Since I saw the walnut trees in the Southwest of France last summer, I wanted to return later in the year for walnut saison. Now in early October an abundance of noix is about to fall from the trees all over the Périgord region, ready to be turned into local delicacies like precious oils, traditional walnut cakes, or perhaps this simple walnut tart, my current favorite.
This dessert is easy to make with only a handful of ingredients – just roasted walnut kernels tossed in a luscious honey caramel and spread onto a lightly salted crust – but quite addictive, especially with a good dollop of greek yoghurt (or why not crème fraîche, if you prefer?) and bien sûr a petit café noir. It´s my autumnal version of a stone fruit tart – how I adore those sweet sides of fall!
Salted caramel walnut tart :
180 g flour
90 g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp fine salt
45 g confectioner´s sugar
3 tbsp cold water
In a kitchen machine or by hand, combine flour with sugar, salt and butter. Add water and continue to mix until you obtain a homogenous dough. Shape a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven 180°C/350°F.
Line a small buttered and floured tart pan (18 cm/7.5 inch diameter) with the rolled out pastry, cut off excess pastry and prick with a fork all over. Place in the refrigerator.
Using oven proof weights (or rice grains/lentils), pre bake tart shell for 15 minutes, until slightly golden. Leave to cool.
180 g walnuts
120 g cream
100 g acacia honey
1 pinch of fleur de sel (or fine salt)
1 tbsp /30 g unsalted butter
As soon as the tart shell is baked and out of the oven, turn on the oven grill. Grill walnuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 2-3 minutes under constant sight, until browned ( they burn really fast). Take out of the oven and set aside.
Make the honey caramel: In a high sided sauce pan, bring cream and honey to boil over medium heat. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes (about 8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and golden-beige in color.
Return heat to low, stir in the butter and add the salt. Add the grilled walnuts to the pan and toss them so they´re covered in the caramel all over. Cook the mixture for another 2-3 minutes over low heat.
Pour filling into tart shell and leave to cool completely. Keep in the refrigerator, and take out a few minutes before serving.