This elegant nut tart is surprisingly easy to prepare, thanks to the very simple filling. For the filling, we used a pecan pie base but swapped in walnuts, reduced the amount of sugar, and added a hefty amount of vanilla as well as a hit of bourbon (or rum).
The liquor cuts through the sweetness and intensifies the flavour of the nuts. We found that it’s important to add the filling to a warm pie crust as this helps keep the crust from getting soggy. Pecans can be substituted for the walnuts if desired.
RUSTIC WALNUT TART
Start to finish: 2 hours, 25 minutes (Active time: 25 minutes)
1 recipe Classic Tart Dough (recipe follows)
1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
Roll dough into 11-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch tartpan with removable bottom, letting excess dough hang over edge. Lift dough and gently press it into corners and fluted sides of pan. Run rolling pin over top of pan to remove any excess dough. Wrap loosely in plastic, place on large plate, and freeze until dough is fully chilled and firm, about 30 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 F. Line chilled crust with double layer of aluminum foil, covering edges to prevent burning, and fill with pie weights. Bake until tart shell is golden and set, about 30 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and continue to bake until tart shell is fully baked and golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk sugar, corn syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt together in large bowl until sugar dissolves. Whisk in egg until combined. Pour filling into warm tart shell and sprinkle with walnuts, pressing them into the filling. Bake until filling is set and walnuts begin to brown, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
Let tart cool on sheet to room temperature, about 2 hours. To serve, remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between tart and tart pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter or cutting board. Serve with whipped cream, if using.
Classic Tart Dough:While regular pie crust is tender and flaky, classic tart crust should be fine textured, buttery rich, crisp, and crumbly—it is often described as being shortbread-like. We set out to achieve the perfect tart dough, one that we could use in a number of tart recipes. We found that using a stick of butter made tart dough that tasted great and was easy to handle, yet still had a delicate crumb. Instead of using the hard-to-find superfine sugar and pastry flour that many other recipes call for, we used confectioners’ sugar and all-purpose flour to achieve a crisp texture. Rolling the dough and fitting it into the tart pan was easy, and we had ample dough to patch any holes.
Makes enough for one 9-inch tart
Start to finish: 1 hour 25 minutes (Active time: 15 minutes)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
Whisk egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together in bowl. Process flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and continue to process until dough just comes together around processor blade, about 12 seconds.
Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 6-inch disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling dough out, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.