2000s Recipes + Menus

Périgord Walnut Tart

Serves6 (side dish)
  • Active time:40 min
  • Start to finish:3 1/2 hr
May 2009
Périgord is as famous for its walnut trees as it is for its black truffles. In this rich tart, a substantial, buttery crust cradles a chewy, candylike caramel filling bursting with deep, nuanced flavor. View more of our favorite recipes from this issue.

For pastry dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For filling

  • 2 cups walnuts (8 oz)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • Equipment:

    a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom

Make dough:

  • Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in processor) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Beat together egg and 3 Tbsp ice water with a fork and stir into flour mixture (or pulse) until incorporated.
  • Squeeze a small handful: If dough doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 Tbsp at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. (Do not overwork mixture or pastry will be tough.)
  • Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one, and press into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make pastry shell:

  • Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round. (If dough becomes too soft to work with, chill until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.) Fit dough into tart pan (discard plastic wrap), pressing against side. Run rolling pin over top edge to cut off excess dough, then press side to make dough come up slightly above edge of pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Make filling and bake tart:

  • Line a 4-sided sheet pan with foil and put in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Lightly toast walnuts in sheet pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and return pan to oven.
  • Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Bring water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to a boil in a 3-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until amber.
  • Remove from heat and immediately but slowly add hot cream (it will bubble furiously). Once bubbles subside, stir in walnuts and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 minutes.
  • Pour filling into tart shell and sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Bake in sheet pan 25 minutes (check tart after 15 minutes, and if top becomes too dark in spots, loosely cover with foil).
  • Reduce oven to 325°F and bake until filling is set and deep golden-brown and crust is golden, 10 to 15 minutes more (filling may spill over edge in spots).
  • Cool tart to warm in tart pan, 30 to 45 minutes, then remove side of pan (do not cool completely before removing side of pan or tart will stick). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Dough can be chilled up to 2 days.
  • Tart keeps, wrapped well in foil and chilled, 1 week.
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