When I was in culinary school I had the honor of being instructed by a very fine chef who was about 70 and European. He had a heavy German accent, could still bend a sheet tray in half, and had more energy than most 20-year-olds I know. He was a vibrant man and a talented baker who specialized in showcasing simple yet elegant desserts. One dessert he taught us was a caramel walnut tart. I had never seen walnuts (or caramel for that matter) served in this way before. This tart encompasses all those features we love in a good dessert – crunch, the toasted aroma of nuts, smooth caramel, and elegance. It is not too tricky. The only technical part comes at the end when you must temper the eggs. Try it out for your next dinner party or for any occasion where you want to impress. It pairs beautifully with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit. 🙂
Caramel Walnut Tart (Recipe adapted from Culinary Institute of America)
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 4 oz butter
Walnut Caramel Filling
- 8 oz granulated sugar
- 1 oz water
- 9 oz heavy cream
- 2 whole eggs
- 6 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped
1. First make the tart dough. Combine all ingredients on the counter and chop in the butter until it is pea sized. Use your hands to form the ingredients into a dough.
2. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. Lightly flour the counter and roll out tart dough to fit a 9 inch tart pan. Press dough into tart pan, cover lightly, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Blind bake tart for 10 minutes on 350 F. Bake for 10 minutes with weights or beans. Tart should be lightly browned.
5. Toast walnuts for 6-7 minutes at 350 F until golden brown.
6. Line dough with the walnuts.
7. Heat the heavy cream and keep in a warm place.
8. Cook the sugar and water in heavy pot over high heat. Stir until the sugar crystals dissolve. Allow sugar/water to cook until the sugar takes on a light caramel color.
9. Add the hot cream, stirring with a whisk.
10. Temper the eggs very slowly with the caramel mixture. Do this slowly or the eggs will cook!!!!
11. Strain the egg/caramel mixture into the tart.
12. Bake at 325 F until the custard sets. (about 12-15 minutes)