in a sealed container but they do not have to be refrigerated.

Makes 1 litre (4 cups).

Source: Linda Grimo of Grimo Nut Nursery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.